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Steve Malone, shown with wife Sharon at a Honduran orphanage, bring together small groups of Canadian volunteers who travel to Honduras to work on a variety of projects. 1643 This attached photo is Sharon and I at the Orphanage in Jesus De Otoro distributing vitamins Sharon & Steve Malone Healthy Horizons for Children and Families 3956 St-James Ave Niagara Falls, Ontario L2J 2R3 289 296 3086

The Donor: Steve Malone

The Gift: Creating Healthy Horizons for Children and Families

The Reason: To provide housing, health and education programs in Honduras

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Ten years ago, Steve Malone felt his life was set. He had a fulfilling career as a paramedic and owned a small medical-equipment business in Niagara Falls, Ont.

But then a friend asked whether he would travel to Honduras to teach a medical training course, though he wouldn't be paid and would have to cover his own expenses. Mr. Malone reluctantly agreed. Within two days, his life changed for good.

"Being there, I got to see the poverty. I got to smell it. I got to touch it, and it certainly made a huge, huge impact on my life," he recalled from his office in Niagara Falls, where he does public outreach for the paramedic service. "I decided that I wanted to make this a commitment."

Mr. Malone returned to Canada and created Healthy Horizons for Children and Families, a charity that organizes small groups of Canadians who travel to Honduras as volunteers to work on a variety of projects.

Each group raises up to $10,000 for the two-week trip; the money is used to buy building supplies, medicine and other equipment.

Once in Honduras, the volunteers typically build a house for a family or work in other areas such as at a medical clinic, pharmacy or school. Mr. Malone organizes about three trips a year and he has done 30 since creating the charity.

While it is exhausting at times, Mr. Malone said it's all worthwhile when he meets a child who has just moved into a new home.

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"You see a little kid come to you and say, 'Sir, thank you for my house. Now that I have a house, I don't sleep in the dirt and the bugs don't bite me any more.' To me that's what it is all about. … I don't believe in going out there and changing the world. I just want to do my part, one person at a time."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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