Getting back to the heart: CASA Cares launches debut podcast, Heart to Heart

The podcast sets out to inform and inspire the Concordia student body, one episode at a time

This January saw CASA Cares, the nonprofit subsidiary of JMSB, launch its debut podcast, Heart to Heart. With podcast consumption nearly doubling throughout the pandemic, Heart to Heart sets out to bridge the gap between Concordia students and the community left in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interview-based podcast offers a platform where Concordia students can access advice and information on real concerns and events from experts in relevant fields. Structured on a bi-weekly release schedule, Heart to Heart will dedicate two 30-minute episodes each month to examining a particular cause or issue relating to current events.

“The podcast is basically trying to do two things,” said Divya Aery, the vice president of involvement for CASA Cares and the host of Heart to Heart. “One is trying to raise awareness on social issues and community initiatives. [The second] is trying to encourage or promote student involvement.”

This past month, Heart to Heart examined the effects that the recent lockdown measures has had on student’s mental health. Guest speakers from, the non-profit organization dedicated to youth mental health, listed a series of resources that students struggling with their mental health can access for immediate and long-term support.

Heart to Heart marks a shift in focus for the organization, which has traditionally been centred on hosting in-person fundraising events. It’s the first initiative launched by CASA Cares that does not revolve around fundraising for a particular cause or charity.

We don’t get any sort of revenue from this and it works because there is no cost either,” said Aery. “So it kind of just cancels [out] that way.”

For the non-profit organization, Heart to Heart brings the unprecedented challenge of having to operate the podcast on a zero dollar budget. All work relating to the day-to-day operation of the podcast is conducted solely by the project’s founding members. The Heart to Heart team has been using free programs such as Zoom and GarageBand to record and edit each episode, as well as recruiting guest speakers on a volunteer basis.

Despite the Heart to Heart team’s hard work, technical issues and just plain bad luck have still been major obstacles surrounding the launch.

“We had to record the first episode five times,” said Aery, when asked about Heart to Heart’s production process. “The audio kept cutting or I wasn’t happy with my questions or I thought we could have focused more on one [subject] over the other. And of course, my laptop crashed and I lost all the files, so I had to do another take.”

However, it is the dedication and commitment of the Heart to Heart founders that have let the project overcome these initial setbacks.

“There is such an impact for me personally,” said Khang Nghi Can, CASA Cares’ first-year representative and producer of Heart to Heart. “Sometimes, I’ll be editing and listening to it and I’m like, yeah, this is the thing I should do for myself, too. What if one person listens to the podcast and it makes them think differently? So if we can really help one person, like, that’s already huge.”

Heart to Heart is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and the CASA Cares website.


Logo courtesy of CASA Cares


Putting Mo back in JMoSB: Taking a quick look at JMoSB’s 2020 Movember campaign

Through the hard work and dedication of the JMoSB team, this year’s Movember campaign is set to be the most successful in recent memory.

The JMoSB team, a subsidiary branch of Casa Cares, kicked off the 2020 Movember campaign on Nov. 1. The Movember campaign is the annual initiative to help raise funds and spread awareness for issues related to men’s prostate cancer and mental health.

While the Movember campaign is just one of the many student-led initiatives that Casa Cares runs throughout the year, the JMoSB team solely operates during the month of November to oversee the Movember campaign.

This year’s initiative comprises both an extensive social media campaign as well as numerous independently-led projects by the individual members of the JMoSB team.

So far, this year’s campaign has helped to raise over $18,717 already surpassing the initial fundraising goal set for the entire month. It’s an impressive accomplishment considering the economic downturn due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re doing really good so far,” said Jessica Doyle, executive vice president of the JMoSB team, when asked about the accomplishments of her team this year. “We’re hoping to pass what [the previous JMoSB team] were able to raise last year and honestly, I think we are on the right track for that.”

All the money raised during the campaign is donated to the Canadian division of the Movember organization. From there, the funds are distributed amongst 1,250 different men’s health associations and scientific studies. A comprehensive list of the projects that the Movember organization funds can be found on the Movember organization’s website.

If the JMoSB team is able to keep fundraising at this current pace, then not only will this year’s campaign achieve its objective of raising more funds than last year, it will become the most successful campaign run in recent memory.

While fundraising still remains one of its core values, The JMoSB team has recently shifted its focus away from raising funds, and towards raising awareness. This year’s campaign has had the unprecedented challenge of conducting the campaign entirely online, as red zone restrictions in Montreal have prevented their traditional fundraising events from taking place.

In light of these circumstances, the JMoSB team has gone with the Movember Mo’ Match-up Cup initiative to spearhead this year’s campaign in place of bake sales in years past. The initiative is styled as a knockout competition, the competitors being the many different student-run associations within JMSB.

Based on a similar structure to the Stanley Cup playoffs, each week teams face off against one another to get the most points with the winning team advancing to the next bracket.

Every week, points are awarded to the remaining teams based on total shares and money each team is able to raise. The teams with the least amount of points at the end of each round are eliminated. The team who makes it to the end of the month is crowned the winner.

The Movember Gala, the main event traditionally held at the end of November, will be replaced this year by a remotely administered Mo’talking panel. The panel will feature mental health experts who will discuss a variety of topics associated with mental health, as well as answer participants’ questions on the matter. The event is open to the general public and will take place on Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. EST over Zoom.

In association with its official campaign, many members of the JMoSB team have begun their own personal initiatives to help raise funds and awareness for Movember.

Third-year marketing student and JMoSB team member Angélique Dinh-Vu uses her Instagram account to sell second-hand and donated clothing with the profits going to the Movember campaign.

So far, she has helped raise over $400 in the span of 10 days for the Movember organization and hopes to raise $200 more before the end of the month. She also helps to educate the public on mental health issues by integrating important facts about mental health into her promotional videos and posts.

Students interested in getting involved with the Movember innovative can register for the Mo’talking panel here, or can donate to the Casa Cares Movember campaign on the Movember organization’s official website.


Logo courtesy of Casa Cares JMoSB team


JMoSB breaks fundraising records with 2016 Movember campaign

The organization contributed the majority of Concordia’s fundraising total

The JMSB philanthropy organization CASA Cares and their subsidiary JMoSB announced that their annual Movember campaign broke their previous fundraising records by raising $13,930 during their 2016 campaign.

Led by co-captains Catherine Doyle and Mikael Clement, JMoSB was one of four teams participating in Concordia’s Movember campaign. JMoSB contributed the majority of Concordia’s overall fundraising, with a total of $17,717- with six JMoSB students raising over $1,000 each.

Clement and Doyle, along with 10 JMoSB members and 33 volunteer fundraisers, raised money by collecting pledges from students who grew facial hair for the month of November. They also threw a public “Stache Bash” fundraising party which raised close to $2,000.

According to Clement, the 2016 fundraising total was more than twice as much as JMoSB’s last fundraising record. All proceeds will go to the Movember Foundation, a charity focused on men’s health issues, including testicular and prostate cancer, suicide prevention and destigmatizing the conversation surrounding men’s mental health.

“While the Movember cause is deadly serious, a lot of fundraisers have fun with Movember because it deals with growing facial hair,” Clement said, adding that the fun nature of the campaign contributed to its success. “We had one of our fundraisers raise hundreds of dollars from a donor who wanted the opportunity to choose his facial hair style. Everyone has their own fundraising methods and tricks so that people can have fun while making a difference.”

Clement added that, while facial hair is traditionally a major aspect of Movember fundraising, many donors and volunteers chose to spread awareness and raise money without it, and over half of 2016’s fundraisers were female.

In 2017, JMoSB is aiming to break its 2016’s record and continue increasing awareness about men’s health issues on campus.

Although the campaign is designed to be fun for participants, Clement said it’s important to remember the cause behind the campaign.

“If the fundraising by Movember can continue at this pace, by 2030 the number of men dying prematurely will diminish by 25 per cent,” said Clement. “[The Movember Foundation does] extensive research to find innovative health solutions to solve these long-standing problems… They have already had a significant impact on the crisis worldwide.”


Movember team JMo’SB returns for its second year

CASA Cares, Concordia’s non-profit segment of the Commerce and Administration Student Association at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB), aims to raise $12,000 for its second consecutive year partaking in the Movember campaign.

Last year, JMo’SB raised close to $11,000, coming in eighth place out of all participating Canadian universities. Press photo.

The national Movember movement aims to change the face of men’s health by raising awareness and funds to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. CASA Cares encourages JMSB students, both Mo’Bros—male participants—and Mo’Sisters to join their Movember team, JMo’SB.

Last year, JMo’SB raised close to $11,000, coming in eighth place out of all participating Canadian universities.

“Everyone really got together and made big things happen,” said Melissa Payette, CASA Cares president. “It was such a successful year.”

The Movember campaign at JMSB was officially launched Oct. 28, 2012 by the director of campaign development for Movember Canada and Quebec representative, Vincent White.

White came to speak at the CASA Cares’ launch for this year’s Movember campaign on Oct. 28, after which many in attendance signed up for the JMo’SB Movember team.

“Most of the people in attendance, especially the guys, came to me later and told me it was really inspiring to hear him talk about men’s health so openly, and they realized it is important to raise awareness,” said Payette.

While JMo’SB has not yet raised nearly as much money as last year, Payette has ensured that CASA Cares executives are working hard to promote the event in order to impact and inspire the student body to help the cause.

“A lot of our big Mo’Bros from last year graduated and so this year it’s been a new round of people signing up and seeing what we’re about,” said Payette. “But a lot of people have signed up [and] come out to our various events throughout the month.”

Payette explained this campaign has also helped to raise awareness of CASA Cares and its other events, as not all students know about this charity committee on campus.

“To me, that’s another form of success all on its own,” said Payette.

At the end of the month, CASA Cares will host a gala at Le Cinq to highlight the efforts of Movember participants.

“The entire executive team has been pouring their heart and soul into our closing gala,” said Payette.

Press photo

At the gala, CASA Cares will be holding a raffle and will be giving out five big prizes. The first prize, the Ultimate Mo, will go to a Mo’Bro judged purely on the intricate grooming and style of his moustache.

Mo’Sistas also have the chance to win, as the Miss Movember prize is awarded to the Mo’Sista judged to have the best dressed and most impressive Movember spirit.

While the campaign demands a lot of work from the CASA Cares executive team, Payette expressed how much she’s learned about organizing large campaigns, among other lessons.

“The biggest lesson, by far, is that no matter how much work you put into a campaign, the people who make it happen are those who sign up and help us raise money,” said Payette.

“We can motivate everyone and plan the most amazing events, but as far as charity goes, our goal is to raise awareness among the student body, and it’s because of them that we’ll be successful and keep Concordia in the top ranking schools, making an impact in our community.”

The CASA Cares Movember gala will be held Friday Nov. 22 at Le Cinq located at 1234 De La Montagne.


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