The Life and Work of Edith Lando
A Dream Come True.
The following is a tribute to Edith Lando written by Treena Innes, a Manager of SOS Childrens' Village, who recounts her mounting frustration as she attempted to raise new funds for the Village,and her mounting frustration--until she called Edith and was immediately invited over. Treena writes, " I was so excited and I also did not know what to expect. Edith was so welcoming, and encouraging about our program, it felt too good to be true. From that moment on, I knew why Edith welcomed me into her home with open arms, she believed in family. She believed in family for foster children The Village reached Edith’s heart inside and out... she sat as a founding member on the Children’s Foundation Board and researched long and hard about these children in despair and found SOS Children’s Village BC over 20 years ago. She knew she could help. Edith made her first Village visit [Edith second from right in the photo above;Treena is on her left] while in operation, this Summer, where I can still hear her words dancing in my head “this feels like a dream come true” as she took the Village surroundings of homes, trees and playground into her vision. As well as being a financial contributor through her family foundation, Edith taught me about people believing in people, unconditional giving, and most of all she gave me the inspiration to continue making those calls and finding people like her "people with heart”. In memory of Edith Irene Lando who passed away on November 17, 2003. Her passion for living carried her through a long struggle with countless challenges. Her spirit touched and inspired everyone she knew, and many whom she never met."
Edith's ideal: To give every child a chance at life.
Edith was born in Winnipeg Canada, September 6, 1917 . Her father, Edward D. Mitchell and mother, the former Anna Copp,had emigrated to North America from Eastern Europe. Edward Mitchell prospered in Winnipeg as the Canadian economy grew and hundreds of thousands more immigrants poured into the country. In 1927, he retired and took his wife and children to Europe, hoping to give them the kind of education he never had time to enjoy. But in 1929, following the stock market crash the family returned to North America, moving to Los Angeles where Edith completed high school. In 1937 she married a young Canadian lawyer, Esmond Lando, and moved to Vancouver.
Over the following years, they raised four children, but, early on, Edith became deeply involved with a wide range of community activities, working actively for Jewish causes and the State of Israel as well as with local organizations, from the Parent Teachers Association to Canadian Mental Health. She was a generous backer of the Luis Brier Home for the elderly in Vancouver, funded bandstand concerts in Vancouver, and set up a scholarship for gifted young musicians.
Children have always been her primary concern. "I believe each child is born with possibilities and promise," she said. "Many of these possibilities never come to fruition because of the circumstances in which children find themselves. I want do do what I can to ensure that every child has a chance at life."
Thus, over the years she played a key role with the Children's Aid Society in Vancouver and as first president of the Greater Vancouver Child Abuse Prevention Society and chaired a workshop on child abuse and neglect for the World Federation of Mental Health. She ran her Charitable Foundation by herselfShe was also deeply involved with SOS Children's Villages, was on the board of a Romanian Orphans Support Group, and was a strong supporter of Cherish our Children International, an organization founded by her youngest daughter, Julie Hall. Among some of her other actions; the donation to an immigrant doctor to continue work on Alzheimer's disease, an endowment to Bar Ilan University in Israel for a project on prejudice, to be conducted among young Arabs and Jews. Many of her good works, however, were quiet, private actds of caring. After meeting a paraplegic refugee from Uranda, for instance, she provided him with a specially equipped car, and the downpayment on an apartment for his family.
In 1994, in recognition of her lifelong work and activities, she was appointed as a member of The Order of Canada.Despite her growing medical problems, she continued to run her Foundation by herself and, to the end, was enthusiastic about the programs and people she backed. After a long battle, she finally passed away November 17th, 2003.
Today, her four children, Barry Lando, Roberta Beiser, Barbara Schloss and Juli Hall do their best to continue her work as trustees of the Edith Lando Charitable Foundation.