Teaming up for Hamilton area kids

12 02 2012

Here’s a great opportunity to help support kids in the Hamilton area and embrace the spirit of community-building in a quick and easy fashion…

Our local Boys and Girls Club has a shot at winning a $50,000 grant through the Team Up Foundation (part of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) that would enable them to expand the programs they offer across Hamilton.  The selection process involves two rounds of voting by the public and a screening process by the Foundation’s advisory team but, if they are one of the four successful finalists, they will receive $50,000. As I post this, they are in second place!

In order to make it to the next round and be considered by the advisory team, they need our help in getting as many people to vote every day (until February 20) as possible.  Anyone can vote  (including adults, children, youth, grandparents, etc.) by registering their name and email on the site and then logging in each day.  Multiple people (e.g. each individual in a family) can vote on the same computer each day as long as they log in individually. 

In addition to voting yourself each day, you can help in getting the word out and encouraging others to vote in support of an organization working to empower and support young people in our community. 

 How to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton in five easy steps:

 Go to

  1. Click on “View the Candidates”.

  2. Find and click on “Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton” (currently on the first page but this may change from day to day).

  3. Click on “Vote for this Charity” (you will need to register the first time you vote but can simply log in each time afterwards).

  4. Repeat every day until the voting ends on February 20!

 Thank you in advance for your help and support!  Remember that every vote counts!

Extra baggage…priceless

1 02 2012

I was fortunate to attend the 26th Annual San Diego Conference on Child Maltreatment last week in San Diego, where some 1,500 professionals from 30+ countries gathered to consider the latest developments, research, and practices in the fields related to child maltreatment. It was an overwhelming opportunity to immerse myself in the diverse content and myriad approaches shared by an impressive line-up of presenters. I brought back some excellent ideas and resources, and made some valuable contacts. But the weightiest item in my luggage on the return flight wasn’t a book, a manual, a DVD, or any other tangible item. It was the insight I gained from one particular speaker, and it is more precious to me than anything else I learned or experienced during the entire conference.

Pam Toohey

This would probably be a good place to insert a “spoiler alert” to protect those who might be lucky enough to be in a future audience being addressed by Pam Toohey. But I won’t spoil anything. It wouldn’t be right. The impact of sitting in that audience, hearing Pam speak, and taking away her powerful message is just too valuable to risk diminishing it for anyone else. Suffice it to say that Pam found a way to share “lived experience” in a way that was both unique and inspiring. I have never experienced anything quite like it before. More than the story she told, it was the way she told it and also the ways she chose to deliver it to an audience of “in the know” professionals. Their reactions, like my own, are a tribute to Pam’s amazing contribution to the conference… spontaneous, thunderous, on-your-feet applause. I have no doubt that most of them left with the same indelible messages Pam left with me.

I had the honour of telling Pam, in person, how much I appreciated her presentation. I joked with her that any excess baggage fees I might have to pay on my flight home would be due to the incredible gift she had given me, and that I would happily pay them in exchange for coming away with such an inspiring message. Pam laughed at that, then blushed when I told her that her presentation alone had made the conference for me. In the midst of the clinical trials, the stats and outcomes, the new approaches, and the policy discussions, Pam had painted the whole experience with a very personal, very provocative brush. It coloured my entire conference experience for the better, and it will stay with me in my work and in my life for a long time to come.

Thank you Pam. I’m asking the right questions now.