What if we were all connected?

25 04 2015

I have recently learned about http://www.internet.org, described as “a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two-thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access”. The projects it supports are aimed at removing barriers for the 2 out of every 3 people who can’t get online. It’s got powerful potential, and it’s a collective effort that spans the globe.internet

It’s the people, however, that really make internet.org so compelling. The first I read about were Erika and Esmeralda, two young girls in Bolivia who share a friendship and a love for inventing. Using scraps and ingenuity, they are inspiring and pushing each other towards a better future. Without the internet. Wow.

Check out their story here: http://connect.internet.org/story/erika-esmeralda





January 28: talking about mental health

25 01 2015

The more we talk about mental illness, the more we combat the damaging stigma that keeps so many from seeking help and finding support. It’s not hard. It’s a conversation that needs to continue all year long, but January 28th is a good day to begin. Watch for events where you live or work, check social media, and have a conversation about mental health with someone you care about.

Bell-Lets-talkSimple conversations can make a big difference.

Add your voice to the national discussion. #BellLetsTalk

 

 





Journeys of Change youth theatre project needs support

9 11 2014

VOTING CONTINUES ‘TIL NOVEMBER 30th – PLEASE KEEP UP YOUR SUPPORT! THANK YOU!

An innovative youth theatre project, Journeys of Change, has been selected as one of five finalists in the 2014 SpecKids Change Challenge (with a $25,000 prize). The project was submitted by the Community Child Abuse Council of Canada and is an extension of its OASIS Program – addressing the unique mental health needs of refugee and immigrant children, youth, and their families who are experiencing symptoms of trauma or serious acculturation difficulties. The project aims to share the stories of newcomer students through theatre, giving voice to their often difficult journeys and reinforcing messages of cultural understanding.

Voting begins on Monday, November 10th and closes on November 30th. Individuals may vote up to 5 times daily to support the project by going to the SpecKids web site: http://www.speckids.ca/change-challenge/finalists/details/community-child-abuse-council

The finalist with the most votes wins, so please consider supporting this worthwhile project – vote, vote daily, and encourage others to do the same. Thank you.

journeys





From Far Away

7 09 2014

from_far_awayBased on the book From Far Away by Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar, this short animation tells the story of Saoussan, a young girl struggling to adjust to life in Canada after being uprooted from her war-torn homeland. She has come to seek a quieter and safer life, although memories of war and death linger, memories that are awakened when the children at her new school prepare for a scary Halloween. From Far Away speaks to the power within us all to adapt like Saoussan and to welcome a newcomer (National Film Board).

From Far Away (2000, 6 min 39 sec)

NFB-logo1





1 in 3 Canadian Adults Have Experienced Child Abuse: New Study

23 04 2014

child abuse report

 

A just-published, first of  its kind study has found what many in the field have known for some time – child abuse has a lasting impact on many Canadians. This new research confirms the link between serious adult mental health problems and experiences of childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, and witnessing intimate partner violence.

Findings from the national study highlight the urgent need for a child abuse prevention strategy in Canada. Lead author Tracie Afifi of the University of Manitoba told CBC News that her team’s findings “indicate that 32 per cent of the adult population in Canada has experienced child abuse (i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or exposure to intimate partner violence) and that child abuse has robust associations with mental conditions”.

The study, published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found physical abuse to be most common (26%), followed by sexual abuse (10%) and exposure to intimate partner violence (8%). The authors highlight the need for reporting child abuse as well as understanding treatment implications.

To read the full journal article, visit www.cmaj.ca

 





Talking about children…

17 04 2014

ngugi_wa_thiongo“Talking about the survival of children is not an act of charity. Children are the future of any society. If you want to know the future of any society look at the eyes of the children. If you want to maim the future of any society, you simply maim the children. Thus the struggle for the survival of our children is the struggle for the survival of our future. The quantity and quality of that survival is the measurement of the development of our society.”

Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o





Thanks to all who volunteer!

7 04 2014

Volunteer Week Logo





Calling all dreamers…

18 01 2014

IdealistAmi Dar and the team at idealist.org are about to start something, and practical dreamers everywhere will want to hear about it. On March 11, 2014 they will launch “a new network – online, on the ground, in cities, villages, schools and workplaces” to join together people all over the world who want to work together on 3 global challenges. But the challenges aren’t hunger, or poverty, or disease, or world peace (or then again, maybe it is about that…). The challenges Ami and team have in their sights are big challenges, but they may surprise you. As he puts it, “These challenges are quiet—you’ll seldom hear about them in the media—but they affect all of us. And if we can tackle them, all our other problems will be easier to deal with”.

  1. A big gap between our good intentions and our actions.
  2. Our problems are connected, but we are not.
  3. The world is full of good ideas that don’t spread quickly enough.

The goal is to bring together a network of people to tackle these challenges – “an ecosystem of possibility”. To find out more about the project, the March 11 launch, and how to join in, here’s the link: http://www.idealist.org/March11

 





Stereotypical costumes? Booooooo!

26 10 2013

Our friends at MissRepresentation (now The Representation Project) recently spotlighted the “increasingly gendered nature of Halloween costumes” and challenged us to be more creative with our efforts this year. And, they report, the response has been inspiring…

“Halloween is thought to have originated as a night to remember those who had passed or as a ritual to appease the “spirit” world. Today, most of us love the night because it gives us a chance to dress up and momentarily pretend to be something or someone else. There’s also the joy of collectively facing the “scariest” elements of our world.

Yet, over the years – as a result of widespread commercialization – Halloween has also devolved into a parade of our society’s worst impulses. From the hypersexualization of women and girls to encouraging violence in boys – not to mention racially and culturally insensitive costumes of all kinds – we often spend this night perpetuating the most harmful aspects of culture, rather than imagining something better.”

(takebackhalloween.org)

(takebackhalloween.org)

Instead of opting for the typical princess and super hero costumes for our girls and boys this year, we can stop perpetuating unfair stereotypes and help youngsters feel comfortable wearing costumes that go beyond the traditional.  At the very least, we can help offer them options that stretch beyond the predictible.

Check out the “Take Back Halloween” campaign, a website featuring creative costume ideas (for adults too) that are thoughtful and, in many cases, simple to assemble with commonly found items: www.takebackhalloween.org

By joining the move to “take back” Halloween, we can replace hurtful stereotypes with a celebration that is a fun and inclusive holiday for all.

Happy haunting!





Music for a great cause

17 09 2013

October marks Child Abuse Prevention Month, and this year local music fans will have an opportunity to help support vital child abuse prevention, education, and treatment programs by coming out for a free evening of music on October 18th hosted by Burlington’s B Town Sound. If you happen to be an acoustic musician or band member, you also have a chance to perform that evening by entering your video and drumming up support on Facebook – the top 5 artists with the most “likes” will take the stage at the event AND receive 2 hours of free recording time with B Town Sound’s Justin Koop.

walk-off-the-earthHugely popular local band Walk Off The Earth (famous for their five-person, one guitar cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know,” with 50 million views on YouTube in less than a month!) is donating an autographed ukelele for the live auction.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Community Child Abuse Council.

For more details, check out the event poster here Acoustic Night Oct 18th 2013 or go to www.btownsound.ca.