Spending time with Sam Effah and Amonn Nelson reminded me of a couple of things, first of all that reaching goals takes a lot of hard work and secondly it inspired me to go for a really hard run in my workout that day!
They shared with me that taking the first steps towards their goals whether it was trying Track & Field for the first time or pushing towards the Olympics was one of the hardest parts. Both of them needed others around them to inspire them. For Amonn it was her Mom and her coach. For Sam his parents and his coaches also made a huge impact. These were the people who knew them and told them they believed in them. It reminded me that often we forget to tell others what we see that is good in them. Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyday someone told you what they thought you rocked at?
By having the support of people that knew them and believed in them from the start both Sam and Amonn have been able to pursue a very difficult dream. But, they’ve also achieved something greater. They have been involved in their community and shown great leadership. Sam is now a Right to Play Athlete Amassador which has allowed him to use sport as a way to help teach things like sanitation, HIV prevention and leadership through games in developing countries. Both of them have volunteered in local schools as well helping to inspire a future generation to take a chance and pursue their dreams. When Sam visited Alice Jamieson Girls’ Academy, where I teach, my track team was impacted greatly. One athlete even said that seeing him work towards his goals and hearing his story had inspired her to pursue athletics as a career!
Sam had an unfortunate injury leading up to 2013 but is now aiming for 2016 Olympics. Most recently at the Edmonton International Track Classic he won with a time of 10.09 seconds for the 100 m. This will qualify him for the World Championships in Moscow Russia in August. Both him and Amonn will be attending the World Championships. We can make a difference by cheering them on at local events, posting comments of encouragement here for them to read or by supporting them financially. To cheer them on across the ocean you can find the results at the following two sites: Athletics Canada or World Championship Results. Best of luck Sam and Amonn we will be cheering for you!
I have collected these images throughout the last two weeks to show the amazing things that can happen in the midst of very difficult situations. Throughout my time volunteering in Calgary and on the Siksika Nation I have been amazed at the resiliency of people and the way that communities have come together. Below are some of my favorite moments!
On our last day of school some of my students were able to share with me their positive stories from the Calgary Flood. Most places in Calgary did not allow volunteers that were under 18 and yet these 13-14 year olds still had stories of how they had made a difference. They shared with me what they and their families had experienced that gave them hope. There were many stories so I chose to highlight four of them here.
This week I met with Calgary author, Chris Turner who is making his city better by writing and speaking about the importance of great public spaces. He is a unique voice in the world of urban development and climate issues since he focuses on hope rather than the doom and gloom ,choosing to emphasize positive change. His solutions, success stories and insights into the ways that individuals and small groups can make positive change in their communities provides hope for improving cities!
After many months of students madly grabbing cameras at the beginning of the day, in the middle of the day and on their way out the door we have neared the end our project. It has been similar to watching an army prepare for war, except instead of war we are preparing to fight for hope. We have geared up, tripods in hand, cameras slung over shoulders, recorders sticking out of our pockets, yelling Continue reading →
To help advertise our film festival and to show what youth are doing in Calgary to make it a better place, we submitted this short film to 3 Things for Calgary. 3 Things for Calgary is an initiative of Mayor Nenshi to engage Calgarians by encouraging them to find 3 ways they can make their city better. I love this concept!