New Book Arrives!

Passport Project Book - Premiere Edition

I am so excited to announce the arrival of my new book: Passport Project! The premiere edition was launched at TEDxYYC and on the CBC Eye-Opener.  It has been exciting to hear about people using the book with their families, as team-building with their co-workers and on their own to explore their city!

All too often we think that we can only have an adventure if we go away to an exotic location.  It is easy to feel depressed or bored when we aren’t learning or growing or meeting new people.  This book was created so you could explore right in your own city and have amazing adventures and experiences that would remind you that life is awesome!  There are so many exciting and inspiring people and places to see and meet.  By expanding our worldviews we can break down barriers, misunderstandings and stereotypes and build bridges towards peace. I hope that by completing these challenges you will be inspired to share your positive stories. By sharing our positive stories we can combat mental health issues and become inspired to make positive change in our communities.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the book it is available for purchase at Shelf Life Books in Calgary.  We will have a limited number of books available for purchase as we travel across Canada as well.  If you would like to make a bulk order of the books please send us an email and we will arrange to have copies shipped to you.  For educators and youth leaders please enquire by email about our classroom and school license to receive special discounts on large orders.

 

TED Talk: Power of Positive News

In an age of negative news and increasing mental illness is it possible to pursue a positive alternative?  Kate McKenzie believes that peace both individually and internationally can only be brought about through sharing positive stories. So she founded Worldviews Project to inspire others to believe that positive change is possible by making short documentaries of people from nine countries over seven months. Continue reading

Athletes Making a Difference – Sam Effah & Amonn Nelson

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!

Games Website:

http://www.kazan2013.ru/en/events?filter[sport]=AT

Flooded with Hope

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!

Good News from Calgary’s Flood

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.

Kate’s Interview on CBC Eyeopener

Hear Kate’s interview on CBC Eyeopener as she speaks about her upcoming TEDxYYC talk.  To hear the whole interview click here.

Speaking at TEDxYYC

 I always encourage my students to take a step out of their comfort zone and be okay with taking risks.  I even have broken track and field hurdles up around my classroom to remind them that it is okay to run at life’s obstacles at 100%.  If you fall, I remind them, it’s okay, just remember to get back up and keep going.

Somehow, when I have to take that advice myself it gets a lot harder! I was invited today to speak at TEDxYYC.  I’m honoured, excited but mostly nervous!  This talk will be an amazing opportunity to share positive news with a new group of people and to honour those who participated in Worldviews Project. There’s a part of me though that still always feels scared.  What if no one is interested?  What if I mess it up?

I guess I’m also nervous that I’ll be branded as “Positive Story Girl” instead of Kate. I’m not positive all the time.  Sometimes I’m angry and I want to punch people or yell or scream.  I just try to work really hard to control those feelings and act in a better way.  I’m scared that somehow giving this talk will make people think I have it all figured out, which I don’t.  I’m just trying to be brave enough to say that my intention is to be positive.

I’m not so different from my students, taking that first step and staring that obstacle in the face is hard.  I’m determined to do it though.  I want to be the kind of person who approaches these kinds of challenges with courage rather than fear.

I will need all of you supporting me in this journey.  I need to know when I step on that stage on June 14th that there is a community of people behind me cheering me on.  Because, ultimately it’s not about me at all.  I’m giving this TED talk because I believe that we need to share positive news.  So even if I’m not the perfect ambassador for this message I’m going to give it my best shot.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  Or better yet, buy a ticket and come be a friendly face in the audience!

 

Radio Girls Podcasts!

  Working in colaboration with my Gr.8 students we have created 16 podcasts about our  journey to discover new experiences in Calgary! Come and hear the podcasts and share in our unique experiences April 11, 2013 at Alice Jamieson Girls’ Academy!

Podcast Listening Party!

   Over the last few months, I have been working tirelessly with my current Gr.8 students to create podcasts.  Their mission was to go out into Calgary and expand their worldview.  They had 20 tasks to complete ranging from trying a new type of ethnic cuisine to taking a new form of transportation.  It was amazing to see my students tackle new experiences head on and look for ways to explore everything Calgary has to offer! Too often we fail to see the wonder and beauty that’s in our own backyard so it has been awesome to have the chance to see Calgary through a new light!

We partnered with Calgary 2012 GIGYYC and Danielle Nerman from CBC Radio to be able to create 16 podcasts! We will be sharing each of these stories this Thursday, April 11, 2013 at Alice Jamieson Girls’ Academy at 7pm.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Inspirational “Tuesday” – First Steps

 Hi Everyone!  I had difficulties finding a fast enough wifi connection to upload my film yesterday but here it is today!  As I set out to talk to others about how they started their own inspirational initiatives I wanted to document my first steps too.  Unlike many other travellers I am not escaping from something bad which makes this journey different than others I’ve had in the past where I was eager for warmer climates, different experiences, or a change of pace.  This time around I can honestly say my life is amazing and leaving behind that life, especially Leor and my friends and family has been hard.  The moment of hope for me was a conversation with two amazing cafe owners, Andreas & Diana! Their generosity in taking the time to help me brush up on my Spanish and tell me about their country amazed me!  What a simple way to make a difference -welcome a stranger into your space!  Any of us could do that!