There has been a lot of news about the refugee crisis over the last year both in Europe and here in Canada. We have seen terrible images of babies washed up onto beaches and been impacted by the surge of terror that seems at times insurmountable. However, there are also stories of amazing generosity, innovation and inspiration amid all of chaos that need to be shared. Continue reading
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.
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
After visiting Pakistan last year I will always have a spot in my heart for the country. One of the most inspiring people I have heard speak about education is Malala Yousafzai the young woman who was shot by the Taliban due to speaking out about the need for all people, girls included, to have access to education. Her message is one of hope as she does not ask for revenge on the Taliban but rather states that she hopes that the children of the Taliban will also have access to education. Her message is inspiring and reminds us that we each have a role to play in helping to provide education to all so that we can build a more peaceful world. To hear her whole speech please click here. I have also included some highlights below.
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.
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!
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!
Tinto Tintero is a cultural hub in Medellin, Colombia. I was so impressed to hear how Dave, a former teacher has, with the help of his partner, Monica, started a business model that is not only financially successful but is also making their community a better place! They have found a way to merge their passion for art, culture, literature and music all within one location. Through their efforts, they are transforming their community by providing opportunities for culture and offering a diverse array of options for entertainment throughout the week. But it is not only culture they are offering but also a public space devoted to building a strong sense of community.