Refugees: Positive News

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Reuters

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

Inspiring Speech by Malala Yousafzai

  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.

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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.

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!

Inspirational Monday: Creating Great Public Space

 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!

3 Things for Calgary: Reel World Youth Documentaries

  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!