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

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!

 

Inspirational Monday: Passing the Puck

 I believe that sport has an amazing ability to teach where lessons and talks fall short.  For me, sport has often been a metaphor for understanding greater concepts and has helped me to learn how to live in community with others.  Whether it was playing Rugby, running in Track, or just getting people together for a game of frisbee I believe there is an amazing power to learning through games and fun! See how Alejo from Colombia is bringing a new sport to his city and how it is uniting people and building leaders!

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: WINS Thrift Store

  WINS Thrift Store is a social enterprise that uses they money it makes to provide resources including a free referral program for household needs and clothing as well as learning opportunities for families. Its environmental program, employment skills program and collaboration with the community help make Calgary a better city! Get involved by visiting their website.

Inspirational Monday: CAWST

  This video was created by three Jr. High students as part of Reel World Youth Documentaries and produced by Worldviews Project & Hidden Story Productions. It is the first one to be featured within Inspirational Mondays, but look for more from my amazing students to come.  CAWST is making their community better and providing hope by providing water to communities worldwide. You can get involved by visiting www.cawst.org

CBC Homestretch Interview

I had a great time yesterday down at the Homestretch with Doug Dirks, Jenny Howe and Danielle Nerman.  After spending most of my childhood waking up to hearing the CBC playing in the background (that is whenever my Dad had control over the radio dial!) it was awesome to be a part of creating positive news.  Listen to the interview by clicking on the picture.

 

 

First Interview!

 Today I interviewed my first person! As I was driving up to the location I was mentally going over all of the tips that Chris and others had given me about interviewing.  Bring the questions with you, ask them to summarize their responses, always take more “B-roll” then you think you’ll need, don’t use too much head room…..

All of these thoughts were whirling around in my mind until I walked in the door to Women in Need, the organization I would be featuring in an upcoming Inspirational Monday.  As soon as I sat down with Executive Director, Cathy Coutts, my focus shifted.  I realized that I had the best job in the world! All I needed was a camera and people were willing to share their stories with me.  All I had to do was press record! Maybe it sounds simple, but I was blown away! Film is amazing, it’s amazing that not only would I get to hear their stories but I would be able to share these great ideas with others around the world! I couldn’t contain my excitement, I started calling up everyone I knew and telling them how cool it was. I hope that as I enter the more difficult parts of planning this trip and making the reality of it happen that I’ll remember this moment, the moment that determined for me that telling these stories is important and it’s amazing that I get to have the privilege to be the person who makes it happen!

Reel World Youth Docs: Capturing the Moment

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

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!