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

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 Monday – Cardboard Bicycle!

Amazing idea by Izhar Gafni filmed by Giora Kariv.  Using a completely new engineering philosophy to create a bicycle that is economic, environmental and innovative!  Izhar demonstrates that we can make our communities better by following what we are passionate about and making it a reality!

Inspirational Monday: Culture Hub

  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.

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 Monday: Love Cafe – Cafe Converso

Well after spending the whole day trying to upload the Inspirational Monday I can relate to Thomas Edison when he said “ I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.”  I found it hard today to keep pressing on but I believe that this story is so important and I want to others to see how doing something so simple like smiling or being welcoming can make the world a better place.  After doing this all day though, I am very excited to leave the hostel and go in search of something with lots of chocolate! Andres and Diana, the owners of Cafe Converso, declared themselves my first friends in Bogota and they may never know how much that meant to me.  They helped me to feel welcome and loved when I was wondering if I was doing the right thing. I will be forever grateful to them for helping me to remember why I am doing this and for reminding me of what I know to be true -- there are good people everywhere, we just have to be brave enough to seek them out! Today is family day back home.  My mom prayed for me before I left that I would find family everywhere I went and I believe I have found it here in Colombia.

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!

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