One Day At A Time

Louise Russo - W.A.V.E.

Today (May 16) was a special day for the HELP because someone among us – Brittany- won the Louise Russo award. She had written an essay speaking about what bullying has done, can do and how she has been involved in the prevention of bullying. I thought it was just an award ceremony but it was more than that. It was at the Living Arts Centre, and it was about empowering youth to be better and do better with their attitudes and thoughts.

Louise Russo was a victim in a random drive by. The bullet penetrated through her back and made her a paraplegic. She did not see this as a bad thing but as obstacle that she knew she would get over. As the years went by she was able to overcome it all and embrace it and turn it into a positive. Louise Russo started up W.A.V.E. (Working Against Violence Everyday) inspiring youth and members of the community to take action, make positive choices and initiate projects that will make their schools and communities a safer place to live, learn and play.

The day was full of fun, great sandwiches!! I am really pleased that we got to celebrate with Brittany as well. It was just a really great day and I got to take a picture with Kreesha Turner. I really took in the message that bullying is not right and will never be. No one should ever stand aside and do nothing in fear that something will happen to them as well. It is best to stay positive, step in when someone over steps their boundary and let someone with higher authority .

Prairie Grasses - City of Mississauga (May 10)

I never thought I could learn so much about grass and the different types of shrubs that grow on it. An endangered species of grass have been found in two locations: Lorne Park Prairie and Jack Darling Park. Big bluestem, Indian grass and bush-clover are very important to the habitat and it is someone’s job to restore these plants and are worthy of protection. In the past, naturally- occurring fires and fires set by indigenous people played a key role in the preservation of the tallgrass prairie habitats. It helped keep the soil healthy and it also keeps biodiversity. Jessika Corkum-Gorrill was great in telling me about the Prairie Grasses and its importance.

We have two parts to do, today we were just racking all the leaves from winter off the field so it can breathe. We also pulled out these plants that had these vicious thorns that just loved the surface of my skin. 

Being at the Lorne Park Prairie grasses was a great experience because I was able to work with a habitat that was pretty much extinct.  I am one of twelve who got to the opportunity to help reintroduce and make stronger. The next time we are out with The City of Mississauga, we will be planting trees and plants that help the Prairie Grass maintain its self.


Lorne Park Prairie, 1070 Queen Street West


ECO -SOURCE

The Iceland Teaching Garden located at 705 Matheson Boulevard East behind the Iceland sports arena, along Jan’s Trail, was where we spent our morning pulling weeds, turning the soil and planting some chard.  Carolyn Bailey, the urban agriculture program manager assigned us the roles of garden weed pullers. Majority of the time we weeded five beds and turned over the soil. We added compost on the soil so that it is replenished and healthy for seeds to be planted. Mulching was another main task so that erosion could not occur and seeds would not travel into the turned over soil.

It’s always great to be exposed to the true elements of Mother Nature and doing our best to give back but also take from HER. Going to the community garden has taught me many things that Google cannot. The difference mulch makes and the different tools that are used to put love into that soil is a great feeling. 

L’arche Community - Richmond Hill

Today (May 10), I got to experience what it was like to be among all different walks of life. At the L’Arche Community located at- 11339 Yonge Street Richmond Hill- I got to see the beautiful sites of the community and the welcoming people who live there and volunteer.

L’Arche community became what it is today because of a man named Jean Vanier. In France of 1964, Jean Vanier thought he would give back to the minorities of the country after he saw the way others treated those with disabilities. However, they ended up giving back to him. They gave him a new world and insight. These people with disabilities were just people to him who he knew were worth more than the way they were treated. L’Arche has become an international movement with over 140 communities throughout the world. Founded in 1969 in Richmond Hill, Ontario, L’Arche Daybreak is the oldest L’Arche community in North America.

We were all assigned roles; I was responsible for cleaning up the area around the lilacs. Being part of HELP we all work as one. We got cleaned up all the garbage that we saw and did it all within an hour. We got to have an early lunch break which is always good, because I am always happy to eat. The real important part was why we were there. I believe we were there to see that different walks of life, being culture, abilities, values among other things, people can still come together, make a difference and be the change. It is a reminder to the HELP program that we are all different but when we come together we can do great things and can work as one once we put all we got into it. 

TEDx

Today (May 3) was an exciting day! First things first, HELP got to go to TED talks. This was the first TED talks in the city of Mississauga hosted at the University of Toronto- Mississauga Campus. This edition of TED Talks was called TEDx Youth@Mississauga. What I further discovered was that the x represents that it was an independently organized TED event. Rather than a global level, this TED Talk is done on a local level where the community can get involved and inspired.  

TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to ideas worth spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Ever since 1984, it has progressed further and now people all over the worlds are able to illustrate their ideas in ways many never thought were possible.

The theme of the TEDx today was: Rebel. The main idea was that there are different types of rebels. TEDx was not focusing on the stereotypical rebel, who just goes against everything because they just feel they need to in order to sustain their image. Today TEDx was talking about a rebel who stood for a cause that they truly believed in and that they would do anything for it no matter what. TEDx gave the youth a different outlook on what a rebel is supposed to be and who could be a rebel. In this case anyone who believed in something and would not take no for an answer is a REBEL.

The speakers were absolutely AMAZING! The best part of it all was when (second point to “first things first”) Super Scott a.k.a. James Scott Neil spoke about the Y.E.T.I. (Youth Empowerment Through Initiative) It was great to see someone I know and have the privilege of being taught by everyday up on that stage. He was among other magnificent men and women who spoke about what is important to them and how we all can get involved.

It was such a great day. It was very motivating and it taught me that no matter the obstacle, no one or thing can stop you unless you let them!  


University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) 3359 Mississauga Road Mississauga 

Count Me In

May 1

Today was a great day filled with inspiration, dance and laughter. HELP had the great opportunity in attending the first ever Count Me In Conference at the Living Art Centre (4141 Living Arts Drive). The Count Me In Conference all started with a kid (who is now 17 years old) who had a vision and a voice. Shane Feldman, saw how his peers were not active within the community and decided something had to be done in order to inspire them. After seeing the effect of motivational talking had on his school he realized kids all around Ontario could benefit from it as well. This then sparked the idea of Count Me In. It took him 18 months to plan for but he did it. Count Me In Conference is a one-day event focussing on the power of youth to create positive change! Designed to inspire, motivate and empower today’s youth to become leaders in their community, the main goal of CMIC is to raise awareness of local and global issues, and volunteer opportunities.

Some things really stuck out to me like when Hazel McCallion came out dancing on the stage as if she was a 20 years old. She was speaking about her trip to Costa Rica which made me very excited about the same trip I will be taking in a month or so. She also talked about the importance of youth and the voices we have, and saying that it is us (the future) that will soon be taking care of her and our parents. She believes that she and the generations that come before us are in really good hands. Another stand out speech was by Andy Thibodeau. He was very funny, but motivational at the same time. He spoke a powerful message of being true to who you are and not following the crowd and falling into the traps of society. Jenny and I always do the sign that Andy showed us which means to block the haters out, and do us.

I know HELP was there to see that just because we are young doesn’t mean you cant do anything. If Shane can run a show by himself, there are no limits to what we can do. It really help me realize that if I truly believe in something and I have a dream, nothing can stop me. I must always remember that the word no doesn’t mean end all be all but it means not yet… so whatever obstacle comes my way I must push through it all because I’M POSSIBLE! 

Mural Paintings

On April 27 we got to work with the City Of Mississauga (CM) located at 1275 Mississauga Valley Blvd.  We got to work with Hazel McColl the park program coordinator and Anna Ferguson the park beautification coordinator.

 

We were given the task to draw over the backdrop of various colours and bring to life the machines City of Mississauga uses to do every day work on the fields and in the ice arenas. The purpose for the murals was because taggers (graffiti artists) would do their own design so the CM realized taggers don’t draw over something that is already there. It is a sign of respect. We used white paint to really bring the pictures to light and black to outline what the machines really looked like but also leaving the various colours in the backdrop there to make it look different.

 

It was really great because I was giving back to a place I was very familiar with from parts of my life. Every day for three years you would have seen me there with old friends having a good time. Now I was able to share this experience with new friends have a good time and give back to the students of the future.

More Information