Dear 2016

2016 has been a rollercoaster. Both personally and world-wide. Hell, it’s said to be known as “written and directed by Shonda Rhimes” because of all of the heartbreak and tragic events. Now let me remind you, there cannot be any light without darkness. Of course, that does not justify any injustices or horrific events that have happened, but it is a good reminder that we can’t appreciate the good without the bad. I’m sure there have been many media posts that have focused on the bad that has happened in the world last year. However, I am going to focus on the good that has happened in my life in 2016.

Continue reading “Dear 2016”

How to Survive Exams: Maintaining Your Mental Health

As mid-December approaches, many individuals are counting down the days until the holidays (for me, it’s Christmas!). These days, I’m admiring the beautiful twinkling lights around town, enjoying warm cups of tea and hot chocolate, watching Christmas movies with my family, and snuggling up in a warm blanket with a good book.  However, many students – like me – are also anxiously studying for exams. During this time, many students are losing sleep, suffering from anxiety attacks, losing all motivation to study, thinking negatively of themselves and disregarding their potential. So, I’m here to give you, dear reader, some advice to help you cope through your exam cramming and keep your mental health well through some tips & tricks.

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Photo cred: Dawddle (webpage unavailable)

Continue reading “How to Survive Exams: Maintaining Your Mental Health”

The Wall is Real

I can count how many times I have been truly shocked by something on one hand. It’s been nearly three months since my time in Arizona, yet the image of the Mexico/USA border still burns in my eyes.

As some of you may have known, I went to Arizona for Advanced Facilitation Training through Me To We last month. It was, again, a life changing experience. We created a family, and I am forever grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from every single person there.

Okay, to get to the point of the post. I’m going to make a few posts discussing the things I’ve learned about in Arizona, beginning with the Mexico/USA border.

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The Mexico/USA Arivaca border.

Continue reading “The Wall is Real”

Let’s Make HRM Even Better!

12963700_10154759658963662_7416400164578072269_nAround the beginning of the school year, there was an opportunity for youth to apply to become a part of the HRM’s (Halifax Regional Municipality’s) Youth Team. A month later, youth who I am so happy to know call my friends and I came together with a common passion for making our municipality better for the youth in it.

That being said, if you’re in the HRM, I ask you to help us.

Continue reading “Let’s Make HRM Even Better!”

Parenting Done Right

Halloween is just around the corner! I’m not sure about you, but I’m in the spooky mood! As the holiday creeps closer, there’s been an article that has caught the internets attention, centred around a 3 year old boy, Caiden, dressed as his favourite character, Elsa.  Here we see Caiden all ready for the coming holiday and showing the world that he can be what he wants!

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After the photo went viral, a reporter contacted Caiden’s family. Caiden’s father told the reporter “Anyone that knows us, knows we generally let Caiden make his own choices, to an extent… Well, he has decided on a Halloween costume. He wants to be Elsa. He also wants me to be Anna. Game on… Halloween is about children pretending to be their favourite characters. Just so happens, this week his is a princess.”

In recent years, people have been noticing that companies are selling over-sexualized costumes to kids and clearly advertising what a “boy costume” is and what  a “girl costume” is.  People are forgetting that Halloween is a day to let kids be whatever they want! If a little girl wants to be Darth Vader, let her be the best Darth Vader EVER! And if Caiden wants to be Elsa, let him talk to his friends about how awesome his costume is. As a wise friend of mine once said: “You do you, rafiki.” – JJ

I hope you all have a lovely Halloween! Look forward to another post soon, as We Scare Hunger is in the making!

Information and photo retrieved from  here.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

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Something I’ve been working on, as an avid reader, is reading more diverse books. Some of you may have seen the hashtag above on social media. Some of you may have also wondered what this campaign is about. On their official website, weneeddiversebooks, the mission statement says:

We Need Diverse Books™ is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honours the lives of all young people.

How we define diversity:

We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of colour, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

We Need Diverse Books works “…to address the continuing lack of diversity in children’s literature…” (according to theGuardian).

Now, why do we need more diversity in books? Simple. Children are affected by everything around them. What they see and hear shape their ideas and perspective of the world. Children look for what they have in common with people. Therefore, if every book features a white, cisgendered, “normal” person, it’s hard for children to relate to the characters they read about. Furthermore, for white children in particular, being told a “single story” (this can be explained later on in this post) can distort their views of the world.

In a survey of 2,000 schools, 90 percent of the educators believed children would become more enthusiastic readers if they had books reflecting their lives.

So, what are the benefits are there to reading diverse books? (they=readers of diverse books)

  1. They reflect the world and people of the world

  2. They teach respect for all cultural groups

  3. They serve as a window and a mirror and as an example of how to interact in the world

  4. They show that despite differences, all people share common feelings and aspirations (Source here)

  5. They can create a wider curiosity for the world

  6. They prepare children for the real world

  7. They enrich educational experiences (Source here)

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If this interests you, here are a few things that you can do.

Fundraise

On their site, We Need Diverse Books states that they’ve launched an Indigogo fundraising campaign. When you donate, your money will be going towards: diversifying classrooms, supporting diverse authors, promoting diverse programming, developing educational kits and to hosting WNDB’s inaugural Kidlit Diversity Festival.

Show your support and spread the word

Create a card saying why you care about diverse books, post a picture on social media using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks and show your support!

Read diverse books

Of course, read what you want to read. But try and read different books, diverse books. Some examples are: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodsen, Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez, The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and many, many more!

Now, to share a little bit of what I learned at ST. FX’s Me To We Leadership Camp. If you have the time, I urge you to watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s (an author and feminist) TedTalk called The Danger of a Single Story. As Chelsee Yee in her review puts:

“…[Adichie] reminds us that we must not only seek diverse perspectives, we must also tell our own stories, ones that only we can tell about our own personal experiences.”

Follow WeNeedDiverseBooks on Twitter here!