#BeAHero: Walk So Kids Can Talk

I remember the jingle and the commercials; a boy dialing the number in a payphone 1-800-668-6868. (You have the tune in your head now, right?) The message I got from the ad as a child was that there was always someone to turn to for any kind of help, a non-judgemental sounding board was at the other end of this number 24/7.

Thankfully, there still is.

We hear so much about the kinds of problems kids are facing these days, and though I’m sure every generation looks to the next and feels the problems are getting worse, I have to say that the fears I have for my children are different from the fears my parents had for theirs.

Sometimes children don’t have a trusted adult in their lives they can turn to for help; writing out their feelings in a journal or opening up to a peer may not always be enough. Sometimes it’s the dedication and concern of a volunteer counsellor on the other end of the phone that can mean the difference between a life of emotional/physical pain, and a happier ending.

When I was asked for my support to spread the news about the Walk So Kids Can Talk, I whole-heartedly suggested I write a blog post. Presented by Bank of Monteal, this walk is the largest fundraiser of the year for Kids Help Phone and deserves a lot of attention. Having a voice is important for all of us. It’s why I write and why I encourage my daughter to come to me with her thoughts, if not out loud then at least in writing. But sometimes it’s not that simple, and that’s where Kids Help Phone is invaluable.

Kids Help Phone cannot provide the necessary services and meet the growing needs of our children without the public’s support. If you are able to help out with a donation or get to the walk itself, please do and take some friends with you. If you would like to share about this cause, please feel free to copy and paste the information below:

Date: Sunday, May 4, 2014

Check-in: 9:30 AM

Walk start: 11:00 AM

Address: David Lam Park, 1300 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: http://www.walksokidscantalk.ca/walk-locations/vancouver/

Join The Conversation On Twitter: #WSKCT14 #BeAHero

About the Walk so Kids Can Talk presented by BMO

The Walk so Kids Can Talk presented by BMO (#BeAHero) is a fun and inspirational 5K walk where thousands of kids, adults, families, schools, community organizations, and corporations across Canada join together to support kids’ potential by raising funds for Kids Help Phone. It’s a terrific way to build community and enjoy a great experience outdoors while supporting an important cause: young people’s well-being.

The Walk provides help and hope to kids everywhere, sending them the message that we walk together to make our world a more supportive place for them.

Held on the first Sunday in May since 2002, the Walk is Canada’s largest for child and youth mental health and well-being and kicks off Mental Health Week in Canada each year. The Walk is Kids Help Phone’s largest fundraising event of the year and raises a significant portion of the revenue needed to keep Kids Help Phone’s day and night counselling service available.

A Creative Solution To Brighten The Days At Canuck Place Children’s Hospice – And How YOU Can Help

Along this Let ME Out!! journey I have remembered several things that are so ME they feel like home.  Here’s what comes naturally to me and makes my spirit so happy:

  • promoting small businesses, particularly those of artists and artisans
  • raising awareness and funds for charities

Over the last few years, I have engaged in this through hosting People with Passion interviews and taking on the role of fund developer with a non-profit literary arts organization, Pandora’s Collective.  And recently, something else came across my path that has re-affirmed my love for creating solutions.

Michaela Evanow whose child is receiving care at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice posted this on her Facebook page:

This caught the attention of my blogger friend, Tairalyn, who suggested a mug-painting party to our mom bloggers group.  I happen to know an amazing arts and crafts studio with a huge selection of pottery (and gorgeous atmosphere, to boot!) that just celebrated its first anniversary this month!

Sisters Joanna and Stefanie opened Create-It Emporium in Cloverdale, B.C. and have shown that they are a heart-centred business of pure passion.  More than just a pottery painting studio, they offer workshops of all crafts in an environment that is community-oriented and where the tea, coffee and smiles are always flowing!

I knew they would jump on the opportunity to be a part of this campaign and I couldn’t have been more right.  I went to Joanna with the request for a partnership in this endeavour and she immediately put together this amazing deal:

Their 12 oz cup that normally retails for $15 plus tax (which includes unlimited studio time/paints/firing) is being offered for only $8 plus tax and includes all of the above PLUS shipping the mugs to the drop off location for Canuck Place.  Seriously, this deal could not be sweeter for anyone wanting to help out!

Since putting out the request on Facebook I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the people who have come forth, showing interest and generosity from miles away.  Friends and family who cannot come down to the studio because of distance and time are still calling in to the studio and purchasing mugs…which means there are a lot of mugs that need painting!

Joanna and I have been exchanged excited emails since the wheels started turning on this project, and Create-It Emporium is now holding a Helping Hands week from Monday November 11 – Friday November 15 from 6-9 pm for anyone who can come down and help with painting purchased mugs, or who would like to make their own donation.  All the details for this campaign plus their initiatives to help Beauty Night Society sew and decorate stockings for impoverished Vancouver women can be found here.

How YOU can help:

  • Come down to the studio any time between NOW and Sunday November 17 to purchase and paint an $8 mug
  • Call down to the studio at 604-574-4044 any time between NOW and Sunday November 17 to purchase a mug to be painted on your behalf
  • Show up during Helping Hands week (Mon Nov 11- Fri Nov 15 6-9pm), and have some coffee, cookies and conversation while sewing/decorating stockings or painting mugs
  • Copy and paste the following on to your Facebook status (you can also grab either of the pictures above to promote this).  Be sure to ‘like’ Create-It Emporium and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice so you can tag them in your post as well.

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is in need of bright, cheery mugs for the families who reside there.  If you live in the Lower Mainland and can get to Create-It Emporium 17582 56A Ave in Surrey between now and Sunday November 17, you can grab a 12 oz mug for just $8. This includes unlimited studio/painting/firing and shipping of your mug to Canuck Place.  If you can’t make it down but still want to donate, please call 604-574-4044 to purchase your mug.  A volunteer painter will be happy to paint on your behalf!

  • Share this post on your social media using the buttons below

Thanks for reading – and remember to always dream big!  If you have the intention of doing something, there are so many forces at play that will help you make it happen!

Need To Get Rid Of Your #Hallowe’en Loot?

Hope I’m not too late in offering this suggestion.  If the message is tardy this year, let it be something you keep in mind 11 months from now when you start wondering what to do with ALL THIS CANDY that will show up in your house on Hallowe’en night.

Prior to the big night of trick or treating, I noticed several people asking their friends on Facebook how they deal with the candy invasion.  I offered what has worked in my home for the last 3 years that we’ve done this night with kids: our children get to keep the same number of candies as their age and the rest gets donated/given away.

This year, as it turned out, ages 6 and 3 are a lot more candy-conscious than 5 and 2.  So that rule has now gone out the window as there was a general whining about the unfairness of this situation. The loudest whiner was my husband.

See, my children – especially my daughter – have inherited their sweet tooth from their dad and while I enjoy a little dessert now and then or a square of chocolate I just don’t see the big deal in parting with it.  But I realized, as the three children…I mean, my two children and husband…sat on the floor in front of their piles of loot appealing to me with big eyes, that this was going to be a job for Super Mom. Which I am, if you hadn’t heard.

I explained to them the plans for the extra candy before we negotiated what exactly was considered ‘extra’ candy.

Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Wendy of Just 4 Kids Pediatric Dentistry, BUYS back the candy for $1 a pound and then DONATES another $2 a pound to the local YMCA.  I broke it down to them in terms they could understand.

“This means, you get some extra money that you can put in your piggy bank (thankfully, this is still something that interests them) AND the YMCA you go to (which thankfully also interests them) gets money to make their pool and gym even better for you!”

Ears twitched toward me.  They were listening.

“Where does the candy go?” sniffed my HELPFUL husband.

“Dr. Wendy donates the candy to the food bank and to drug rehabilitation centres that use the candy for their programs.”

“Ok, well, I’ve worked out the numbers…” helpful husband jumped in. “If we keep 1 and give away 3, we should still have a decent amount left for us.”

“You mean, we should still be able to DONATE a decent amount?” I offered.  After all, those little ears were still twitching.

And so, this year, that’s how we did it.  Bottom line: I’m very grateful that Just 4 Kids Pediatric Dentistry offers this buy back program. It’s not like the kids don’t get sweets on other occasions – birthday parties, Valentine’s Day, and random treats throughout the year.  I just never want them to think of sugary stuff as something to have daily.

I am looking forward to dropping this off to Dr. Wendy on Thursday:

Bye bye!
Bye bye!

This is the (decent) amount we are keeping:

Each kid is keeping this much.
Each kid is keeping this much.








My husband gets this much:

He will thank me for this.
He will thank me for this.












Aimee Taylor: A Story Of Hope And Helping

I’m hearing them often now: stories about young women – mothers – who are being diagnosed with cancer.  As a mother in their age group and having friends in common with these brave soldiers, the stories have felt too close.  Actually not quite like stories, but like…reality. And that has me asking, “What can I do?”

Today I’m going to tell you about Aimee Taylor and her experience with cancer as a new mother.  Not to instill fear, not to make you feel sad or defeated.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I want to tell you about the restoration of Aimee’s faith in humanity, and how any one of us can be a part of that.

A talented writer and musician, Aimee recently became a mom to beautiful Alexa and shortly after learned that she has Stage IV cancer.  As Aimee focused on what this diagnosis means to her new daughter and loving partner, Evani, the community rallied around her. Friends, acquaintances and strangers alike are banding together to do what they can to ease Aimee’s burden and that has meant so much to her.

Photo Credit: Images by Bethany www.imagesbybethany.com
Photo Credit: Images by Bethany www.imagesbybethany.com

One of the biggest concerns Aimee has for her daughter is that she is no longer able to breastfeed her (while undergoing chemotherapy). Friends put out a plea…and the milk came pouring in.  Read the Vancouver Sun article here about Aimee’s emotional response to the human kindness she is experiencing through breastmilk donors.

There is still help needed, and if you’d like to be a part of this beautiful movement of kindness and humanity here’s how:

To donate breastmilk, email Margo at margo@margossecrets.com

To donate Save-On Points that they can use toward gift cards for groceries (they live right next to a Save-On store), call 1-800-242-9229 and ask to put the points toward card number 480 0343 4081 (the second line of numbers is AC #X6VXNU)

If you’d like to give meals or baby items, email emily.wight@gmail.com to coordinate.

Aimee is on maternity leave and her wife has stepped down from her work to support her through chemotherapy and an upcoming liver surgery.  To assist them financially, Aimee’s brother Gus has set up a donation page with a goal of $50,000.  It moves me to report that as of 3 days ago, nearly half of that goal has been reached!

If you are able to donate financially to aid Aimee, Evani and Alexa:

Especially in a city that is being put on the map for its kind acts, Aimee’s experience can be hopeful.  Thank you to everyone who is helping and thank you for sharing this post.

The Han Shan Project: How Poems Saved A Forest

Never let it be said that poetry is stuff of fluff that means nothing, does nothing.  

Over 250 poems (and their scribes) banded together and saved the greater part of McLellan Forest East in Langley; an ancient eco-system that was scheduled for destruction by the city.

I encourage you, dear Readers, to consider art as powerful action and forward movement.  If you ever doubt that, please remember the voice these poems gave to these trees.

Photo Credit: Mark Haddock
Photo Credit: Mark Haddock









This is their story:

In October 2012, upon hearing that this eco-system was endangered, local poet Susan McCaslin and her husband, Mark Haddock, (an environmentalist) paid the forest a visit.  They were floored that this land was going to be logged to build townhomes; the sale of these townhomes was to finance a recreation centre in neighbouring Aldergrove – a community that does not want a centre built at the cost of this forest.

What’s so special about McLellan Forest East?  Though it won’t be considered an old-growth forest until about 100 years from now, its 25 acres of deciduous and coniferous forests – home to some endangered species – is nothing to sneeze at.  It is one of a kind in Western Canada and includes such gems as a 450 year old (or older…it hasn’t been ringed yet) Black Cottonwood.

Even B.C.’s Ministry of Environment determined that this land should be designated an ecological park…but because they couldn’t back that up with dollars, this proclamation was ignored by the city councillors.

(The city offered the land to a group called WOLF – Watchers of Langley Forests – if they could raise $2 million in 2 months.)

Susan McCaslin and Mark Haddock knew they needed some serious media attention.  They organized an Art in the Park day featuring artists of all media and garnered some coverage this way.

It also happened that Canadian artist Robert Bateman, deemed one of the top 100 environmental proponents in 1999 by the Audobon Society, was in town at this time.  He immediately responded to Haddock’s call – stating this is the type of thing he lives for – and met the group and press at the park.  Bateman’s involvement and his line “This is the rec centre, right here” turned heads nationally in Langley’s direction.

Building To Benefit: Local Students Get Their Creativity On To Support The Canuck Place

I opened an email a couple weeks ago that just warmed my heart. It held me in a space of gratitude for this amazing gift we have all been given: the ability to use Creativity to help others.  I don’t waste an opportunity to speak about the breadth of Creativity; extending beyond the fine arts, this connection we have to a limitless pool of ideas encompasses every solution we conjure up to make a change, be the difference.

Five students from the University of British Columbia are doing just that.  Fuelled by their desire to generate funds for The Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, this heart-centred team created a project that will fulfill not only their class objectives, but will provide specialized care for those who need it.

And they are doing it with Lego!  I mean, come on!  Who doesn’t love a good Lego-building challenge?

The Vancouver Lego Gameswhich is set to be Canada’s largest charity Lego-building event – will take place on Sunday April 28, 2013 at Firefighter’s Club – 6515 Bonsor Ave., Burnaby, BC.

Ages 5 to adult can participate in their respective age categories and of course, they would love to have some encouraging spectactors attend as well!

Participants will be provided a theme at the event to which they have 15 minutes to create.  There is also the option of bringing in your own creation that fits in a 12″x12″ display.

I highly encourage you to check out their event day schedule, rules & regulations and extremely low entry fees.  ALL proceeds benefit terminally ill children at The Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

I had to share this with you because it falls right on my soul-upliftment radar and I hope it inspires you to tap into Creativity to positively affect others.

Vancouver Lego Games has generously offered 2 tickets of your choice (competitor/spectator and adult/child) which I am giving away here in the Rafflecopter draw below.  This giveaway is only open till Wednesday so don’t delay entering!  See you there!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you’d like to inspire others with this post, please pass it on with some social media love.  If you don’t see the buttons below, click on the title of this post and they will magically appear at the bottom.