Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Mother's Day, Tell Your Mama

For immediate release

May 4, 2012

(TORONTO) If you’ve ever experienced the Mother’s Day dilemma about what to do for your mom to let her know how much you appreciate her, you need look no further for an answer. 
Ernestine’s, a shelter for abused women and children since 1983, is providing a fun opportunity to let your mother know that you are thinking about her with the Tell Your Mama email campaign. 
Led by the shelter’s Community Engagement Team, Tell Your Mama is a playful way to engage the friends of the shelter, increase awareness of violence against women and raise much-needed funds. 
“Letting your mom know you love her in your own special way is what this campaign is all about,” says Chevaunise Toney, Coordinator, Community Engagement & Finance, “And it’s so easy.  Simply visit the Ernestine’s website  and click on Tell Your Mama.  Make a donation of $25 and follow the instructions on how to post a message to your mama.  Either I or another team member will post that message on our special online Tell Your Mama Message Board.”
“The impact of violence on the lives of women and children has been off the front pages for the last decade or so,” adds Jill Cunningham, Director of Community Engagement & Finance for the shelter.
“Now, more than ever, we need the community to come together to say no to violence against women. That’s why our priority in 2012 is to use every tool available to raise to build a strong supporter base that not only helps women who are abused, but raises awareness among a generation of young people that violence against women is wrong and has no part in any relationship.  Tell Your Mama is an important part of that.”

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For more information contact Jill Cunningham, , 416-743-1733 ext 2010 or Chevaunise Toney,, 416-743-1733 ext 2011.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Experiencing Greatness

It has come to my realization that people in general feel that they must have the material things in order to be accepted as individuals. There are so many people out there that are far greater than they give themselves credit for. What they need to remember is that they are not what they have is what they hold inside that matters most. Although it is true that you need those material things in order to just be, however once the spirit is broken nothing will replace it yet the material things can be bought again and again.

I remember when I came to Canada with $50 in my pocket between my sister and I and although I have failed a few times since, I rose again and again. I give that credit to the people around me as they have lifted me and helped me see my strengths and greatness in me.My last failure was picking the bad apple to be my life partner where in return he left me broke and having to live in a shelter with my two children. There are days I still feel broken and I still resent myself for not being able to see what he was about before it went the wrong route. Live and learn some might say, yet I feel that I need to take the blame and move on. I certainly do not want to have to go thorough the same situation again so I fight daily to go forward. It is not easy to be in a battle with life the way I am yet I feel that I have also accomplished a lot since. Three years ago I was so unhappy and crying daily not knowing what is going to happen to me and my children. The anniversary of when it all became "reality" and saw what the other person was capable of is around the corner. I have bitter sweet feeling towards it. I celebrated last year by going out to dinner on my own and reflecting on what I have become and where do I want to go. As it was stated in the movie "Antoine Fisher" I say to myself at times: "I'm still standing! I'm still strong!" Truth of the matter is that I am strong and that my life experiences, however bad they were, did not prevent me from being me. Yes, I have fears and I am scared! Yes, I feel that things should've been different today should I have not made bad decisions! Yet, it is the past that crafted me to the woman and mother that I am today!

I am living proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that life doesn't end when crisis arises, it only shifted me in a different direction and many times over it was teaching me a lesson.

Watching the video below it prompted me to see that I am not the only one who have been slapped by life and many other people have had it worst than me. I am sure you can relate.


Remember: You're still standing! You're still strong! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shimider Fistula: Obstructed Labour

Habiba Cooper Diallo at the Word On The Street 2011 
In honor of Black History Month I am going to write a book review written by a young aspiring writer Habiba Cooper Diallo. At the age 15 Habiba has traveled around the world a few times and her love for her ancestors is  remarkable. 

The book in review,  Shimider Fistula: Obstructed Labour, written by Habiba Cooper originally started as an 8th grade short story writing assignment. When speaking with Habiba about inspired her to write such story, this is what she had to say:

Obstetric fistula is a childbirth driven illness that results from an obstructed labour. The physical effects it has on the mother includes incontinence, genital ulceration, nerve damage and infections that can ultimately result in death if not treated. The baby is almost always still born due to lack of oxygen during labour. Fistula also has many extreme social and psychological implications. Most women affected by it are ostracized and abandoned by their communities due to the sever conditions it leaves them in, notably incontinence. This gives rise to psychological issues and many women resort to suicide. However, what is most disheartening about it all is that  obstetric fistula is a completely preventative illness. The women who are fistula patients lack adequate health care facilities. I was inspired to become an advocate for the issue about 4 years ago when I read an article about a young girl, Anafghat Ayouba, who suffered an obstetric fistula . Her story was very heart-rending this today I am passionate about creating public awareness about the issue to see the eradication of fistula.   
Habiba has been speaking on this issue through her soon to be released book during the Word On The Street 2011 Festival  . She captured the audience while reading her story with a great passion for this issue. The story is based in Ethiopia and it describes the journey of a woman who is pregnant and, while accompanied by two youngens, a boy and a girl, she is finally making it to the hospital to deliver the baby who has died on the way before she got the chance to give birth. Although the woman has a great chance at attaining medical attention for her obstetric fistula which she acquired through her painful labour, many women from these part of the world are not aware of the medical attention that they can receive to prevent and treat obstetric fistula. Generally women live in shame and segregated by the other citizen often living with a stigma of shame. 

The fact that someone as young as Habiba, a 15 years old, had taken upon herself to talk about this issue so openly it is a reason to admire today's youth. I hope to see a change and I am confident that her book will create the awareness needed for us to talk about this issue that women in under developed countries are facing in today's society. Please stay tuned for the upcoming book. Details to follow. Until then, if you would like to know more about fistula you can check out this link from The Fistula Foundation.

If you are wondering why I used this topic to talk about for the Black History Month well, here is why:

  • Habiba is a very involved African/Caribbean/Canadian youth in the issues pertaining not only to fistula but to the Black history in general.
  • Fistula is an issue predominantly taking place in  sun-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Experiencing Communication

When two or more people are involved in a conversation be it for personal or business purpose, communication is a crucial part of the experience.

In my opinion there is no effective way or tool on how to communicate if we cannot express ourselves by seeing what the others are seeing. When we become aware and understand others around us only then will we be able to communicate effectively. Two people can look at the same thing and see two different things. We cannot control what they see but we can try to understand what is it that they see and why. Not only will this procedure be more effective in understanding others but it will also enable us in producing results based communication.

Another reason why communication is a major part in our daily lives is to set up ground rules that we live by with respect to ourselves and others around us. When we communicate our desires and wants to the world we teach people how to treat us. It is up to us to send the message on how we want to be treated and therefore how we treat the ones around us. When we set up rules and also set up consequences and rewards for each rule that is when we learn our value and teach others about it as well. This part of communication by which we live it is a crucial part as we learn about ourselves and others along the way. It may take a life time to learn this part of communication, yet starting is the key because if we never have a starting point we will never be able to communicate effectively be it professionally or on a personal level.

What is your form of communication? Hey, sharing is caring so please feel free to 'communicate' on here.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

2012 is almost here and so are the new year's resolutions that most people make and only few keep. Why is it so hard to keep them? Why set resolutions if there are no intentions on keeping them?

Personally I make resolutions each year and I keep it simple: I want to be a better person than I was the previous year. Sounds simple, right? Let me put it in perspective. To be a better person for me means that I have to be a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better mate, a better friend and a better business person. Now that sounds like a lot, doesn't it? It is but it's not impossible. This year I have a plan to make it all work...I will avoid all the unnecessary things and people, in other words: Prioritize!

I have decided to create a vision board to see where my future will take me ahead of time. I will not have only one but multiple boards. One of them will be created with my children to make sure they will understand where we are all going in life. One of my long time goals is to provide my children with opportunities I never had before. I want to make sure they understand what success is and what it means to fall through the cracks sometimes because what it really comes down to is how we get up after we fall that makes us who we are. Therefore, my priority this year, just like few years that past, is to become a better person, not only for me but for the people in my life!

What are your priorities for 2012?