Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Year Come and Gone

Well it's been a while since I've blogged which is really quite sad considering the amount of spare time I've been granted.

I thought it would be fitting, seeing as it's New Years Eve, to reflect upon the year that's drawing to a close. It's been a hot trend, especially amongst the blogging world, to highlight 11 moments and events of 2011. I'm finding it difficult to chose only 11 pieces of this action packed year to highlight, and since I like to find joy in the little things, I thought I'd list some memories big and small that I will take with me into the new year, and many years to come.

In no particular order:

- ridding the trolley cars through the hilly streets of San Fransisco
- sitting on Citadel Hill in the gorgeous city of Halifax with my baby brother
- beginning the last year or my high school year. That first day of school, being greeted as "The Grad Class of 2012"
- crossing the great Capilano River with some of my favorite people in the world
- canoeing in Deep Cove with 2 Japanese students, who lived such different lives from us Canadian children, yet were probably more similar than one would think- despite a great language barrier
- each and every day throughout my 5 weeks in Quebec, eating my meals with 15 vegetarians from across Canada (and Boston)
- sitting in Quebec City on the Plains of Abraham, poutine in hand
- emceeing my grandparents 50th Anniversary, and celebrating with my huge extended family and my grandparents many, many friends
- enjoying the incredible atmosphere of my home city during the Canucks playoff run (before the game 7 incident)
- road-tripping around the Cabot Trail with the fam. Stopping for some great hikes, Maritime history, Eastern-Canadian culture and even some traditional celtic music.
- singing in the world-renouned Carnegie Hall with my school choir
- taking a bike-trip to "The Falls" outside of Trois-Pistoles with some of my greatest friends from Explore
- an epic, 5.5 hour hike from Grouse Mountain to Riverside Drive with Jess and Hip
- touring the Winchester House with my beloved hockey team
- enjoying a short clip of Mount Seymour's much anticipated "Canadian Little League Championships"
- having a sushi date with two of my childhood and current best friends, Brooke and Olivia
- snowshoeing with Ashley when she fell through the snow and into a river
- dancing, outdoors and shoeless for 4 nights straight with a bunch of French hippies at EcoFete (an environmental/music festival in Trois-Pisoles) and of course listening to some great French bands
- that fulfilling feeling I got, speaking French with my taxi driver as he drove me to the airport after my 5 Week French Immersion Program, something I most definetely would not have been able to do just 35 days before
- sitting on the pier on the St. Lawrence River, starting the night in French and slowly transitioning to our mother tongue
- picking up a local newspaper at a golf course in PEI, and seeing a friend from Encounters being featured as Valedictorian... it's a small world
- standing on the upper deck during Grad Boat Cruise in freezing weather wearing only a little black dress, simple to enjoy the fabulous scenery of this city
- reuniting with my Students Live crew for the 1 year anniversary of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
- interviewing Jay, Sekou and Eon of Bedouin Soundclash
- camping with my grad class on Twin Island, a Seycove tradition
- going on a boat trip with my good friend Brianna and her lovely family to the West Vancouver outstation
- spending Canada Day in Peggy's Cove
- running the 5km Santa Shuffle around the Sea Wall with my mom (our 2nd annual)
- crowd-pumping (round 2) at We Day Vancouver
- my weekend at RYLA, with Rotary youth from all over the world
- our day at the high ropes course with Catching the Spirit as one of our training sessions
- late night talks with Nayaab, Alissa and Emma comparing our lives at different ends of the country
- skinny dipping on Bowen Island with my softball team, who also happen to be my best friends
- reminiscing with Emily and Dharra at the Cottage Deli Cafe, my favorite little gem of Vancouver
- hiking Quarray Rock and sushi date with my Dad after returning home from Quebec
- Valentines Date at a vegetarian restaurant and cruising around Vancouver with my neighbour, Ashley
- standing on top of the world- or on top of the Empire State Building
- midnight walks to the Deep Cove government dock with Brookie
- instead of doing homework; having conversations over Google translate with Blake, just to annoy Mom
- my second and third visit to BC Student Voice (and getting interviewed by CBC)
- seeing Once Upon A Cure come alive, after months and months... and months of planning. And seeing $90 000 raised for MPS-II. Seeing Will Blunderfield perform live wasn't bad either
- family dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, their three kids, and each of those kid's three kids- first time together in a long, long time
- dressing up as Guidettes for my Halloween weekend soccer game

I'm impressed with my memory, and am grateful for all these joyous moments I have to hold close to my heart.

Happy New Year to all! May 2012 be just as memorable as the last.

As for a New Years resolution... I've come to terms with the fact that they never follow through as planned. So in that case, absolutely nothing!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Virgin Mobile's RE*Generation Movement Supports Youth Homelessness

My article, as found on

Image credit: Ksenia Orehova | Bedouin Soundclash take a photo with Broadway Youth Resource Centre alumnus Maddy (middle) and Centre Manager Robert Wilmot (right)

Virgin Mobile's RE*Generation Movement Supports Youth Homelessness

by Lisa Odland - Seycove Secondary, North Vancouver BC Dec 19, 2011

In Canada, there is currently 65,000 youth without a place to call home. With youth homelessness being such a big issue in our country, Virgin Mobile and its non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, founded the RE*Generation movement back in 2008 to fight this growing problem.

The RE*Generation Movement has been hugely successful having raised over $800,000 to date, and to continue their great work, Virgin and Juno award-winning Canadian Ska/reggae band Bedouin Soundclash teamed up earlier in December for a benefit concert in support of the Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC), one of Vigin Unite's partners.

Despite their busy schedule, the Bedouin boys - Jay Malinowski, Eon Sinclair and Sekou Lumumba - spent their afternoon at the centre to learn more about the impact their efforts would make, as well as the great work the BYRC does for youth.

The band was given a tour of the facility from the rooms where youth under the age of 25 can come to wash their clothes, to art studios where distraught teens can come express themselves. Bedouin Soundclash saw it all and were genuinely interested ine learning about the centre that they were helping to support. "We like to try to make sure that we get involved with things that are taking the right precautions, to ensure the money gets to the right places," explain Sinclair when asked why they chose to get involved with this particular initiative.

Futhermore, Malinowski feels that getting involved in the RE*Generation Movement really helps to put things in perspective for them. “Doing this kind of thing reminds you, or brings you back down to the things that are important in life. You know, you can get so tied up worrying about other things.” At the end of the day, lending a hand and helping others is always a win-win, and after speaking with Maddy, an alumnus and youth leadership graduate of the BYRC, it was obvious how much it meant to have Bedouin support a place that means so much to her. “Someone up there in society really truly does care about us. And they do want to see us be better, and they do want to wish us well,” comments Maddy.

Now an intern at BYRC Maddy is a beautiful example of a success story from the Broadway Youth Resource Centre. “When I was younger I was just this crazy 16-year-old that didn’t care about nobody,” she describes. “I didn’t go back to my foster place most of the time.” After eight years of help from the centre, Maddy is soon embarking on a new journey. “Now they’re [the BYRC is] going to pay for me to go to BCIT to do half business, half secretarial to come back here to benefit them”.

This is the kind of change that the RE*Generation movement pride’s itself in. They “aim to empower a generation to help its own,” which is what Maddy hopes to do. She was overjoyed to speak of not only how the BYRC saved her, but also the people that supported her during the tougher times. “The staff here wear their hearts on their sleeve, and they’re really here for the youth’s best interest. You’ll see all the staff here do overtime. There was one staff that was here until like 9 o’clock at night still doing paperwork to make sure that youth all got what they needed.” Maddy is more than thankful for the support she’s received and is hoping to give back as much as she can.