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"Everyone has a voice deep down inside them, a voice that says “shine”. Some have loud voices, while some have quiet ones. Some people’s voice is so quiet they never get to hear it, while those that do may choose not to listen. Unfortunately, only a few decide to act on this voice, the stars who influence others to listen themselves."
Find your Little Voice

Year: 2016

See how you can fundraise $15, 000 in one month!

By now, you’ve heard about the Little Voice Movement and the potential it has to make a difference in your school, community, or child’s future.

With many teachers getting ready for back to school, a lot of our social media has been flooded with stories on how teachers go above and beyond to support their classrooms by purchasing supplies, books, materials, etc…

Little Voice is lucky to know many teachers across Canada and so, we know how many of our teachers pay for many of their classroom supplies out of pocket. Our Little Voice movement was launched with these teachers in mind.

(more…)

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September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September 2016 will mark the fifth global World Alzheimer’s Month™, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma.

The theme for World Alzheimer’s Month 2016 is Remember Me. To help raise awareness, the campaign is asking you to get involved by sharing your favourite memories, or memories of a loved one, on social media this September with the hashtags #RememberMe #WAM2016.

As most of you know, the Little Voice Forget Me Not Project was started in honour of Amanda Bernardo’s grandmother Teresina Bernardo who has been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease for over twenty years. More recently, however, Amanda’s other grandmother – Maria Bruni – has been showing early signs of dementia, and is suspected of also being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s never easy to learn that someone you love is going through something that neither of you quite understand. They are confused because they see a shift in their behaviour and their memory; and you are confused because you simply don’t know where to start. Then they often grow angry because they are overwhelmed with the changes they are experiencing; and even you grow angry because you can’t seem to find an answer as to why this disease has taken your loved one. Then reality kicks in, and you see that Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just strip away your loved one’s memories but it changes everything. It changes how your loved one interacts with you; how they perceive the world; how they function on a day to day basis; and how they maintain their relationships around them. As someone with Alzheimer’s disease on both sides of my family, the reality for me is that I am terrified. I am terrified that Alzheimer’s disease will now strip me from another relationship with someone I love. I am terrified that we don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s disease. And I am terrified that we still don’t have a cure. But I am also even more terrified that my chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease now seem more likely than not. It’s hard to imagine that at such a young age but it’s a terrifying reality that affects all those who could possibly inherit this disease. This is why I am urging you this September to help raise awareness and support your local Alzheimer Society. – Amanda Bernardo

In Canada, an estimated 747,000 Canadians have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Over 70,000 of them are under 65 and approximately 50,000 are under the age of 60. 1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. In just 5 years, as much as 50% more Canadians and their families could be facing Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Within a generation, the number of Canadians with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, will more than double, ranging between 1 and 1.3 million people.

I am grateful for the memories I have with both my grandmothers. My grandmother Teresina reminds me a lot of myself. She had this strength about her that was always admirable. She did a lot in her life time and it makes me sad to think that in her old age she cannot look back and enjoy how far she has come. Now, to think that my other grandmother here in Canada will be diagnosed with this disease breaks my heart. I grew up with my nonna Maria; all my childhood memories had her in them. I always remember her sneaking Hershey chocolate bars to us before we would leave her house. And her hugs. She gives the best hugs. I hope that never changes.

This September, please make a difference with your social media and ask the world to not only remember Teresina Bernardo and Maria Bruni, but all those struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. #RememberMe

To support the Alzheimer Society of Canada, please donate here.

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Back to School with Little Voice

Are you getting ready for back to school? This time of the year usually means you’ve already started a checklist for school supplies, clothes, lunch boxes, sneakers – the list seems truly endless!

If you’re getting your toddler ready for kindergarten four, or maybe your child for grade six, it may seem that getting them ready for university or college seems pretty far off. But is it?

As parents, you think the best thing you can do for your children is to encourage them to go to college and get a good education — and, hopefully, that will help them land good jobs with higher earning power than if they had high school diplomas alone. But that’s an expensive goal. It’s especially daunting considering that many parents are still paying off their own student loans, while their children born today could end up paying up to four times the current price for tuition if inflation keeps up, according to finaid.org.

So, what do you do? Open an RESP? A TFSA? Maybe a separate account or even a trust?

What if there was a simple way to increase your contributions while also supporting your community and an important cause? What if all it took was simply sharing a little inspiration? Would you start saving for your child’s education?
(more…)

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Côté Martial Arts Stands Behind One Young World

“Don’t let money fears stop you from chasing your dream!”

With One Young World less than two months away, Amanda’s fundraising campaign is now more important than ever! In order to attend One Young World, delegates must fundraise £2,655 (GBP) – roughly $4600 Canadian.

I am truly thankful for the community support I’ve received thus far, without your donations, my dream of attending One Young World would be far from a reality!”

Little Voice is very excited to announce Côté Martial Arts as one of Amanda’s official OYW sponsors! (more…)

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How to Silence the Outside Voices

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We are all faced with challenges that make listening to our little voice sometimes a bit more difficult than we hope for. More often than not, our little voice is challenged by outside voices that make it impossible to hear our purpose, see our future and act upon our inner dreams.

Life is filled with many outside voices, voices that tell us we are not good enough, not strong enough, not bold enough, not wise enough, not daring enough, etc… a whole lot of “nots” that make believing in your little voice extremely challenging.

So, how do you silence the outside voices so that your inner voice is good enough, strong enough, bold enough, wise enough, etc…

(more…)

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Little Voice Author Aims to Join One Young World

Today, Little Voice’s author received the good news that her application to be considered as a delegate representing Canada at the 2016 One Young World Summit was …

ACCEPTED!

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One Young World is a charity that stages an annual Summit, which gathers together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change. The 2015 Summit in Bangkok welcomed 1,300 delegates aged between 18 and 30 from 196 countries. Unlike any other event, the Summit gives young people the kind of media platform and forum ordinarily afforded only to the leaders of nations and corporations.

Amanda has been selected as an outstanding candidate to attend the upcoming Summit on the basis of her capacity for leadership, concern about global issues, ability to generate and articulate impactful ideas, teamwork and evidenced commitment to volunteering or other extracurricular activities.

See highlights from last year’s Summit in Bangkok here:

Delegates debate, formulate and share innovative solutions for the pressing issues the world faces. Following each Summit the attending delegates become One Young World Ambassadors and are charged to work on their own initiatives or lend the power of the One Young World network to those already in existence. Ambassadors have gone on to have an impact on issues ranging from education, global business, health, human rights, sustainable development and transparency.

Now, the real challenge begins…

In order to attend, Amanda will now need to put her fundraising efforts to the test and raise $4,600 dollars to support her One Young World journey!

Stay tuned for how you can get involved!


Interested in sponsoring Amanda? Read Amanda’s official OYW Sponsorship Letter here!!

 

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INTRODUCING THE LITTLE VOICE MOVEMENT

After almost one year in the making … here we are. Today, Little Voice is extremely excited to introduce to the world for the very first time …

The Little Voice Movement

In December 2014, the Little Voice team set out to create a children’s book we hoped would inspire all those who would read it. We wanted to not only develop a book that would encourage children to listen to their inner voice and chase their dreams, but also a platform that would enable us to give back in our community.

After launching the Little Voice book, we succesfully created the Little Voice Forget Me Not Project, a project that allowed us to use our platform to donate a portion of every book sale to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. To date, Little Voice has raised close to $7,000 dollars in honour of Amanda’s grandmother Teresina Bernardo, and has been recognized by eTALK Canada and Starbucks Canada for our fundraising movement. 

In addition to the Little Voice Forget Me Not Project, Little Voice has worked closely with a number of community initiatives, supporting local schools, charities and not-for-profits … but we wanted to do more.

If we could create a movement and fundraise close to $7,000 dollars, what was stopping us from supporting others within our community to do the same.

Today, Little Voice is pleased to launch our official movement: The Little Voice Ambassador Program that will enable Canadians across Canada, children and adults alike, to start their own movement under one of three platforms: 1) For your school; 2) For your Community; or 3) For your Future.

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By creating a movement under our first platform, teachers and parents can fundraise on behalf of their school. By creating a movement for your community, people can fundraise on behalf of a local charity, cause, individual or group in need. By creating a movement under our last platform, a parent or child can fundraise using the Little Voice Ambassador Program to support a child’s future education with a donation to their Registered Educations Savings Plan (RESP).

Movement Page ButtonsThere is no age limit, no time limit and no cost to join, simply a desire to make a difference in your community, school, or future!

With every movement, Little Voice will donate $5 from every book sale to the Ambassador’s cause. Registered Ambassadors will receive a coupon code that will track sales through our website and enable us to donate back to their movement. In turn, Little Voice continues to donate a portion of every book sale to the Alzheimer Society while supporting many more movements across Canada.

As we launch our movement today, we are very excited to have a number of movements already underway! Visit our Registered Movements page to learn about our first movements with CHEO, Proud to Be Me, the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County, #RosalinaStrong, the Half Moon Bay Public School and more!

Be sure to catch Little Voice on CTV Ottawa Morning Live this morning at 9:20am, at noon with UpFront Ottawa and this evening from 7:00 to 8:00pm on Twitter, using  the hashtag #wethelittle, and Facebook, on our event page, for a live chat where we will answer all your questions about our movement, our book and our journey. 

A BIG thank you to everyone who has continued to support our message and vision.

By working together, we hope the Little Voice Movement will grow to not only impact our local community here in Ottawa, but also communities across Canada.

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AFTERTASTE: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing (Part Three)

What does it mean to be yourself?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Be Yourself Blog is a chance for Little Voice to share the stories of those finding their little voice, those struggling to hear it, and those using it to inspire others. These are the stories about people just like you, and how they listened to their inner voice to build, create, explore and discover.


AFTERTASTE is a unique three part blog that shares the personal story and struggle of Little Voice’s illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor. 

“When Samantha came to me with her story and her hope of sharing it with others, I immediately stood by her like any partner would! Little Voice is more than just a children’s book, we are a movement. Not just one movement, but many movements. Whether we are supporting Alzheimer’s disease or other causes in our community, or even Samantha’s story, we want to use our platform to support every little voice; in times of strength and times of weakness.” – Amanda Bernardo, author

Last week on June 2nd, the world came together to promote the World Eating Disorder Action Day. Today, Samantha is opening up with all of our readers on her own personal experience in an effort to promote a worldwide knowledge of eating disorders and the need for comprehensive treatment.

This is part three of Samantha’s story:

Weight restoration was a necessary part of recovery. I was eating a total of six calorie dense meals each day and refrained from all forms of strenuous exercise. Despite the strides I was taking, it was hard to escape society’s own obsession with being thin. I remember recently being in a room filled with women talking about their goals for the new year, and almost every single one of them said: weight loss.

I had to leave the room; I didn’t want ED to feed off a conversation I know would empower him. Instead, I went into the hall and drank the Boost Plus I had snuck into my water bottle.

In that moment, all my hard work had been tested. Nobody in that room that day had any idea how how their weight loss conversation could challenge someone suffering with an eating disorder, but it did.  And yet, despite hearing the struggles other women were facing, I did not let ED use that opportunity to bring my own struggles back to light. I was proud of myself for not letting ED win.

(more…)

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AFTERTASTE: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing (Part Two)

What does it mean to be yourself?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Be Yourself Blog is a chance for Little Voice to share the stories of those finding their little voice, those struggling to hear it, and those using it to inspire others. These are the stories about people just like you, and how they listened to their inner voice to build, create, explore and discover.


AFTERTASTE is a unique three part blog that shares the personal story and struggle of Little Voice’s illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor. 

“When Samantha came to me with her story and her hope of sharing it with others, I immediately stood by her like any partner would! Little Voice is more than just a children’s book, we are a movement. Not just one movement, but many movements. Whether we are supporting Alzheimer’s disease or other causes in our community, or even Samantha’s story, we want to use our platform to support every little voice; in times of strength and times of weakness.” – Amanda Bernardo, author

Last week on June 2nd, the world came together to promote the World Eating Disorder Action Day. Today, Samantha is opening up with all of our readers on her own personal experience in an effort to promote a worldwide knowledge of eating disorders and the need for comprehensive treatment.

This is part two of Samantha’s story:

In December 2015, I hit my lowest low.

In October of that year, I had lost my grandmother to cancer three weeks after she was admitted to the hospital. Shortly after that, I had lost my job due to changes following the federal election. I had just bought a house with my boyfriend, and was worried about being able to afford it. The obstacles that were thrown my way made me take vigorous control of my body and food intake in the most punishing of ways. I buried my emotions and masked them with workouts, healthy food and a false sense of happiness. As a result, I was even thinner.

One evening, a dear friend of mine came over to see my new home and cheer me up about all the recent events that were taking place in my life. I could see this genuine concern in her eyes as she proceeded to ask me if everything was okay. I broke down. I couldn’t bear the weight (pun intended) of this obsession that was taking over my life. My little voice was shouting at me, and I could finally hear her loud and clear.

Before anad After

I admitted to her and to myself that I was done living this way.

(more…)

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AFTERTASTE: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing (Part One)

What does it mean to be yourself?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Be Yourself Blog is a chance for Little Voice to share the stories of those finding their little voice, those struggling to hear it, and those using it to inspire others. These are the stories about people just like you, and how they listened to their inner voice to build, create, explore and discover.


AFTERTASTE is a unique three part blog that shares the personal story and struggle of Little Voice’s illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor.

“When Samantha came to me with her story and her hope of sharing it with others, I immediately stood by her like any partner would! Little Voice is more than just a children’s book, we are a movement. Not just one movement, but many movements. Whether we are supporting Alzheimer’s disease or other causes in our community, or even Samantha’s story, we want to use our platform to support every little voice; in times of strength and times of weakness.” – Amanda Bernardo, author

Last week on June 2nd, the world came together to promote the World Eating Disorder Action Day. Today, Samantha is opening up with all of our readers on her own personal experience in an effort to promote a worldwide knowledge of eating disorders and the need for comprehensive treatment.

Graphic for article
In Samantha’s own words:

There I was, starring down at the meal placed in front of me. My mind was racing, my palms were sweaty and my anxiety was through the roof. My table was filled with the laughs, joy and carelessness of my closest friends. They ate their meal like it was no big deal. ‘’How?’’, I thought to myself. ‘’How could it possibly be this simple? They all made a choice and ordered what they wanted. Now, they are digging in, enjoying their food without a care in the world.’’ Even though I was surrounded by a table full of friends, I had never felt so alone, abnormal and trapped.

(more…)

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