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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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Supporting the #RosalinaStrong Pixie Fund

On February 4, 2016, the Bedynski-Belli family received the news that their five year old daughter Rosalina had been diagnosed with high risk, stage 4, Neuroblastoma.

When we first found out this news, our family was beyond speechless. Shortly after Rosalina’s diagnosis, we were introduced to the Candlelighters of Ottawa, an organization that helps families like ours cope with cancer related situations. They provided us with binders of information, prepared us for the procedures Rosalina would have to undergo, and much more.  They also donated an iPad to Rosalina filled with apps focused on learning activities in order for her to not fall behind in school. These are only but a few of the reasons why Candlelighters hold such an important place in our hearts, along with all those at CHEO.

The Bedynski-Belli family has set out to raise funds to support both the Candlelighters and CHEO for all of their amazing work in supporting their daughter during this difficult time.

When Little Voice learned of the #RosalinaStrong Pixie Fund, we knew we had to give back.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 3.39.19 PMChildren are the biggest reminder of that little voice inside us, the one that gives us strength during times of weakness, and hope during times of despair. In Rosalina’s case, her little voice continues to motivate her to be strong as she undergoes treatment. Rosalina is currently undergoing her fifth treatment of chemotherapy but she remains strong with the support of her family and community.

To date, the #RosalinaStrong Pixie Fund has raised over $3,500 dollars both online and in person.

 

In addition to Little Voice’s regular donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, from June 10 to June 30, Little Voice has committed to supporting Rosalina’s fundraising efforts by donating $5 from every online book sale to her cause.

Let us rally behind the Bedynski-Belli family and pray for Rosalina’s speedy recovery.

You can also support this cause directly by visiting https://www.youcaring.com/rosalina-575383!

rosalina strong

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What it means to Dream BIG

Where to begin… 

It seems like just yesterday, I came across a Kickstarter campaign for a film that shared a message much like my own. This message encourages children, and adults alike, to believe in themselves and their dreams! After watching the trailer for the Dream, Girl film,  I saw myself and the journey I had taken with Little Voice in the stories of the women featured in this film. I saw my struggles, my fears, my determination and that same little voice that once inspired me to write a children’s book, inspire others to do extraordinary things too!

On the morning of June 5th, the Dream Big Dream, Girl Luncheon, I asked myself how I got here. How did watching a trailer to a documentary, produced by two women I didn’t really know, turn into me putting on an event for over 140 women. The short answer: inspiration. The longer answer: when an idea gets in my head, I run with it, and that’s exactly what led me to put on this inspirational luncheon.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this. Would people be interested? Would people attend? Would they be as inspired as I hoped they would?

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My First Glimpse at the Dream, Girl Film

After watching the Dream, Girl film for the first time, I cannot even put into words how moved I am! When I first saw the Kickstarter campaign for this film, it was the mention of a little voice inside us all that caught my attention. I watched the trailer and thought to myself, this is 100% me two years ago.

I saw myself in this film, a young woman with a dream of publishing her own book, inspiring the next generation and making a difference in her community. I understood the struggle and hurdles these women talked about and understood how difficult it was to start my own business. But when I set out to chase my dream, it was hard to see examples of other women doing the same. I had to search for it.

Fast forward and I am so happy that a young woman, who I don’t even know, followed her own little voice and, after searching for what I had desperately sought when I was starting my own business, found it. Not only did she find it, she filmed it, produced it and now is sharing it to inspire us all!

I may not have been part of the creation of this film, and like me, many of you have not either, but the beautiful thing about this movie is that while none of us were part of it, our stories are all inside it. The story of women leaders, entrepreneurs and start-ups. The story of our struggles, our dreams, our hurdles and fears. The story of feeling like we want to give up and the story of beating all odds and chasing our dream!

So, while Little Voice and Dream, Girl were created at different times and in different parts of the world, one thing they have in common is a message that reminds us all to listen to our little voice and dream big! If I can support another woman in sharing that message, you can certainly bet I will!

I cannot wait to share this film with everyone this Sunday at the Dream Big Dream, Girl Luncheon!

– Amanda, author of Little Voice

‪#‎DreamBIG‬

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Dream Big this June with Startup Canada’s Victoria Lennox

As we prepare for our upcoming luncheon this June, we are extremely excited to announce our closing guest speaker Victoria Lennox!

The Dream, Girl Luncheon is an amazing opportunity to unite women entrepreneurs in our community, while inspiring the next generation to chase their own entrepreneurial dream.

Women are starting companies every single day. They are breaking through barriers, taking on challenges, making a difference in our communities, and fighting for equal rights and equal pay! It’s hard to ignore how far women have come and so, rather than ignore it, we here at Little Voice in partnership with the Dream, Girl film want to PROMOTE it!

If you have it in your heart that you want to build your own company, don’t let anyone or anything stop you.

The Dream, Girl Luncheon will include a special screening of the Dream, Girl film, a film that focuses on the stories of women entrepreneurs. In addition to the women we will meet on screen, we also wanted to introduce you to some pretty amazing women right here in our own backyard.

Victoria Lennox Headshot - Recent (6)When we think of entrepreneurship in Canada, it’s pretty hard not to think of Startup Canada. Victoria Lennox is the co-founder and CEO of Startup Canada, a grassroots network of entrepreneurs working together to build an environment for entrepreneurship in Canada. She is recognized by the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union as one of the foremost experts in entrepreneurship education; ecosystem and program architecture, governance, development and implementation; and, in fuelling entrepreneurship movements and awareness campaigns.

She is also the first Canadian and one of the youngest recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. As a student at the University of Oxford, Victoria won the award for having pioneered a grassroots youth entrepreneurship movement in the UK called NACUE. Today NACUE is central to the UK’s youth entrepreneurship ecosystem, supporting more than 55,000 higher education students and graduates across more than 100 institutions.

On the global stage, Victoria is a strong leader. As the catalyst for Startup Generation and host of Startup Nations, Victoria supports and mentors the development of youth enterprise organisations in more than 20 countries; provides advisory support to international organisations in the areas of entrepreneurship networks, education and policy development; and supports colleges and universities in enhancing their entrepreneurial activities. Countries around the world are also working to emulate Startup Canada’s methodologies and activities, viewing the organization, under Victoria’s leadership, as the best practice in fuelling entrepreneurship culture.

Entrepreneurship has proved to be a catalyst for economic growth in many countries. Equally as important is the critical role that women play in the growth of an economy.

We are very excited to have Victoria Lennox join the Dream Big Dream, Girl team and are confident that her experiences and knowledge will serve to benefit all those in attendance! 

 

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Dream Big on June 5th with the Honourable Catherine McKenna

It is with great pleasure that Little Voice introduces the Honourable Catherine McKenna as one of our Dream Big Dream, Girl guest speakers!

Canada is blessed with many great female leaders. They remind the next generation of women and young girls that any person, male or female, can lead. They serve as an example of opportunity, change, and equality. More importantly, they teach us that anything is possible and that anyone, anywhere, is capable of dreaming big!

As a woman, our careers and our families are often times put at odds with one another. We have fought for decades for equal opportunity, equal pay and rights that allow us to be committed to our careers and families.

mckenna-catherineAs a female leader, Catherine McKenna made it clear that she’s very committed to her career and her family. They’re not competing, they’re working in harmony. She’s making work-life balance part of the conversation. 

We are very excited to have Catherine join us to share, with a room filled of women entrepreneurs, philanthropists and dreamers, how important work-life balance is when considering your dreams.

Get ready to dream big on June 5th with Little Voice and Dream, Girl!


Who is Catherine McKenna?

Catherine McKenna has practiced law at leading firms in both Canada and Indonesia, focusing on international trade, competition, investment and constitutional issues. She was senior counsel on the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer’s review of Canada’s military justice system. She was also senior negotiator with the UN mission in East Timor which culminated in the Timor Sea Treaty providing for the joint exploitation of petroleum resources in a part of the Timor Sea claimed by East Timor and Australia.

Catherine co-founded and was Executive Director of Canadian Lawyers Abroad, a charitable organization that engages in the developing world and Canada in the areas of good governance, rule of law, environmental issues and human rights. In Canada, Canadian Lawyers Abroad has partnered with environmental NGOs and organizations representing Aboriginal peoples. Catherine also served as the Executive Director of the Banff Forum that engages emerging Canadian leaders in critical public policy discussions. Prior to that, she taught at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and was a board member at the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

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2016 #WalkForAlzheimers

For the second year in a row, Little Voice was extremely excited to participate in the #WalkForAlzheimers in support of the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County!

This year, not only did we fundraise for this important cause, but we also worked closely with the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa as part of the organizing committee behind this event! We were blessed to work with such amazing people, hear from so many who are affected by this disease, and ultimately contribute to a successful walk!

The #WalkForAlzheimer’s raised $370,329.00 dollars, had 130 teams and over 1000 walkers!

WebsiteBanner-ENG-Walk4Alzheimers

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