Shop our newest book The Lighthouse and support the National Canadian Mental Health Association!
"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
My name is Amanda Bernardo and I am a local Ottawa author and advocate for both the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa/Renfrew County and Canada.Two years ago, I set out to write
a story I hoped would inspire all those who would read it. Along the way, I realized I was also creating a platform where I could create real change in my community and in the lives of
all those my story would touch.
In creating this platform, I began promoting a positive movement that would inspire people to listen to their little voice; a voice that would encourage them to be proud of who they are and capable of accomplishing anything! I began working closely with local schools and
organizations, such as CHEO, the Boys and Girls Club and the Proud to be Me Foundation, by donating books and providing inspirational talks.
In sharing my story, I also knew early on that I wanted to tell a story that I felt was not told
nearly enough. This story, unlike my own, is one where our little voice is forgotten, where the memories that make up the sum of our life story are stripped away and the loved ones that are left behind are suddenly strangers. This is a story that we refer to now a day as Alzheimer’s disease. In my attempt to tell this story, I created the Little Voice Forget Me Not Project;
a project that donates a portion of every book sale to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, a cause I hold extremely dear to my heart and have pursued in honour of my grandmother.
As a passionate volunteer in my community, I wanted my movement to not only teach
kids about themselves but also about the importance of giving back and helping others, whatever the cause may be.
This upcoming June, I am hosting an event that will promote each of these stories, with a
special focus on inspiring women and young girls in our community. The event is a special screening of the soon to be released film “Dream, Girl”, a documentary whose producer comes from our very own nation’s capital. The film’s mission is to share the stories of amazing female entrepreneurs, from brand new startups to million dollar industries, in order to inspire the next generation of leaders. Proceeds from this event will also go towards supporting the 2016 #WalkForAlzheimers!
The film’s world premiere will be this May in New York City, with special screenings that will
follow shortly after in Canada and the United States. When I first watched the “Dream, Girl”
trailer, I knew I wanted to be part of this movement and share this inspirational message
with others. The film brings to light the importance of teaching young girls and women
that they too can become leaders:
“Any person, male or female, could be a leader. Anyone is capable, it just so happen
for us [women] it’s more complicated. I hope for us this is the generation that changes because I think that it’s time for change.”
Two years ago I set out to write a story I hoped would inspire all those who would read it. My book, however, was just the beginning. My goal was and is to create a movement that will positively impact my community. By speaking at events and sharing my story, my goal has been to inspire children and adults alike to be proud of who they are while reminding them to chase their dreams.
Since December 2014, when I first published Little Voice, I have used this platform to give back in any possible way I can; whether it has been by donating books to schools or organizations like CHEO and the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, or by donating my time to speak to kids at the Proud to be Me Fun Day. I also created the Forget Me Not Project, a project that donates a portion of every book sale to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, a cause I hold extremely dear to my heart and have pursued in honour of my grandmother. How does it all relate? Well, my story encourages people to listen to their little voice and the Forget me Not Project reminds people of a disease that regrettably takes this little voice away from many people in our communities and country.
This upcoming June, I am hosting an event that I hope will combine both my desire to inspire and my love of volunteering to create a day where people can interact with the tremendous amount of inspiration in our city all while supporting our local chapter of the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa.
Since Little Voice first set out to share its story, it has also set out to fundraise behind a cause extremely close to their heart…
Little Voice was very excited to meet with the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County this past week to learn more about the organization’s team and how they use donations to support a variety of programs and initiatives.
“I am so honoured to work with the Alzheimer’s Society and to be able to use the Little Voice platform as a means of creating a positive impact in my community, specifically with those living with Alzheimer’s disease or a form of related dementia. I know my grandmother would be extremely proud of me if she were able to comprehend all that I am doing in her name.” – Amanda Bernardo, author of Little Voice
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects men and women of all races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. It is not a normal part of aging and no one is immune.
Alzheimer’s disease holds a very personal connection to Little Voice’s author Amanda Bernardo. Her grandmother, Teresina Bernardo, has been struggling with the disease for over twenty years.
When Amanda first set out to write Little Voice, she knew she wanted to give back. Her partner and illustrator on the project, Samantha Clusiau-Lawler, couldn’t have agreed more with Amanda’s decision to support the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
Together, they started the Little Voice Forget Me Not Project!
The Little Voice Forget Me Not Project donates a portion of each book sale in support of the Alzheimer Society of Canada!
The reality is that an estimated 500,000 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.
Today, Little Voice is extremely happy to donate our first $500 in honour of Author Amanda Bernardo’s grandmother Teresina Bernardo – the first $500 of many!
The Alzheimer Society Walk for Memories is a province-wide event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and education. Held annually in more than 65 communities across Ontario, this inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to help support people living with dementia.
Author Amanda and Illustrator Samantha joined hundreds of others in this year’s
2015 Walk for Memories!
I was so honoured today to walk for my grandmother, Teresina Bernardo. She was 67 years old when she was officially diagnosed with this disease. Having lived with Alzheimer’s for over 19 years, she now finds herself in the final and more difficult stages of this disease.
The topic of Alzheimer’s has always been an emotional one in my family. It would be difficult for any family living with this disease to describe it. However, I recently read an article that truly took the words right out of my mouth; the article read: “The more I lose my mom to Alzheimer’s, the more I experience how painful it is to miss someone who is sitting right in front of you.” That’s just it, typically when we lose someone we have a chance to say goodbye, to mourn and to heal. Yet, with Alzheimer’s you don’t really get that. You say goodbye after each conversation and watch as this disease slowly strips you away from your loved one’s memories. You see someone you love disappear even though they are standing right in front of you.
Today, for the first time, I was surrounded by so many others who understood what it meant to live with Alzheimer’s disease. To see so many people together in one room, fighting for the same cause, was truly inspirational and I am truly truly honoured to have been a part of this initiative. Being part of today’s event gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It inspired me to continue fundraising, advocating and doing whatever I can to help bring awareness to this disease and the funding needed to finally find a cure!
This was my first year walking, but it most definitely won’t be my last!
– Amanda Bernardo, Author
Today was a reminder of how Alzheimer’s disease has touched the lives of so many people. When I saw such a big community of people come together to walk, I was overjoyed with their positive spirits and hopes that someday, with much fundraising, we will find a cure!
Walking alongside Amanda today was truly wonderful. Ever since we launched Little Voice she has wanted to give back in some way or another to our community. I was 100% on board when she chose to help the Alzheimer’s Society. I knew why Amanda chose to donate to this cause, but today I was fortunate to have Amanda share with me her grandmother’s story. I am so proud to join her on this journey with Little Voice to now support this community we are so thankful to be a part of!
I look forward to walking many more kilometres in support of this amazing cause and I encourage you all to donate if possible or join us on our walk
– Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor, Illustrator
Amanda and Samantha circled the track 25 times and walked a total of 5 kilometres!
The Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County had over 600 walkers present, with 82 teams and … drum roll please … raised
Join thousands of Alzheimer’s advocates who are making a difference!
Did you know that women are doubly affected by Alzheimer’s disease? They outnumber men living with the disease and more often than not shoulder the responsibility of caring for a family member with it.
You know these women. They are the special women in your life – mothers, wives, sisters, grandmothers, and friends.
That’s why this January during Alzheimer Awareness Month, the Alzheimer Society is joining our colleagues across the country to launch a nationwide campaign to get Canadians talking about Alzheimer’s disease. We want women to take action, be Alzheimer’s savvy, know the warning signs and take steps to reduce their risk – not only for themselves but for those they care about. – Alzheimer Society of Canada
With 2015 ahead of us, we can’t help but think of our own list of resolutions.
New Years is a perfect opportunity to think about what we want to accomplish in the year ahead. It’s a chance to think of our goals, both big and small, and a chance to create a plan of how we can attain them. It’s also an opportunity to think of ourselves and how we can improve our own outlook, our health, our intellect, etc… As well as a chance to think of others and how we can give back, offer support and volunteer.