Inspiration

Looking Back on 2016

We can’t believe another year has come and gone.

2016 has been an amazing year for Little Voice and we couldn’t have done it without you!

Each year, Little Voice sets a number of goals that will enable us to plan for the future and make a difference in our community! This past year, Little Voice aimed to increase our outreach, launch our movement, and increase our donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Here’s a look back at 2016 and how we managed to reach our goals:

Outreach

Thanks to our community, Little Voice was able to increase our outreach efforts through a number of media outlets:

We were also able to meet many more of our readers at a number of our local Indigo, Chapters and Coles events:

Meeting our readers in person has always been a great opportunity for us to answer your questions and see the impact our book has had in your homes and schools. We hope to put on many more events this upcoming year and to meet many more of you at our local events.

The Little Voice Movement

This past Summer, Little Voice launched our official movement. The movement was our way to give back, not only to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, but to all those searching for a way to fundraise in their communities.

Thanks to CTV and Upfront Ottawa, we were able to share our movement with all of you:

By registering to become an Little Voice Ambassador, you can create your own inspirational movement in your community. Whether you choose to support your school, an important cause, or your future, Little Voice will donate $5 dollars from every book sale you’ve made to support your movement.

You can learn more about our movement on our website and sign-up today … for free!

The Forget Me Not Project

Every year, since publishing Little Voice, we have challenged ourselves to grow our donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada through the Forget Me Not Project. By participating in the Walk for Alzheimers, Little Voice has been able to work with our local Alzheimer Society chapter and with YOU to fundraise in support of Alzheimer’s research, programs and services! This past year, through your generosity, Little Voice was able to raise $1, 875 dollars.

Little Voice was also very proud to put on the Dream Big Dream, Girl Luncheon that successfully raised $2,000 dollars in support of the Alzheimer Society. Together, we were able to not only get together and feel inspired, but we were also able to empower the next generation of dreamers to make a difference in their own communities.

A BIG thank you to all those who attended and to our guest speakers, sponsors and the Dream, Girl film, which made the event possible!

The New Year is an amazing opportunity to look back on all the little moments that made up the sum of our entire year. It’s a chance to be grateful for all the positivity that came in to your life, to examine where you can grow, and to challenge yourself to reach new heights in the year ahead.

For Little Voice, a new year is an opportunity for us to set new goals that will allow us to reach more readers and support many more causes. It’s an opportunity to say thank you for believing in our message and vision and sharing our book with your students, children, family and friends.

But more importantly, it is a perfect reminder for each and every one of us to listen to our little voice and to not let another year go by where we ignore it.

We wish you all a very Happy New Year and cannot wait to share what we have planned for 2017 with all of you!

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The Importance of Giving Back

From the very beginning, Little Voice has been a story all about giving back. It started with Amanda’s goal to give children a book that would teach them something, that would provide a moral to the story, and a way for children to feel engaged. Eventually, Little Voice became a symbol of inspiration, a way for parents and teachers to inspire their children and students to believe that they can accomplish anything. Now, Little Voice is known across Canada as a way to fundraise and really give back in your local communities.

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But why is it important to give back?

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Little Voice Nominated for the Ottawa Social Impact Awards

This October, Little Voice was nominated for the Ottawa Social Impact Awards! 

The Ottawa Social Impact Awards are recognizing and celebrating the leaders in our community who are making a positive social impact through innovative, collaborative, and scalable initiatives and enterprises. A partnership between Impact Hub Ottawa and the City of Ottawa, the inaugural Awards seek to:

  • Highlight Ottawa-based community initiatives and social enterprises that have significant potential for growth and lasting impact;
  • Emphasize the power of the collective rather than the individual; and
  • Recognize social innovation in our community that is turning the status quo upside down.

Today, Little Voice is very excited to not only share this nomination with all of you but a special feature with CBC Ottawa on Our #Ottawa.

This interview certainly helped both Samantha and I realize how far we’ve come and how much farther we want to go. What started as a simple poem on a scrap piece of paper has involved into a social enterprise I am so proud to have created with Samantha. We are continuously motivated by your feedback and involvement with our platform and hope to continue to inspire you as our movement and vision grows.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author

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“We wanted kids to feel like they belong, for them to have a book that they could relate to. When you have a kid that feels inspired it’s really rewarding to think that we created something that sparked that inspiration within them.”

It was an amazing experience to be featured with CBC Ottawa and we are very excited to share the final product today with all of you! Special thank you to CBC for also highlighting our nomination in the upcoming Ottawa Social Impact Awards! Please vote for Little Voice by visiting http://ottawa.impacthub.net/ci…/ottawa-social-impact-awards/ to help us grow our platform, voting ends November 4, 2016!

You can now watch our full feature on #OurOttawa here: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/796499011649

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One Young World 2016 – A Life Changing Experience

A special feature by Little Voice’s author Amanda Bernardo after attending the One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 

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Before sharing my experience, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who supported my One Young World journey, who donated to my delegation fee, and who encouraged me to raise my voice and chase my dreams. Thank you!

It’s hard to sum up everything I’ve seen, heard and felt over these past few days. There’s been a lot to digest. It’s even harder to think where do I go from here?

As a philanthropist and social entrepreneur, I attended One Young World with a particular interest in how I could grow Little Voice to support the causes I believe in. I wanted to learn how I could use my platform to truly lead on the causes I am passionate about, specifically mental health and gender equality. I also wanted to learn what more could I do to make a difference.

I didn’t know what to expect from this Summit, but what I never imagined was that I would learn more about myself in four days than I had in the last year.

Here’s a little glimpse of the day to day summaries I tried to jot down throughout the Summit.

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Inside a Young Leader’s Journey to One Young World

On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, I will be one of 1300 young leaders at this year’s One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I still can’t believe it!

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Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always been passionate about making a difference in my community. I’ve volunteered with countless charities, fundraised wherever possible, and lived with the mantra to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

While I’ve worked really hard to make a difference right here in my community, I applied to One Young World thinking that perhaps I wasn’t good enough. It’s easy to share my excitement about One Young World with all of you, but I think it’s even more important to address some realities that I’m sure many of you can relate to.

They say we are our own worst critics and this couldn’t be more true of my journey to One Young World. I’ve always been known to be extremely involved in many, many organizations, projects, initiatives, etc… What can I say, I like to keep busy! I’m always thinking of the next movement I can be part of or the next goal I can accomplish in order to make a real impact with the work I am leading. Yet, despite always moving forward, a part of me has failed to soak it all in and really revel in my accomplishments.

I’ve always liked to work hard in silence and let the success I have been a part of make all the noise.

However, one thing I realized in anticipation for One Young World is how important it is to really look around once and awhile at all you’ve accomplished. For me personally, it really put my life into perspective. It helped me focus on what I am really passionate about, my vision for the future, and the next steps I’d like to take in order to not only be a young leader but one day, a world leader.

I think many young leaders can relate to this feeling. We’re always so busy working away that we sometimes fail to acknowledge what work really means the most to us and how it has the potential to change our lives completely. Our work may seem small in comparison to others, but it is still important.

If a community of young leaders each led one “small” project in their communities that strived to make a social impact, together, they will have changed the world. This, to me, is what One Young World is all about. It’s not about what we do alone, but what we can accomplish when we work together.

Collaboration has proven time and time again that we cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together. Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, but working together is success.

I started off my journey thinking I needed to do a lot more with my life in order to be considered a young leader. What I never expected was the outpouring of support I received that not only encouraged me to attend One Young World but that reminded me that I already was a young leader in my community.

We all have the potential to make a difference in our communities. It’s easy to think that our efforts may be too small to change the world but, let me be the first to say, they are not.

To take action at any scale, is still action.

image1ellaWe are the generation that has been called to act, to make a difference, to speak up, to raise awareness, to not give up, to support each other and remind one another that we are all good enough. I am grateful to One Young World for putting my future into perspective, for helping me to believe in myself when I may have doubted my potential, and to all those I will soon meet that will help shape the rest of my life forever.

 

You may not be attending One Young World with me, but I promise to share every step of the way with you so that in turn you too can be inspired to change the world!

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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…

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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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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!

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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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