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

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The ProjectBE Movement

Did you know refugees have been part of Canada’s cultural mosaic since before Confederation? Consecutive waves of refugees have helped build modern Canada, starting with the Quakers and Black Loyalists that fled the American Revolution in the 1770s, followed by Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, Chilean, Bengali, Indochinese, Kosovar, Karen, Bhutanese, Iraqi and, most recently, Syrian refugees, among others.

In 2016, approximately 46,000 refugees arrived in Canada in search for a better life. According to Immigrant, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, many refugees will need more support in areas such as housing, employment, language training, and mental health/well-being.

Little Voice is proud to support ProjectBE and our newest movement that will support refugee resettlement!

The ProjectBE Movement is supporting refugee settlement efforts through three focus areas:

  1. Family settlement

  2. Employment and professional development

  3. Vulnerable groups: youth, women, the elderly and LGBTQ+ refugees  

A portion of each book sale using the coupon code “projectbe” will be donated to ProjectBE’s fundraising efforts!

By using the coupon code “projectbe” at checkout, Little Voice will donate $5 from each book sale to ProjectBE’s crowdfunding campaign. In addition, for those readers located in the National Capital Region, free pick-up is available upon request – please contact Little Voice for more information.

You can also donate directly to the Campaign through Little Voice’s Campaign page!

By working with our new friends and neighbours, we have an opportunity to strengthen our diversity and build health and inclusive communities for generations to come!

Donate today and BE the difference in your community!

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Supporting the Little Voice Vision

As the excitement settles and the book signings end, the official launch of The Lighthouse is behind us, and our favourite part of the publishing process is about to begin.

A lot of people often ask us: What is your favourite part of the publishing process? While we love to hold our book in hand for the very first time, the best part of publishing a new book is often hearing from others who get to read it.

The reaction, feedback, and support from our readers is priceless!

This past week, we got to hear from those that pre-ordered our book, and even those that read The Lighthouse in store at our book signings. We met people from all across Ottawa who travelled to meet us because they believed in the message we are trying to share.

It was an incredible feeling knowing that others could relate to the situations found in our book.

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COMING SOON: The Lighthouse

This past January, Little Voice was very excited to announce their latest children’s book that would focus on mental health. The decision was a no brainer and instantly became a powerful journey for both author Amanda Bernardo and illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor.

For many years, Amanda has been an advocate for mental health. She has fought to create awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and has, more recently, opened up about her personal struggle with anxiety.

I have never really opened up about my anxiety. I never wanted to appear weak, I never wanted to feel judged, and I never wanted to have it define who I was or who I could become. Anxiety can be something different for everyone. I never got anxious about work or deadlines, or speaking in front of large crowds; instead, the smallest of details that for many would seem insignificant would replay over and over and over again, until I would feel sick.  I hated how certain thoughts could sometimes keep me up all night or even worse, trigger a panic attack. I hated it because I couldn’t control it and if I couldn’t be in control of my anxiety, then a part of me felt like I wasn’t in control of my life. Over the years, I have learned to deal with my anxiety. I guess in many ways I started trying to drown out the thoughts that would make me sick and instead focus on the little voice that inspired me to live life to the fullest. I am extremely proud to be launching this next book in the Little Voice series not only because of how close to home it hits, but because I know it will serve as an important tool to truly start a conversation around mental health. This is our little way of breaking the stigma, but more importantly, our big way of reminding all those suffering from mental illness that they are not alone.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author

This past June, Samantha shared her story for the very first time publicly in a three part series titled Aftertaste. The short series shared Samantha’s journey with an eating disorder and served as the beginning to her own advocacy work towards mental health.

Having struggled not only with a mental illness, but also the fear of sharing my story with others, I know how difficult it can be to share parts of you that for many years you even hid from yourself. As I shared in my short series Aftertaste, I was scared to seek help, I was scared to open up, and I was scared of what others may say when I finally had the courage to say “I have an eating disorder.” I had to first find it in myself to be okay before I could begin to be okay with others. Sometimes those first steps can be the hardest and the scariest but what I learned in sharing my story is that we are not alone. We are each fighting our own battles every single day, but if we do not open up and share out stories with others, we will only continue to let the stigma define us. I am so excited for this next book in the Little Voice series and hope that my art, accompanied by Amanda’s poetry, will serve as an important tool that I only wish I had growing up. This will no doubt be one of the most powerful projects I have ever had the privilege of working on and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
– Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor, Illustrator

Today, Little Voice is extremely excited to share with you the cover of our newest book: The Lighthouse.

We are also very excited to announce that a portion of every book sale will be donated in support of the National Canadian Mental Health Association. We hope that our newest children’s book will not only start an important conversation around mental health but that it will also support the programs and services that help to build resilience and support recovery from mental illness in communities across Canada.

Over the next few months we will be working to finalize The Lighthouse and will be sharing updates on how you can pre-order your very own copy. Please continue to follow our journey until then!

As always, thank you for your support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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International Day of the Girl

Today marks the 2016 International Day of the Girl!

CANADA KNOWS
#GIRLSBELONGHERE

Girls and women belong in the seats of classrooms, boardrooms, courtrooms, and press rooms. They belong on the playing field, in the director’s chair, everywhere decisions are made, and anywhere else they choose.

With today’s inspiring day coming to an end, Little Voice wanted to share a short story with you to remind every little girl that anything is possible!

When I first set out to publish Little Voice, I was rejected by publishers and ignored by literary agents. I almost gave up on a goal I always hoped to accomplish because I was made to believe that I did not have what it takes to publish my story. While I had dared to dream big, I quickly saw that society sometimes automatically makes women and young girls shrink their ideas in fear of failure. I decided to push fear aside and chase after my dream regardless of the odds placed before me. Two years later, I have not only surpassed my expectations for Little Voice but I have created a movement that inspires others and supports my community. What a lot people don’t know is that I am not only an author but also a public servant. While I continue to pursue Little Voice on evenings and weekends, and everywhere in between, I am also pursuing a career in government. I believe that young girls and women have the right to decide for themselves where they belong – in government or anywhere else. I have worked extremely hard to become a leader not only in my community, not only in the charities I support, but also within the Government of Canada. I hope to serve as an example to many young girls all across our country, from coast to coast to coast, that women can be exceptional leaders. I am thankful to know many women who have mentored me and supported my growth in and outside of government. Together, we can lift each other up and show the world that #GirlsBelongHere! There may not be enough examples of women in leadership, women in politics, women CEOs, etc… but that should never stop you from filling that void. Be a trailblazer and show the rest of the world why women can and will make a difference!- Amanda Bernardo

“Each generation of women has a responsibility to the next one. What we do pass on has an impact on generations of women to come. Let’s make sure we pass on rights of equality, strength and quality. The current generation of young women seem to able to do just that and much more!”

Learn how you can get involved with #BecauseIamAGirl by visiting Plan International Canada today!

When you rally behind a girl the whole world wins!

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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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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?
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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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#littlevoiceturnsone

If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you know that on December 2, 2015 …

LITTLE VOICE TURNS ONE!

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An Evening with the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa & Renfrew County

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.

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“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

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