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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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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Introducing the Little Voice Series

For the past two years, readers have asked the Little Voice team when the next Little Voice book could be expected.

To be honest, for a long time, I did not know. I knew what the Little Voice series would look like but hadn’t put pen to pad in a long time. I guess you could say I had a major case of writer’s block. When I first set out to create Little Voice, I knew I wanted to create a publishing company that would utilize literature as a means of creating awareness while giving back to my community. The next Little Voice book had to fill this criteria in order for the writing to truly flow. I always refer to the first Little Voice book as the general mantra of what Little Voice is all about. The series that would follow would be more specific, tackling important issues that face the next generation.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author

And so, today on January 25, 2017, to coincide with #BellLetsTalk, the Little Voice team is finally ready to announce their next book. Together, with the talents of Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor and the writing by Amanda Bernardo, the Little Voice team will be launching Book #2 as the official start to the Little Voice Series.

The next Little Voice book will focus on mental health and will serve as a tool to educate children and as a means to help end the stigma.

Mental illness is something Little Voice has advocated for in creating awareness for Alzheimer’s disease, in Samantha’s own story with an eating disorder, and Amanda’s struggles with anxiety. The reality is, we are all impacted by our mental health. For some, it takes major moments in life to recognize that help is needed, while others continue to suffer in silence in fear of being judged. This needs to end.

By creating this new book on mental health, Little Voice hopes to continue to support conversations like #BellLetsTalk while inspiring children everywhere to break the silence and seek support if needed. By sharing our stories, we realize that we are not alone and that our mental health is something that is always worth prioritizing.

We look forward to keeping you updated on our future plans for Book #2 and hope to share an official title with you soon. Stay tuned and until then, please take part in today’s #BellLetsTalk.

Every time you talk, text and join in on social media on January 25, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.

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Happy 2nd Birthday Little Voice!

There is something about birthdays that forces us to look back on the year that has passed. It’s an opportunity for us to cherish the memories we gained, the friendships we created, and the work we have accomplished. For Little Voice, turning two is an opportunity to do just that.

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It’s amazing to see how far Little Voice has come. This past year, Little Voice proved to our community that we are not only a children’s book but a movement that is determined to make a difference. Our official launch of our movement was an extraordinary moment for us; it was a chance to share with the world not only our story but the vision that makes Little Voice the social enterprise that it is. We made it clear that with our profits we wanted to do good in the world, whether that be through supporting a charitable cause, a community initiative or a child’s education. We wanted to inspire the next generation to be advocates for causes they believe in and to enable them to fundraise and give back wherever possible. We wanted to empower the little voice inside each and every one of you that will enable you to chase your dreams and make a difference in this world.

These past two years have been nothing short of amazing. We’ve been extremely blessed to have your support day in and day out in all that we do. We’ve made friends, we’ve made readers, and, more importantly, we made believers out of all of you. We made you believe in yourself once more, in your passions, in your talents, and in the dreams that perhaps you slowly forgot.

new-version-of-lvI’ll never forget the feeling I had after seeing Little Voice come to life for the first time. After hiding my writing for so long, and from so many, I was finally ready to share my writing with the world. While it was the most amazing feeling to see my dream come to life, it was also one of the most scariest moments of my life. For a lot of people, it can sometimes be quite frightening to share their true passion, what inspires them, or who they truly are. This was certainly true for me. I was scared of what people may think of my work, and was almost hesitant at first to take on this adventure. But Little Voice made me a believer in myself, it taught me to never give up and to chase my dream of becoming an author. In the same way that Little Voice awakened my dreams, I hope these past two years it has been able to awaken something inside you too.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author

Today, as we celebrate Little Voice’s second birthday, we also want to celebrate the little voice inside each and every one of you. Because of that voice, so many of you are doing so much good in this world and that is what we at Little Voice hope to continue to inspire you to do  each and every year.

Happy Birthday Little Voice!

Please join us on Saturday, December 3rd at the Gloucester Chapters location in Ottawa as we celebrate Little Voice’s birthday!

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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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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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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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Proud to be Me, Proud to Dream BIG

Sometimes, it can be difficult to remind not only others, but also ourselves, to be proud of who we are. We often times become so busy with life, or so consumed by other things grabbing for our attention, that we forget to remind ourselves to be proud of our accomplishments, proud of our differences and proud of the people we’ve become.

I certainly know this to be true; it took me awhile to recognize how far I’ve come in life and how proud I should be of all that I’ve accomplished. In many ways, Little Voice taught me, as much as I hoped it would teach others, to be proud of who I am. It also led me to work with an amazing organization that I am now extremely excited to have on board for the Dream Big Dream, Girl Inspirational Luncheon:

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2015: Making the Little Moments Count

2015 was definitely a game changer

Little Voice was first thought up in 2013, published in late 2014 and a movement by 2015. 2015 was the year we officially launched our story, our movement and our fundraising efforts. It’s the year where everything slowly began to take shape.

It all started with a major push right here in our community. Though I’ve always had a entrepreneurial bug within me, this was my first time setting out and branding an entire movement, managing an entire production, and ultimately publishing a story. I didn’t always know what direction I would take; I didn’t always get the answers I wanted; but I never ever gave up. I trusted my own little voice to guide me and sure enough, every little step I took proved to be one step closer in the right direction.

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Walk for Memories 2016

Little Voice is extremely excited to announce that we will be walking our second walk in support of the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County this upcoming May! 

Not only will Amanda and Samantha be registering a team for this amazing event; they are also very excited to be on this year’s planning committee!

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Little Voice is hoping to raise $1,000+ in honour of Teresina Bernardo! If you would like to donate to our walk, or if you’d like to join our team, please follow the link below! 

Thank you in advance for your generosity and support!

Click here to join our team or donate to our walk!

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Introducing Peggy Taillon to the Dream Big Dream, Girl Inspirational Luncheon

On June 5th, 2016, Little Voice’s author Amanda Bernardo is hosting a special inspirational luncheon!

The Dream Big, Dream Girl inspirational luncheon will invite women and young girls in our community to network together, support an amazing cause and witness an inspirational screening of the film Dream, Girl. It will also include an amazing opening speaker we are so thrilled to have on board!

Today, Little Voice would like to introduce you to the Dream Big Dream, Girl opening guest speaker: Peggy Taillon.

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Peggy is the President of the Bruyère Foundation. She embraces this opportunity with a passion for its important mission and a deep respect for its rich past and many accomplishments. Integrity, diversity and inclusiveness are hallmarks of her leadership. A passionate advocate for equality and social justice, Peggy has led one of Canada’s longest established organizations the Canadian Council on Social Development, influencing public policy and the changing landscape for the third sector in Canada over the last several years. Prior to the CCSD, Peggy served as senior vice-president at The Ottawa Hospital, and previously led Ontario’s Mental Health Implementation Task Force, a sweep- ing reform process. Peggy served as an Advisor to the Minis- ter of Health and Long-Term Care and to the Premier on the implementation of Ontario’s Regional Health Authorities, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), along with a number of other major health reform processes. Today she sits on the Council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and is co-chair to the Canadian Council on the Social Determinants of Health under the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Peggy has a long established track record in fund development and philanthropy, raising funds for a number of health partners in the region and across Canada. A dynamic and compelling public speaker, Peggy is often called upon to present on the health and wellbeing of Canada’s most vulnerable, and issues of gender, race, human rights, social development and inequality. A recent example is the unique invitation to present a TedTalks in July 2015. A proud Canadian, Peggy believes we can create a strong, resilient and caring nation that values the well-being and contributions of all of its citizens.

Peggy founded the HERA Mission of Canada in 2008, a foundation that supports women leading development projects empowering widows, children and grandmothers in Western Kenya. Through this work, Peggy honors the community where her son Devlin was born. She is the recipient of CTV’s Amazing People Award 2012 for changing adoption laws in Kenya that enabled her to bring her son home to Canada and her Hera Mission work. CTV’s W5 profiled her journey in Kenya in The Love of a Child which aired on March 8, 2014 – International Women’s Day. Over 1.2 million viewers across Canada and beyond tuned in or watched online, with many more since then. Most recently, Peggy received Ontario’s 2015 Leading Women, Building Communities Award.

Originally from the small northern Ontario town of South Porcu- pine, Peggy was educated in Toronto and Ottawa and holds degrees in Social Work and Law, as well as advanced diplomas in mediation and negotiation.

We are very lucky to have Peggy as our opening speaker and look forward to hearing her at our event!

Get your tickets today by registering here!

Interested in sponsoring the Dream Big Dream, Girl Inspirational Luncheon? Download our sponsorship letter here.

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