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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

samantha clusiau-lawlor

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.

(more…)

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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.

(more…)

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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.

(more…)

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Daytime Ottawa

Join Little Voice tomorrow morning on Daytime Ottawa with host Derick Fage and guest host Jasmin Rose!

rogers tv

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for contest info on how YOU could win a free signed copy of our book!

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2015 Walk for Memories

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!

"Cause I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more!"
“Cause I would walk 500 miles and                     I would walk 500 more!”

With your help, the Little Voice Forget Me Not Team was able to raise $564 dollars in support of the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County!

Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County

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.

Teresina Bernardo, grandmother to Author Amanda Bernardo.
Teresina Bernardo, grandmother to Author Amanda Bernardo.

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

Author Amanda & Illustrator Samantha Walking the 2015 Walk for Memories!
Author Amanda & Illustrator Samantha Walking the 2015 Walk for Memories!

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
next year!

  – 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

$253, 000 DOLLARS!

A BIG thank you again to all those who donated!

Little Voice and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson
Little Voice and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

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Meet the Artist

The Art Behind the Voice

The ability to draw, illustrate and create is a wonderful talent. This process as a whole allows us to understand not only the work, but also the artist. Today, we learn what inspired Little Voice’s illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor to join this project and how she was able to transform the inspirational text into a visual masterpiece!

(more…)

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