What this elephant does is so inspiring. If they can pick up litter and put it in the right place, why can’t we?
What this elephant does is so inspiring. If they can pick up litter and put it in the right place, why can’t we?
Munchkin is an adorable Shih Tzu puppy who dresses like a teddy bear. Cute, right? Well, watch him walk on a treadmill! I’ll be watching this video every time I need a pick-me-up!
Millions around the world go hungry every day, even in our own backyard. This Halloween, I held a food drive with the great help of my karate dojo, Energy Karate for non-perishable food items on behalf of Free The Children’s We Scare Hunger campaign. We helped raised over 3 tonnes of food ready to be donated at the York Region food bank to help stop hunger in its tracks.
Thank you to everyone who donated food, and to Energy Karate for all their generous time and support!
The TV program Context With Lorna asked the question, “Are we at the cusp of a new world? Some say yes.”
I definitely say yes!
On their latest episode, they meet and learn more about the leaders of this new world, including myself, digital age guru Don Tapscott, CEO of Decode Robert Barnard, and hear from Gen Z’ers themselves!
Last year, I had the chance to interview Midge Ure, the co-producer and co-writer of the hit song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid, recorded to raise money for famine relief in Africa.
When I asked Midge what they were doing for the 30th anniversary of the song, he said that he couldn’t tell me as of yet, but it was going to be something big. I had a feeling they would be doing something. The song was re-recorded in 1989 by Band Aid II:
…and in 2004 by Band Aid 20, again raising funds for famine relief.
Today, now we know the big news!
Yesterday, Band Aid III was announced with another version of the song with the biggest stars now like One Direction, Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Bono, Sam Smith, Bastille and more! This year, the song is putting a focus on the Ebola Crisis in Africa and raising funds for that important cause.
The new song has been released, but not on streaming sites so go but it!
I’m often asked, what is it about our generation that are changing the world? I have met so many amazing young changemakers along my journey through my blog and public speaking. I have learned so much from these youth because they have built schools, donated non-perishable items for food banks, gone silent to be someone else’s voice, have raised pennies for clean water and so much more! I love meeting them because I get to learn about their fundraising stories and I also get tips for campaigns in my community, too.
There are definitely though some really amazing kids that have made some really cool inventions. They are remarkable youth who have made inventions that have changed the world and made people’s lives better.
You may not heard of Ann Makosinski because a lot of people refer to her as “the flashlight girl.” She made the first flashlight that is body-heat powered. This means that the flashlight is turned on by the human body’s heat. So great! This useful invention came to be because Ann was emailing with her friend from the Philippines. The friend said that she was failing her grade because there was no light to study with, and it was very hard for her to focus. Ann realized that others might be in the same situation as a lot of people don’t have electricity. She came up with the idea of making a flashlight powered by the human hand after doing her own research on things we don’t usually think about – how many watts the human body can produce, how many watts the flashlight took, and then she had to find the specific amount of watts. But she did it after many hard hours of working at it.
Ann has been very successful with her invention, she won the Google Science Fair, the Weston Youth Innovation awards, did a Ted Talk , and also spoke at Harvard University.
A big issue in the summer for younger children and dogs is sometimes forgetful parents or owners leaving them in the hot car – they can be injured or they can even die. In 2013, 44 children in just the US died because they were left in the hot car. But this summer, a 12-year-old boy named Andrew Pelham created a solution.
Andrew decided to take action and do something about it. He created the E-Z Baby Saver (or Dog Saver) to let forgetful parents know that their child or pet is in the car and needs to be let out. The great thing about this is that it’s homemade, all you need is rubber bands and duct tape! So easy as these are all items that can be found in any household. Because of this amazing invention, Andrew won national runner-up in the Rubber Band contest for Young Inventors! This got the attention of Japan, Australia and more countries wanting to learn more about E-Z Baby Saver.
Andrew says that “Winning the Rubber Band Contest showed me that even a kid can have good ideas.”
12-year-old Alex Deans was walking around his neighbourhood and saw that a blind woman needed help crossing the street. After he helped her, he realized that there was no device that could give visually impaired people the confidence and independence to walk around their own area. Alex was then determined to make an invention to help guide the blind and making them more comfortable with their environment.
He then taught himself how to program, he created the iAid, a hand held navigation for the visually-impaired. Using GPS and a compass, it can detect any obstacles and lead blind people in the right direction. Alex contacted a home for the blind and asked them if some people could test it out. 31 people tried the iAid, who loved the fact it helped them navigate when they were in potential danger. It changed their lives because it gave the people who are using iAid control and confidence.
Because of Alex’s hard work, he won many awards such as the Grand Platinum Award for Intermediate Students across Canada, the Innovation Challenge, was featured in Maclean’s Magazine as one of “Canada’s Future Leaders Under 25″ and he is also a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee. He says, “Together, youth can make a difference. With new, innovative ideas we have the potential to truly change the world we live in.”
These are all REALLY amazing inventors and changemakers. But there are so many more young inventors that we need to celebrate! Join me in Kid Inventors’ Day (KID), to not only acknowledge so many awesome youth, but to also encourage the creativity of other kids to become future inventors. It happens on January 17th, the birth anniversary of Benjamin Franklin, who invented the first swim flippers almost 300 years ago at age 12.
These three kids are making a huge difference and I cannot wait to see what our generation will do next!
My dad just showed this to me. Who says animals can’t play music? A pretty talented dog howls in perfect pitch with his owner’s saxophone in the key of B-flat.
Musician Paul Barton took his piano to the mountains of Kanchanaburi, Thailand to play for some very old, injured and handicapped elephants. Look for Plara, the blind elephant immediately behind the piano.
One of my favourite moments at We Day was that Shawn Mendes was there to perform! I am a fan of his music, for sure. But it’s more than that – he has a great story about how he was discovered and the success that came after that. But even beyond that, I love what he stands for. When you see it this way – he’s like a triple threat! Read on to learn more about the awesome Shawn Mendes.
Shawn is from Pickering, Ontario and he is the singer behind the amazing hit song “Life Of The Party”. Within 10 days of the single being released on iTunes, 200 000 copies were sold! Island Records, the label that signed him, released the song at 11:15 pm and by midnight, it became #1 on iTunes. Wow. He also has 3.3 million followers on Vine and 2 million followers on Twitter, and climbing every day.
I met Shawn at We Day and he was so awesome. I was so inspired by him that I created a Vine account and my first post was a video I shot of him at We Day while I watched his performance from side-stage.
Shawn started off with his own Vine channel, being one of the first people to sing covers on the social media network. People had been doing this for a long time on YouTube, but no one was doing it on Vine. He sang hits like As Long As You Love Me by Justin Bieber, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor and more. Soon after he released his covers, he started to get tens of thousands followers on Vine and Twitter and he had gained lots of interest from the music industry, media, and music fans. He got discovered on Vine and got signed to Island Records and made Life Of The Party.
So, Shawn Mendes is VERY big deal. I found some interesting facts about him that I wanted to share:
1. Shawn learned to play guitar from YouTube instead of taking guitar lessons. He would come home from school and from 5:00 to 8:00, he would sit on his computer watching YouTube videos.
2. He is the youngest artist to debut in the Top 25 with a debut song in the Billboard Hot 100. Shawn is the youngest artist to debut in the top 25 since Justin Bieber’s second Hot 100 hit, “One Less Lonely Girl.” At the time, he was 15 years, seven months and three weeks young when Life Of The Party was realeased, he was 15 years old and 9 months old, which is younger than when Justin Bieber’s song One Less Lonely Girl.
3. In April he won Ryan Seacrests’s Best Cover Song contest for his cover of Say Something by Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.
4. Shawn had recorded a cover song of 3 songs by Ed Sheeran and because Ed had loved Shawn’s talent so much, he flew Shawn to LA for dinner.
5. Shawn has a campaign for Do Something called Notes From Shawn. The campaign’s goal is to boost strangers self esteem by posting positive notes anywhere.
Let’s look a bit deeper into Notes From Shawn. It’s all about random acts of kindness. Shawn wanted to make people feel happy and wanted to inspire his huge and very engaged community to join him. He created Notes From Shawn and what it’s really all about is leaving positive messages for people to make them smile. Go sign up at https://www.dosomething.org/campaigns/notes-shawn to get involved. Everybody could use a compliment, and we could use motivation and a smile. You don’t have to leave notes only for family members and friends, strangers could use a boost of self esteem, too. He wants you can leave notes where they will be seen and take people by surprise – on car windshields, school lockers or even the handles of a shopping cart at the grocery store. Awesome, right? I’m already signed up to participate in #NotesFromShawn and I have a few ideas about what I’m going to write and where I’m going to post them.
Shawn Mendes had an amazing performance at We Day! I just signed up for Vine myself and appropriately, my first Vine video is the video I took of Shawn at sidestage.
The goal of the initiative of #MyYearOfAction is not only for you to find your passion, but to learn about those little things that we can all do to add up to make a huge difference. One of the ways that we can take action is through using technology for social good. You can start a blog or use social media to get loud about things you care about or invent a new product that will help people do things better, safer or faster. But you can also do something as simple as getting an app on your mobile device.
I did some research and I have downloaded some eco-friendly and world-changing apps to share with you. These make it easy to change the world.
Joulebug is such a great app and is definitely one of my favourites. Joulebug has all different kinds of goals, that challenge you to be eco-friendly in many different ways. In the app you buzz in when you complete a goal and you get a pin. When you have 5 pins, you earn a badge. Also, on each challenge you finish there is a video about that act you just did and how big your impact was. Sometimes it’s about saving money and sometimes it’s about saving the earth. It also gives you information like the yearly impact and suggests websites so that you can learn more about the issue. You also have points that you get with all your actions you do, and you can see how many you have in your profile. When you sign up you create a personal profile where you can also see your badges, points and pins and the impact you are making. Another awesome thing about Joulebug is that you can see how other people are making a difference. You can see how many badges and pins other users are getting and you can like and comment what they have been doing. Isn’t this app so cool?
The challenges can be either so simple or something kind of difficult to complete. Each challenge is still great, because like I say, little things add up to make a huge difference. Here are a few challenges that I have completed on Joulebug:
1. Bin To Win – this one is all about recycling. When you put something in the recycle bin, buzz the challenge and you get a pin! Something cool that I found out about recycling and trash is that every year, each family throws out about 207 pounds of garbage.
2. Bottle Rocket – this one focuses on using a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles because it helps the environment and reduces the garbage from the landfill. Whenever you fill your reusable water bottle, buzz it on Joulebug! The average american drinks 21 gallons of plastic bottled water a year.
3. Shower Sprinter tries to get you to conserve water by taking less time in the shower. Did you know that every minute you shower costs $8 a year. Time yourself in the shower, when you shower for less than 5 minutes, buzz the app.
4. Washing Smart – Buzz the challenge every time you wash 1 full load instead of two small ones.
Joulebug does have a website that lists all the pins and challenges, but you just cannot buzz and complete challenges on anything except a mobile device. What is really cool about the app’s website is that there is a blog that includes updates, eco-friendly tips and people and places that have really stood out for the environment.
2. Ocean Wise
On the We Create Change Tour in Vancouver, my mom and I went to the Vancouver Aquarium and learned about an initiative called Ocean Wise. Ocean Wise raises awareness about sustainable seafood and has made partnerships with resturants, grocery stores and catering services to make ocean-friendly decisions. The Ocean Wise app makes it easy for you to find resturants and stores that offer sustainable seafood. With your location entered, Ocean Wise can find lots of resturants near you that is ocean-friendly. You can also browse different sea food resturants which has a link to the resturants and stores website. Ocean Wise is great because they are helping animal welfare and making fish catching more sustainable.There is also an Ocean Wise website with blogs for contests, events, recommended resturants and stores and tons of sustainable lifestyle tips and also eco-friendly tips.
Whenever you want to eat seafood that is sustainable for you and the environment, look for the Ocean Wise sticker in grocery stores stores and resturants. Here is the sticker:
There are many things that we need to dispose of that should not go in the garbage, recycling blue bin or green bin. Batteries, cell phones, ink and toner from printers or styrofoam, are all examples of things that can be recycled or need to be disposed of in a safe way. These things should be taken it to a recycling center so it can be put in the right place and be taken care of properly. Sometimes, it can be hard to find a recycling center that takes what you need to throw out near you, but iRecycle does that for you. When you enter your location, you can choose what you are getting rid of and there will be a list of places specially for that near you. iRecycle also has a blog on the app about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle that you can read straight from your device. Cool, huh?
4. Good Guide
When we buy food or cleaning supplies, you want to make sure that they are not hazourdous to the environment or your health. With an app called Good Guide, you can find a product within seconds. There are different catergories where you can see eco and health-friendly products. You can search it up and Good Guide rates it by health, environment and society and a overall score of it. You can also scan the bar code with your device and it pulls up all the info about it. The Good Guide website also shows all the non-hazourdous and eco-friendly products, it also shows the popular products! This is a great way to insure that the products you are buying are good for you and the planet!
We365 app the creation of Free The Children and Telus and helps inspire and motivate people to make a difference. It is kind of like Joulebug, but it focuses on all issues. Environment, Human Rights, Bullying, Health, Happiness, Education, Global Poverty, Animals, It All Adds Up and Community. There are challenges that are all about the issues that people care about. What is really cool about it, is that YOU can make challenges and find more about other changemakers and their opinons on issues. You can also accept challenges and share your feelings and pictures about the challenge. You can even connect your challenges to a cause that you care about and you can even join causes that you are passionate about. People also create groups for organizations and issues that you can join. You can like or comment things too. When you make challenges, complete challenges, like, comment or make posts, you can get pins, which really show off how you are a changemaker. You also have a profile with all of your challenges, posts and pins!
If you are under 13, you would have a private account on the app. You can still complete challenges, like and comment things and post on your profile, just it would not be public. When people see your profile, they wouldn’t see your posts. When people try to follow you, it would just be a follow request. If you accept it, then they can see everything that you have posted. Then, We365 is a safe community.
We365 is awesome because you can be changing the world 365 days a year! You can also find other changemakers in your community and get involved and interact with them.
So, what are you waiting for? Go download these 5 free apps that can help you change the world in a tangiblle and meaningful way. Once you have tried out an app(s), comment below to let me know what you thought of them! I would love to hear it! If you have apps that you want to recommend to me, I’d love to hear that too!