Grandmother Riding Roller Coaster For First Time Is So Great!

Grandmother Riding Roller Coaster For First Time Is So Great!

Grandmother Ria Van den Brand is nearly 80 years old, and has never ridden on a roller coaster before. Without any fear, she took her first ride, and here’s the video. It’s so great! There’s no way you can watch her reaction and not love the fact she didn’t have any fears, and still has a love for life. We could all learn from Ria – take that chance, do what you love to do, and never, ever be afraid.

The Next Supergroup Does The Earth Day “Stop, Start And Continue” Pledge With…A Song!

The Next Supergroup Does The Earth Day “Stop, Start And Continue” Pledge With…A Song!

On Tuesday, April 22nd, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Earth Day. I like to say it’s like a New Year’s for the environment – a chance to make some real resolutions, but this time, it’s for our planet. To help you out and get you empowered, I have created an Earth Day pledge called “Stop, Start and Continue.” This is for you to list the things you can do to stop actions from destroying the environment, to start actions that will motivate others to join you and to continue the actions that you are already doing that will make a big difference. You can find the pledge here.

I was thrilled to be asked by YTV to make a “Stop, Start and Continue” challenge for the national talent competition The Next Star: SuperGroup earlier this month. The bands could do a skit, sing, dance and use their talents they have to create their own PSA for Earth Day.

Here’s what they came up with:

Rebel Coast

Electric Ave.

So, which group did you think did it better? Let me know by making a comment below! Watch the big finale of YTV’s The Next Star: SuperGroup.of The Next Star: SuperGroup on Sunday, April 13th to see which boy band is vying to become Canada’s own version of One Direction! You can help choose the winner, and vote for your favourite group until Sunday April 13th at 7 pm ET on YTV, when the live finale event starts. You can vote an unlimited number of times and The Next Star: Supergroup website can be found here to get caught up for the finale!

Stop, Start, and Continue Pledge For Earth Day 2014

Stop, Start, and Continue Pledge For Earth Day 2014

Earth Day is coming up soon and I think that it is a really cool and fun way to get people involved in being eco-friendly. What is Earth Day all about? To me, it is an environmental New Year where you can make resolutions for the planet. The event motivates us to create positive resolutions for the world so that we can all together take care of it. It is a time to power up our commitments to be an active, global and environmental citizen.

The first Earth Day was in 1970. There is so much awareness and impacts now because of it, there is fun activities and there are new people ever year who get more interested in the issues. Guess how many people participated in Earth Day last year? One billion people got involved in more than 120 countries all over the world! All these people honored our environment and took action, having a drive to make change.

To help you out and get you empowered, I have a special and exciting challenge for you. I have created an Earth Day pledge called “Stop, Start and Continue” This is to stop things from destroying the environment, to start things that will motivate others to join you and to continue the things that you are already doing that will make a big difference.

There is space on the pledge in the tree to write what you want to do to help the environment. To guide you, here are only some ideas that you can put on your pledge:

Stop:

  1. Neglecting the environment. Just being aware makes such a big difference.
  2. Using plastic water bottles, the plastic goes into the landfill and they just add up.
  3. Thinking that caring about ANY cause or issue is not cool, it is!
  4. Not conserving water, the average family uses about 300 gallons of water a day, woah!
  5. Littering and throwing garbage on the ground.

Start:

  1. Using reusable bags and containers wherever you go, they don’t waste plastic and they don’t break as easily as plastic bags.
  2. A shoreline cleanup in your neighborhood to pick up litter. I organized one with my friends and we collected 10 full bags of garbage. You can do that too!
  3. Using GOOS paper, (Good On One Side) if there are paper that is still good on one side, don’t waste it. Give it to someone else or use it for doodling or just writing.
  4. Thinking about the environment as your passion, then pursue it and get involved in your community.
  5. Make eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Not only are they sustainable, but they are also not hazardous.

Continue:

  1. Using reusable water bottles.
  2. Unplugging electronics when not using them. Your computer may be in ‘sleep’ mode, but it is still on. Shut it off completely.
  3. Buying eco-friendly back to school supplies.
  4. Donating unwanted blankets to the Humane Society as animals would love to play with them.
  5. Walk, bike, carpool, skateboard or take the bus instead of driving. It saves a lot of pollution.

The top two pledges below are for individuals if you want to make resolutions by yourself, the other two are for families if you want to set goals with your family.

Click the pledges to print:

 

EarthDayCertificates.1-page-001 EarthDayCertificates.2-page-001

 

EarthDayCertificates.4-page-001 EarthDayCertificates.3-page-001

Make the sheet fun by colouring it and making it eye catching and awesome. The “Stop, Start and Continue” pledge is not just for Earth Day, it can be for anytime you want. Because if we come together help each other, Earth Day can be everyday so that we can make our world a healthy and beautiful one!

If you have any ideas for YOUR “Stop, Start and Continue” pledge, comment below, let me know what it is and I would love to hear about how you will get together with other people and make the world a better place for every person.

Seth Rogen Uses His Voice For A Great Cause

Seth Rogen Uses His Voice For A Great Cause

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I’m always excited to learn about the guest speakers at We Day and We Day California has a lot of new faces that will be on We Day stage. One of them is Seth Rogen, a Canadian actor, writer and comedian. I was curious about what Seth would be taking about and I think I found the answer.

Last month Seth gave a speech at a Senate hearing on Alzheimer’s Research. He talked about how he and his family has been personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease and the need for more research and funding to work towards a cure. Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects your memory and thinking, and as it progresses people have a harder time even recoginzing their closest families. Both my parents have a grandparent who suffered from Alzheimer’s. It mostly affects the elderly.

Seth started a charity called Hilarity For Charity in February 2014. What he is doing is a perfect example of something I talk a lot about. For anybody to be the change, you need to do 3 things:

1. Find your spark – that issue that makes you take action every single day.
2. Use your talent to decide how you are going to take action.
3. Put your spark and your talent together.
4. Find your community and GO!

Seth has found his spark – Alzheimer’s and is using his talent and influence to create awareness and ask the people that make decisions to take their action. He has found his community with We Day California.

I’m glad he’s not only using his voice to share his family’s story, but will also be sharing it in front of 18,000 young people at We Day California.

Watch the video below – it has over 6 million views, and that means that all those people might now know something a little bit more than they did before.

10 Tips for Being Eco-Friendly at the JUNOS

10 Tips for Being Eco-Friendly at the JUNOS

JUNO Week is finally here! So exciting! I love everything about the JUNOS – the JUNO Cup hockey game, meet and greets at JUNO Fan Fare, and the stories and songs shared by artists at JUNO Songwriters’ Circle, all leading up to the big JUNO Awards Broadcast on Sunday night! I want to share some ideas about how to make your time at the JUNOS as eco-friendly as possible. The JUNOS have made big steps to be sustainable everywhere – including in hotels and at official JUNO event venues.

Last year at the JUNOS I interviewed musicians and asked them what they do to help the planet while they are on tour. It was great to hear that they all agreed that there are things that they can do. I love that because I really believe that all of the little things that we do add up to make a big difference. I have included some of their ideas in my list below.

Here are my 10 ways to be sustainable at the JUNOS:

1. Bring a reusable water bottle. They are easy and free to fill up and it reduces waste.
2. When in hotels, reuse towels instead of getting new ones every day. You help to save water and energy by doing this.
3. Walk instead of taking a car or taxi. Also, consider biking or taking a bus. Think about carpooling with a group of people going to the same place. Not only will you help save the planet, but you may make some new friends and contacts, too.
4. Shorten your shower by only a minute or two or turning off the water when you brush your teeth. Imagine the amount of water we could save if everyone that attends JUNO Week does this!
5. Bring a reusable bag instead of plastic bags. This is another great way to reduce garbage.
6. Support locally owned and operated businesses and buy locally produced items for souvenirs and gifts.
7. Your computer may be in “sleep” mode but it’s still sucking up energy. Turn off your computer at the end of your busy JUNO night.
8. Get an extra blanket before you decide to turn up the heat in your hotel room.
9. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s great for the environment and your health.
10. Always recycle paper, plastic, aluminum and glass, whether that’s in your room or while you are on the go. You will be helping to keep these materials out of the Winnipeg landfills.

I hope that you have a great time at the JUNOS! Have fun and congratulations and good luck to everyone who has been nominated!

What The JUNO Awards Do To Work Sustainably

What The JUNO Awards Do To Work Sustainably

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As the eco-blogger for The JUNO Awards, I have made it my business to  find all of the ways that the JUNOS are working to keep the environment top of mind. There are so many things and people involved in making the JUNOS happen and I think it’s really amazing that they are spending so much time and energy (human energy) to make sure that the events are as eco-friendly as possible. Last week my blog was about the launch of the JUNO campaign “What Do You Do?” and this week I’m going to tell you a little bit about what the JUNOS do to be more sustainable.

I saw a lot of this first-hand last year when I travelled to Regina for the JUNO Awards and was shown all of the little things behind the scenes and backstage. Everyone who was working, volunteering or performing was given a reusable water bottle, most of the food backstage was served on real plates (not paper or Styrofoam), so there was very little waste. There are hundreds of people involved in making the JUNOS happen and so these things that seem little, make a big difference when you add them all up.

Then there are the bigger things. Being eco-friendly means that you have to think about everything and all of the ways that you can do it better. For example, some of the banners that are used at all of the events over JUNO weekend are made out of recycled content and can also be recycled when they are finished with them. This is keeping more than 800 square feet of garbage out of the landfills. My mom told me that her first apartment was 800 square feet – so that’s a lot of garbage that we don’t need to worry about.

Here are some of the other things that the JUNO Awards are doing:

  • 588 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be offset from heating/cooling of event venues and travel by organizers, production crews, CARAS members, nominees and JUNO Week event attendees.  This will be equal of taking 120 cars off the road for one year.
  • All JUNO Award events and hotel stays will be powered with 608 MWh of clean, renewable electricity. This will be the equal to powering 2,500 houses for one week.
  • Using organic cotton to produce (the very cool) JUNO t-shirts. This will prevent 230 pounds of synthetic fertilizer from polluting the environment.

If there is one thing that I have learned in my journey as a change-maker, it’s that you need the support and efforts of a community to make things really happen. To make an impact, you need the support of your team and that team needs to include experts. The JUNOS are working with Bullfrog Power for the 7th year in a row and Less Emissions Inc. to power events with clean electricity and to help reduce their carbon footprint.  Strategin Solutions oversees all of the eco-initiatives of the JUNO Awards, and together they work to create events that have positive outcomes for people and the planet.

 

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: We Create Change Tour! Feat. Spencer West, Neverest and ME! 90 Stops.10 Weeks. 1 Epic Tour.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: We Create Change Tour! Feat. Spencer West, Neverest and ME! 90 Stops.10 Weeks. 1 Epic Tour.

I often get asked who inspires me and who are my role models. At the top of my list is always Spencer West . I live by his motto, “No can’t. No won’t. Only how.” Spencer has lived his life redefining possible. In the past few years he has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa; he has walked from Edmonton to Calgary and has inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Spencer is getting ready to set out on his next adventure: the We Create Change Tour. A 10 week cross-Canada bus tour visiting schools and meeting students all over the country to hear about the change that they are creating – locally and globally.  The We Create Change Tour is supporting Free The Childrens’ Year of Education and will honour, celebrate and motivate students, schools and communities who have committed to build a school in one of Free The Children’s developing communities. I am so excited to share that I will be joining Spencer on the We Create Change Tour! I have had an an amazing year speaking at We Day – sharing Malala’s story, my spark and my belief that we are never to young to make a difference. What is different for me about the We Create Change Tour is that we are going to be visiting and spending time at so many schools and meeting so many awesome young change-makers that are taking action. Wait, there’s more. At a few of the We Days, a band named Neverest performed. Neverest is a melodic pop boy band, they write the hit songs ‘Rewind’ and ‘About Us’. They are so kind, funny and overall, awesome guys. They are also coming on the We Create Change Tour!

A few weeks ago we all got together and did voice-overs for this amazing animated video for the tour. I hope that you like it.

In the coming weeks there will be many more exciting announcements about the We Create Change Tour – special guests, planned school and community visits and so much more. Today the official tour website was launched and that’s where the updates will be as well as blogs posts, photos and videos from all of us from the road.We’ll also be really active in social media – it’s gonna get loud. I want to thank RBC and Ford for being such great sponsors to make this tour happen. I hope that you’ll share in our adventure online.

My History with We Create Change 

Last year, I launched We Create Change at my school and another school in my neighbourhood. It was the first time that I spoke on stage in front of a large audience. I told them: $25 dollars in pennies gives clean water for one person for life in a developing country as part of Free The Children’s clean water initiative. Students from across Canada collected 140 million pennies – that is  1.4 million dollars! All of those pennies is equal to the weight of 64 full-grown African Elephants! If the pennies were stacked up on each other it would reach the International Space Station SIX TIMES! The overall  impact is that 56, 000 people got clean water for the rest of their lives. Way to go Canada! When Free The Children was first founded, both Craig and Marc just wanted to build schools. But when they built a school, nobody was going. They realized that there were so many reasons that the kids were not in school and it wasn’t just because there wasn’t a school in their community. Kids were not healthy – they were too sick to go to school. Children were needed by their families to help with chores and work. Girls needed to collect water for their families and community – sometimes this took many hours. Seeing that there were all of these other reasons – barriers they called them – to education, Free The Children created Adopt A Village which looks at the big picutre of what the community needs and works with them to help them get there. There are five pillars in Adopt a Village: Water, Food, Health Care, Income and Education.

We Create Change and The Year of Education

This year, instead of water, Free The Children is focussed on education. Their goal is to build 200 schools in one year. They have a campaign to help kids to fundraise for a school still called We Create Change but with a different concept: $20 dollars in coins buys one brick and 500 bricks builds a school. $10, 000 dollars is the amount of money needed to have that many bricks. That might seem impossible but every school who signs up for We Create Change has up to 3 years to build a school. So don’t worry,  everyone has lots of time. You can get involved with We Create Change by signing up for the camaign to open the doors to education for so many kids!

Facts about education around the world:

  • More than 120 million children around the world are denied the basic right to an education.
  • 57 million primary school-aged children not in school, and 31 million of them are girls.
  • 32 million kids worldwide has repeated a grade.
  • Two-thirds of those illiterate  in the world are women.

What having an education means:

  • Children who are born to educated mothers are less likely to be malnourished.
  • Education empowers women to make healthy decisions about their lives.
  • A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
  • A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.
  • Educated women re-invest 90% of their income for their family. Men re-invest 30-40%.

Imagine a world where all this happens. That is why this year We Create Change is dedicated to education. After a girl or boy has been educated and has enough knowledge to get a job, he or she could have enough earnings to help their family and  village so that the community will become self-reliable. Malala says, “One teacher. One pen. One book, can change the world.” I believe this and that’s why I’m supporting The Year of Education and why I’m proud to be hitting the road on the We Create Change Tour. So, see you on the road Canada! If Spencer, Neverest and I are coming to your school or community, post a comment below or send me a note. I can’t wait to meet you!

WCCT Collage

 

Who Will Be The Next Star Supergroup?

Who Will Be The Next Star Supergroup?

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If you are a kid, you probably watch YTV. If you’re a parent, your kid probably watches YTV. On the channel, there are shows like Spongebob Squarepants, Sam and Cat, Fairly Odd Parents, iCarly, Victorious and more fun shows! In a spin-off of the VERY popular talent competition show The Next Star, you’ll be voting for the next super group on The Next Star: SuperGroup

The show, premiering on Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, young singers try to beat other contestants with singing, and the prize is big – a 2-song recording contract with SONY record label and a management deal with 21 Entertainment, who handles the careers of already-stars like Fefe Dobson, JoJo and Kreesha Turner. Singers like Alyssa Reid was a contestant and is one of the most-heard artists on radio, so the stakes are high!

So, what’s the diference between The Next Star and The Next Star: SuperGroup? Now, you have probably heard or watched American Idol, right? Well, instead of one person performing for the judges, there are groups of five people! The show will follow the paths of the 30 finalists who travel to Toronto and compete in groups of five while they are mentored by an expert panel  featuring Cory Lee from Degrassi: The Next Generation and Instant Star and music producer and songwriter Damon Sharpe from Big Time Rush. They’ll be joined by So You Think You Can Dance Canada’s choreographer Nico Archambault  and vocal coach Sarah Morrison from Canadian Idol and Canada’s Got Talent. You can bet there will be a whole lot of drama between the groups, laughter, tears, great singing and dance moves, too. Some of the contestants on The Next Star: SuperGroup are people who you might remember from The Next Star like Ryan Hawken and Amer Dhahliwal from Season 5, Parker Schmidt and Shania Fillmore from Season 4 and Mimoza Duot and Isabelle Stern from Season 3. These six could have an advantage because they know what it feels like to be on TV and to be in front of people. But will they have taken the advice from the past judges to make it through?

The host will be the talented Jordan Francis, who you might remember from Camp Rock, and he’ll be perfect with his laid-back style and stage experience.

I got the opportunity to talk to Cory Lee about The Next Star and how she feels being a mentor, and she was as nice and friendly as I thought she’d be!

A lot of performers have gotten their first start on the show. How did you get your first start?

I started singing and acting really young. I was like eight-years-old, and my mom enrolled me in like a musical theatre summer camp. After the camp was finished, the vocal coach pulled my mom aside and said, I see a lot of potential in your daughter, and I want to give her some vocal lessons if that’s okay with you. I started taking vocal lessons from that moment on for about seven years from this lady who actually is a huge inspiration to me. And she really helped push me to audition for a lot of musicals, and that’s how I started doing musical theatre. It wasn’t until I was in a musical – I was about 12 – and an acting agent came backstage and asked if I was interested in professional acting  for TV and film. And that was the moment where I started acting. Most people think that I started acting before I started singing, but I actually starting singing before I started acting.

It happened really naturally. It sounds like that you have like a lot of inspirational role models and that your parents were also very supportive and really got you started with music, too.

They definitely did. I feel like that’s totally key. It becomes so much harder if your parents aren’t supportive of what you do. Like my mom, I remember, drove me to auditions all the time when I was like 12, 13. Like, if she didn’t do that I don’t know if I could have done all those auditions.

Definitely. Do you still keep in touch with your mentor who got you into singing lessons?

Yeah. Totally. She actually became really close with not only me but my mom and my dad. And so yeah. Her name is Pat Waldron. She’s a vocal coach in Vancouver. And yeah, definitely we talk usually once a year. I love her! She’s an awesome lady.

She sounds really cool. What kind of mentor would you be?

I’ve kind of seen the industry from many sides, and I definitely feel for a mentor to be the most beneficial, you have to be really supportive. You got to push people a little bit out of their comfort zone. But at the same time you got to give them all the facts. I didn’t want ever to do be kind of sheltered. I don’t want people to always tell me yes because it was all those no’s that made me strive even harder. So you have to be the right balance of supportive and like realistic to push them to their best place, that they can like shine brighter than they did before.

For those kids who haven’t seen the show before, but watch American Idol, if you could compare yourself to any judge there, who would be the closest to your style?

I would go with Jennifer Lopez. She’s very encouraging to the kids, but at the same time if she doesn’t like something she’ll definitely tell them and give them constructive criticism in hopes that they can get better for like the next week.

That’s how they can become more motivated, and like you said, strive harder. What would you say to the kids who love music and are just starting out? What should they be doing?

I always say it, but knowledge is power. They should learn as much as they can about whatever it is that they want to do, whether it’s singing or dancing or acting, and then take a lot of classes. Most people don’t realize how hard it is in the industry and how hard you have to work. And if you have the tools and the talent and the hard work to back you up eventually opportunity will meet preparedness.

That’s really good advice. You can do whatever you love, find out how to do it better and learn all you can, and you can build it into your career! What’s the one thing you wished you knew when you started performing in music or acting that you know now?

I wish when I was younger someone told me that I was going to really, really, really have to work hard because I had to almost learn how hard I had to work. I tell people you have to work so much harder than you’re working right now because it takes so much more than you realize.

When I started just with We Day, I didn’t really know how hard it was going to be because I thought that I would just have to write and memorize my speeches, and then that would be it. But there’s so much more to learn about it, like how to edit the speech, and how to actually speak in front of a crowd.

Totally. Even what you love to do, at some point it does becomes work, you know? And it’s only because we love it so much that we push through those moments that we aren’t necessarily having tonnes of fun because at some point in what we do it feels like work.

 I agree! Let’s go back a bit. What’s been the best part on being on Degrassi and your favourite scene so far?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. Probably my favourite moment was when I found out that I got the role! I had done another show, Instant Star, with the same production company. That show really opened a lot of doors, and a lot of the people on the crew, like the hair stylists and the makeup artists, and even like the cameramen, they’re the same from Instant Star onto Degrassi. So when I found out I got the role on Degrassi, not only was it an awesome opportunity, it was like going home to family. And I knew I was going to see all these people that I loved so much on a daily basis, and it’s like not only was it an awesome job, it was an awesome job with awesome people associated with it.

That’s so nice – liking the people you work with is so important, it must really feel like a team effort. What are you listening to now?

The last album I downloaded from iTunes would have been the Beyoncé album. Oh. I love me some Beyoncé as she’s calling herself now. I think the album is awesome. I really like her and respect her for not only being an awesome artist but she really feels like she’s the captain of her ship, which I think is really cool.

Definitely. Like a leader. A lot of people look up to you because of your success and drive. I write a lot about being eco-friendly and wondering if you do anything to be more eco-friendly at home or on the road.

Actually this is an amazing question for me. Most people don’t know, but parents are environmental consultants. I have lived a green life longer than pretty much anyone else that I know. We were recycling, we had a compost. We were doing all these amazing things way before they were popular.

Your parents were being eco-friendly as a job!

Yeah, that’s what they do. Like, I don’t even know another way of living. I always recycle. I always try to be green. I think the Earth is precious, and we need to preserve it for as long as we can.

That is so cool!

No one’s ever asked me that question before, so that’s awesome! I mean it’s hard being eco-friendly sometimes, but you do what you can. If we all just do what we can it’s going to add up and it’s going to be better for the environment.

 

How great is it that Cory’s parents are environmental consultants? Now we know where Cory gets her kindness about not just people, but the planet! So, get ready Canada, and start voting for your next supergroup on The Next Star: Supergroup!

What You Can Learn From Penguins Crossing Over A Low Rope

What You Can Learn From Penguins Crossing Over A Low Rope

This video shows what happens when penguins try to cross over a low rope. While I feel for them, what this shows is that sometimes it only takes one leader to show the rest of the group how to perform a task, or a lesson. The penguins kept calm, and as a group, all got over the rope together and didn’t leave anyone behind, showing their friendship and staying together.