New Year. New Me. New You. 7 Back-To-School Tips.

New Year. New Me. New You. 7 Back-To-School Tips.

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A new school year is just a few days away and while I love summer (and I had a really great one) I’m really looking forward to going back to school. A new year at school is when you get a fresh start. You can put last year behind you and you get to try new things and do things differently. That’s why I’m so excited! I have 7 back-to-school tips (because I am going into Grade 7) on how to start fresh and make plans to be the student that you want to be.

Get Involved

Getting involved in teams, groups and clubs is a great way to make friends with common interests and learn things outside the classroom. There are options for everyone – sports, music or the choir are all great if you have talents or skills in those areas. Not everyone is great at sports, playing an instrument or singing though (I’m not). There are clubs and groups you can join too. If you’re interested in preventing bullying at your school, there is likely a club that you can join. If you are interested in the environment, there is probably an eco-club! If there is not a club for your interest – maybe you can start one. Clubs at school is a great way to share your talents, your ideas, and your voice!

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Fresh Start As A Student

I’ve said it before – I hate math. A lot of kids do. It has been one of the only subjects that I have a really hard time with. But that was last year. I am going into the school year with a fresh new attitude as a student. I am going to forget about how much I hate math. That was LAST YEAR. This year I’m ready to focus on how I am going to do math THIS YEAR. I’m going to work hard and persevere until I get it right. I’m going to look at it as a challenge I’m going to work on it. I love a good challenge. I’m ready for it.

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Fresh Start As A Friend

Maybe last year you had some stuggles with people in your class or class or school. Maybe some people gave you a hard time. Maybe you gave some people are a hard time. Like making a fresh start as a student, you can make a fresh start as a friend too. Put the past in the past. New year means new opportunities, new starts and new friends. When you see the people that you had issues with last year, try to forget about it and say “Hi, how was your summer?” People change. People grow. Give everyone a chance to start fresh. Also, there might be new students at your school Be a welcoming person and ask them to sit with you at lunch or hang out with you at recess. Show them around. They are really starting fresh – help them out.

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Be Eco-Aware

You know that I am passionate about the environment and being eco-friendly. In the new year, try to be more aware of the environment and what actions you can take to do your part. You can be conscious of what you throw out, where you throw out, how you get to school, what you reuse and more. Take into account the things that you do and the things that you could be doing to help your world be a bit more clean.

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Be Kind

This year, make kindness a priority and make it a habit in your daily life. A little kindness at school can go a long way. There are so many opportunities to be kind throughout your day at school –  helping your teacher or a student with something, volunteer to help another student, support people who need support, hold doors open for people, say hello, smile. Doing something like this everyday will make you be a better person and encourage other people to do the same! Kindness is contagious like that.

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Issue + Gift = Change

While I am bad at math, this is the easiest formula I have ever had to do! A new school year is the time for you to find your issue, put it together with your gift and make a difference. Let me explain: Your issue is the thing that you care about – the thing that you stand for (or against). Your issue might be the environment, education or bullying. Your gift is your talent -the thing that you’re good at or that you like doing. Your gift might be art, music, baking or writing. You can put your issue and your gift together to do something that makes a difference. If your issue is bullying (and preventing it) and your gift is that you are a public speaker, you can talk to your school about preventing bullying! Or, maybe you want to organize an art exhibit about an issue that you care about, or a bake sale to raise money for a cause that your school supports. Issue + Gift = Change. Remember that.

Be a leader

When people think of a leader, they usually define a leader as someone that is a confident public speaker and someone who makes things happen – like the leaders of the Student Council or Parliament. This is true. But there are so many ways to be a leader. A really important type of leader is the one that leads by example. This kind of leader is not always comfortable standing in front of the room and talking or organizing groups of people or events. This leaders is someone that does good things and encourages others to do the same thing by setting an example!  We need all kinds of leaders. Which one will you be? Hint: you can be both.

New year, new start. Let’s do this.

 

5 Inspiring Quotes from 5 Inspiring Women on Women’s Equality Day

5 Inspiring Quotes from 5 Inspiring Women on Women’s Equality Day

Today is Women’s Equality Day! Today is a day when we not only talk about the issue of women’s equality and how we can reach equality for all, but this is also a day when we highlight some amazing women who shine a light on this issue and believe that we can get there. Here are 5 amazing women that inspire me and I hope that they inspire you too.

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Who’s ready to change the world? WE are!

Who’s ready to change the world? WE are!

There have been many milestones in Free The Children’s since Craig Kielburger founded it in his grade 7 classroom in 1995. To date Free the Children has:

  • Built more than 650 schools
  • Provided clean water to more than 1 million people
  • Donated more than 16 million dollars of medical supplies
  • Inspired and empowered a generation to “be the change” with the first We Day in 2007.

Tomorrow night will mark another huge step in celebrating and inspiring the change that WE make and you can be part of it.

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The one-hour, commercial free WE Day special on ABC at 8pm EST will showcase the power young people have to create change. From the We Day stage, Mia Farrow once said, “there is no room like this room anywhere on the planet,” and it’s true. I have been on the We Day stage for the past 2 seasons and I can tell you that the best part is not being on the stage, but it’s being there to honour all of the great things that young people have done and will do.

Did you know that every single student who has ever been to We Day has earned their way there? You can’t buy a ticket to We Day – you earn it, through service. Many of the stadiums that host We Day have the capacity to hold 20,000 people and all of them have undertaken at least one local and one global action to be there. They have raised money and awareness for things that they care about – everything from filling foodbanks in their communities to building schools in developing communities in Kenya, India and Ecuador.

The We Day broadcast on ABC will be hosted by Selena Gomez and will feature special performances by Common, Colbie Caillat and The Band Perry. Stories and inspiration will be shared from Magic Johnson, Rico and Raini Rodriguez and Kid President. There will be profiles of young change-makers like Ezra Frech and Ally Del Monte that will change the way you feel about your own ability to make a difference.

When you watch tomorrow night, know that We Day has honoured the action taken by young people in cities and communities all over North America. When you tune in tomorrow night, you are part of the community that we call WE.

Want to know more about We Day? Check out WeDay.com and We.org and watch this video, Born Out of A Dream, that opens We Day. It gets me, every time.

Back to School: Making Litterless Lunch (with a little help from my friends)

Back to School: Making Litterless Lunch (with a little help from my friends)

It’s the middle of August and while there are still a few full weeks of summer, the truth is, we’re close to school starting again. The signs are everywhere – literally. You can’t go to the grocery store or the mall without seeing advertising for back to school everything from clothes to shoes and notebooks to protractors and backpacks to lunchbags. There’s no denying it, we are that close.

I’ve been away at camp for most of the summer and out of the daily habit of packing lunches. Over the weekend I got together with my friends, Liya and Cayla, to get creative about lunch. We decided that this year we were going to start the school year with some new and renewed commitments.

The new commitment that we all made was that we are going to make our own lunches for school this year. We decided that we would go shopping with our parents on the weekend and that every night after dinner we would pack and prepare our lunch for the next day.

The renewed commitment we made was to make our lunches 100% litter-free. It’s a big commitment and a really important one and I showed Liya and Cayla all of the different things that they can make and take for lunch with zero waste for the landfills.

First we set everything out on the kitchen table: reusable containers, main lunch, snacks, fruits, vegetables, waterbottles and lunchbags.

Table Set with lunch stuff.

All of the fruits, vegetables and cheese were prepped and cut up (thanks Mom) so that we could fill our containers.

Prepped for lunch making.

We all got started with a different part for our lunch. Liya started with fresh fruit and Cayla and I started with our main course.

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Cayla made herself a litter-free version of those deli meat & crackers packages that you can buy ready-made at the grocery store. This special container has dividers in it to keep everything seperate.

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I like to take yogurt as a snack for the morning recess and we buy a large container of yogurt and I fill up my reusable container to take it in. My container has a small freezer pack in the lid to keep it cold. Cayla went with marshmallows for an afternoon snack and Liya made her own fruit cup.

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We each filled up our lunch bags with our main meals, snacks, reusable sporks and topped them off with reusable napkins from Funkins.

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Then there was nothing left to do, but unpack them, set the table and sit down for lunch.

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Here are the top 5 tips for making your litter-free lunches from Liya, Cayla and me:

  1. Prepare all of your fruit and vegetables at the beginning of the week so that all you have to do is choose the ones that you want and add them to your containers.
  2. Have a variety of different shapes and sizes of reusable containers handy.
  3. Buy things that you love in large quantity and pack what you need for each day (like we did with the yogurt and marshmallows).
  4. Everything you need for lunch can be reusable – from containers for lunch and snacks, to waterbottles and even your napkins. The ones that I use from Funkins double as placemats and will keep germs from your desk off your food (and also keep the mess from lunch off your desk. Win/Win!)
  5. Making lunch is not hard and it’s something that you can do yourself. We think your parents will appreciate the help.

Bonus Tip: Like most things, it’s more fun to do it with your friends.

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I’d love to know what tips you would add. If you have any great ideas to share, I’d love to hear them!

 

Note: I am taking part in the #FunkinsBackToSchool blog campaign. While I have received compensation as part of my affiliation with this program, the opinions shared are my own.

 

Get your creative on with this contest and giveaway from me and the Toronto School of Art!

Get your creative on with this contest and giveaway from me and the Toronto School of Art!

TSA CollageI have always loved creating things – whether it’s a blog post or a craft project – seeing the finished product makes me feel great.

Like writing and blogging, there are skills and techniques you can learn and practice to create cool and beautiful art. I’m taking a summer course at The Toronto School of Art on Cartooning and Storyboarding and I am loving what I am learning.

The Toronto School of Art has given me the opportunity to give something to you.

I’m giving away a Fall Youth Course of your choice! Check this out!

923: Youth Art Studio, ages 11-13 (Introductory to Intermediate Levels)

Sept. 19 – Dec. 12. Saturdays 9:15 am – 12:15 pm

923 Youth Art Studio is a visual art course designed for 11-13 year olds. Through drawing, painting, printing, collage, and 3-dimensional work, students will be introduced to various techniques and media in order to develop their own artistic language and expression. Visit the website for more details.

 OR

910: Fundamental of Drawing, ages 14-17 (Introductory to Intermediate Levels)

Sept. 19 – Dec. 5 Saturdays 12:45 pm – 3:45 pm

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of drawing, including contour, gesture, value, perspective, foreshortening, surface treatment, and composition. Emphasis will be placed on learning to see and experience the world from the artist’s viewpoint. Visit the website for more details.

The Contest Winner will get a FREE TSA Fall Youth Course. Either ages 11-13 or 14-17. Either is held on Saturdays for 3 hrs. So the winner will be placed in the youth camp baed on their age. All fees and materials will be taken care of, so the course is absolutely free!

HOW TO ENTER

Go to Twitter and follow me. I’m @ThatHannahAlper

Find the tweet below and RT it.

Hint: You can also RT it by clicking on the RT button right here on by blog!

Or, go to Instagram and follow me there.

Find this photo in my stream and leave a comment to enter!

Contest Ends Friday August 21, 2015 at 10pm EST and the winner will be selected by the Toronto School of Art and Announced on Monday August 23, 2015 by me and the Toronto School of Art on Twitter.

I hope that you’ll share this awesome opportunity with the creative young people you know.

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This is a great opportunity to unleash your creative spirits and learn from great and talented teachers. This is my teacher, Malcolm, taking a break from teaching about cartooning and storyboards, to strike a pose.

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This is my work in progress on my storyboard and some cartoon sketches, I’m not ready to share it yet, but stay tooned!

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For her 12th birthday, Maya did something AMAZING.

For her 12th birthday, Maya did something AMAZING.

This is Maya. Yesterday was her 12th birthday.

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To celebrate, Maya decided that she was going to do 12 random acts of kindness in one day. She organized a race between 3 teams trying to do the acts as fast as they could! Sounds kind of like The Amazing Race, right? They called it #MayasAmazingRaceOfKindness.

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This is the list Maya and her mom made up of the random acts of kindness they were going to do for the race.

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I showed up to surprise Maya at her first stop. I met Maya and her team at Value Village to donate some books.

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From there, we went to the Fire Department to drop off a food donation AND gave the Firemen some cookies! They were pretty happy about it.

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The next task was to give away a TTC ticket to someone waiting at a bus stop. Across the street from the fire hall, we found our next unsuspecting citizen.

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Our next stop was the grocery store. We gave a balloon to a little boy, we put wet wipes in the changing station in the washroom, we helped a woman with her groceries and returned her shopping cart. 4 in 1!

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And at the park, we found a princess to give our bubbles to…

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Then at the police station, Maya gave an officer on duty a Tim Horton’s gift card! For all that they do for our community, they definitely deserve a treat.

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We then went to the mailbox and Maya slipped in a handwritten thank you card to the mail carrier.

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The last act was a “free choice” that you had to come up with along the way. Maya made a care-bag that included a toothbrush, toothpaste, water bottle and a Tim Hortons gift card to give to a homeless person. Maya decided to hang on to it and keep it in the car for the next time she saw someone in need.

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It’s worth noting that everything that Maya handed out had this note attached to it. #PayItForward

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Maya did this to show that acts of kindness are things that you can do everyday. As you go about your ‘business as usual’ day, consider the little things that you can do to make someone’s day just a little bit better. You never know the ripple effect of your actions and how far it will go.

Happy birthday Maya! Thank you for sharing your day with me and so many others who were touched by #MayasAmazingRaceofKindness.

Racing Exctinction: A film that can change the world.

Racing Exctinction: A film that can change the world.

Last weekend, an amazing thing happened in New York City. The Empire State Building became the face of extinction. On the side of one of the most famous landmarks in New York City, endangered animals were projected in huge, full colour images. It was called Projecting Change. The goal was to raise awareness about animals around the world that are a path to becoming extinct.

It was also to promote a new documentary, Racing Exctinction, that will be on The Discovery Channel in December The film has already won awards, including The Documentary Award for Environmental Advocacy at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC. With support from the Ocean Preservation Socieity, film-maker, Louie Psihoyas put together a team of artists and activists to expose the real threats that humans have become to wildlife around the world. In the film some of the activists go undercover around the world, behind the scenes to show what is happening in where endangered species are traded and sold. Throughout the film we will understand the devastating effects of human action and behaviour on wildlife on land and in the ocean that is killing them.

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The idea of the film is to show what is really happening and it is sad, scary and surprising. But behind it all, there is also hope. The amazing people that are part of Racing Extinciton have hope. They hope that by bring the reality of what is happening to light, change will happen.

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So, last Saturday night the Empire State building became the face of extinction in a big step toward building the awareness that will lead to change. On a nearby building they stacked 40 projectors to display an array of endangered animals 375 feet tall and 186 feet wide covering 33 floors.

Psihoyas told Loren Grush of the The Verge,”Film can change the world. I call it a weapon of mass construction. I’m hoping with this film and this event, we can raise awareness and start a movement.”

Check out some photos of this amazement in these photos on Instagram captured from users in New York City.

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Recently the whole world has been talking about about the killing of Cecil The Lion in Zimbabwe. He was killed by an American man for hobby. During Projecting Extinction, Psihoyas also honoured Cecil.

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The webside for Racing Excinction is an amazing resource filled with facts, information and ways that you can help and make your voice heard. They have issued a challenge called the “Five Day Carbon Cleanse” that encourages you to think and take specific actions for 5 days.

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I just signed the petition to help ban killing elephants for their ivory! They need 5, 000 signatures so go on the website and pledge to help! If you want to share anything on social media, the hashtags to use are #RacingExctinction, #ProjectingChange and #StartWith1Thing! The film, Racing Exctinction airs on the Discover Channel on December 2nd at 9PM! Be sure to watch it! I know I will be. Check out the offical trailer.

CTV Toronto: “GTA youth joins A-list celebrities as ambassador of anti-bullying campaign” (That’s Me!)

CTV Toronto: “GTA youth joins A-list celebrities as ambassador of anti-bullying campaign” (That’s Me!)
CTV Toronto: “GTA youth joins A-list celebrities as ambassador of anti-bullying campaign” (That’s Me!)

Thank you to CTV Toronto for highlighting my work alongside Free The Children, We Day and Bystander Revolution. I’m very proud to represent these important organizations. I’m excited about my new role as the first Canadian Youth Ambassador for Bystander Revolution, a movement working to take the power out of bullying.

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My Appearance On CTV News Channel For Bystander Revolution – Here It Is!

My Appearance On CTV News Channel For Bystander Revolution – Here It Is!

I’m really proud to add my voice to Bystander Revolution as an Ambassador working toward the goal of taking the power out of bullying. Big thank you to CTV News Channel for helping to amplify my voice and my message.

#UpgradeYourWorld

#UpgradeYourWorld

To celebrate the launch of Windows10, Microsoft is launching a really exciting campaign – #UpgradeYourWorld. I’m really excited to have been asked to help spread the word because everything about #UpgradeYourWorld fits with my vision of changing the world.

My blog and everything that has grown out of it, is founded on the idea that we can all make a difference every single day and that all of the things that we can do – big and small – add up make a difference in the world. Through my work with Free The Children and We Day, I have grown to understand that change is urgent locally and globally. When we come together as a community to share and celebrate the change that we are making, we inspire others to join us in their own way. These things are all part of Microsoft’s #UpgradeYourWorld.

#UpgradeYourWorld is a new year-long initiative to celebrate those who inspire and empower others, led by Microsoft’s vision to help people achieve more through technology and in celebration of the Windows 10 launch.

The #UpgradeYourWorld initiative has a few different components and ways for you to get involved and share the ways in which you are taking action to #UpgradeYourWorld.

1. Social Media

Share what you are doing to make a difference in the world – locally or globally – on social media. Remember – everything makes a difference and no act is too small to share. Are you working with an organization that helps people? Do you do random acts of kindness daily? Share them and don’t forget to use the #UpgradeYourWorld hashtag and tell @WindowsCanada] so that all of our actions add up. Microsoft will bring a few of these ideas to life in the coming months.

2. Help choose #10

Microsoft is investing ten million dollars to support global non-profit organizations. They have selected 9: CARE, Code.org, Keep a Child Alive, Malala Fund, Pencils of Promise, Save the Children, Special Olympics, The Global Poverty Project, and The Nature Conservancy. They are looking to us to choose #10.  Starting July 29th, you can vote for the 10th non-profit to receive $500,000 in funding from Microsoft here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/upgradeyourworld/

3. Go Local

In addition to these global non-profits, starting in September, Microsoft will be crowdsourcing nominations for 10 non-profits in each of the following 10 countries: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. The 100 local winners will each receive a cash investment to support their work to upgrade the world. Stay tuned and share your pick to receive this generous help.

This is a great video from Microsoft to launch #UpgradeYourWorld. I love this: Making our neighbourhoods, communities…there has never been a better time to make a difference. #UpgradeYourWorld

Cool fact: Around the world, tens of thousands of Microsoft employees will participate in the Upgrade Your World initiative by taking a day off to volunteer to upgrade their community, many of them on July 29, in celebration of the Windows 10 launch.

I’m a big user of Windows for school and for my blog, presentations and speeches and I’m excited about the new Windows 10. There are a lot of cool new features and the upgrades are based on feedback and input that they have collected from more than 5 million Windows Insiders. It’s a free upgrade if you’re already using Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Phone here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/features 

So, now tell me, tell everyone, how are you going to #UpgradeYourWorld?

 

Note:  I am talking part in sharing this campaign. While I have recieved compensation as part of my affliation with this program, all opinions and ideas are my own.