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You can get all the details on our December Upstanders Academy session here.

You can buy your family ticket here.

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I know this is long, but it might be one of the most important posts I have ever written. I would be so grateful if you would read it and share it. We need to end homelessness – and we really can make things better if we work together.

Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook’s beautiful artwork helped lead to a profound shift in what Inuit art could be. In 2006, Annie had a solo exhibition at Toronto’s Power Plant that made her famous in Canada and abroad. Within a few months of that show, she had won the $50,000 Sobey Art Award, and had been invited to display her work at the Montreal Biennale and Documenta 12, a major European exhibition.

Ten years later, she was homeless in Ottawa, selling her drawings on the street and panhandling for money. On Sept. 19, 2016, her body was found in the Rideau River. She was 47 years old.

On November 7 of this year, on International Inuit Day, I attended the Annie Pootoogook Park Renaming Ceremony for the park beside the Sandy Hill Community Centre. It was such an honour to learn more about Annie’s story – to hear about the joy, brilliance and love, and also the trauma and hardships.

A week later, Annie’s sister, Elisapie Pootoogook, a 60 year old grandmother, was found dead in a Montreal luxury condo tower construction site. Another person who fell through the cracks of the available services for the homeless.

We cannot be OK with this.

In my efforts to help make things better, the kids in my Upstanders Academy and I are going to learn more about homelessness and actions we can take to help for the month of December.

I know this all sounds super heavy, and you might think that it is too much for your kids to handle, but in fact, the opposite is true. Our awesome kids are already aware that homelessness exists. They see the homeless panhandling on the street. They know in their hearts it is wrong. They feel pain for these fellow humans because kids are fantastic and know about our shared humanity right from the get go. If we don’t talk to them about these issues and give them actions they can take to help, we are increasing their chances of becoming overwhelmed, apathetic, or anxious because the world seems so terrible. By having these conversations, and showing them that we want to work together to make things better, we will help them to become confident, engaged, compassionate, inspired leaders. I see this happening at every session of our Upstanders Academy. And I want to bring all this awesomeness to more kids.

We would love to have your beautiful kids join us. I would also be super grateful if you could share this with all your friends. We can’t just sit by and let people continue to be homeless. We can be better than this.

And here is a sample of some of the awesomeness we get up to Рfrom our interview with Amanda Jett̩ Knox, otherwise known as the Maven of Mayhem. Amanda works as a Writer, Speaker and LGBTQ Advocate: https://youtu.be/J_X7VZ54_GU

#WorldChangingKids #UpstandersAcademy #Community #Connection #BuildingABetterWorld #EndHomelessness #EducationReimagined #SocialEnterprise #SocialJustice #IndigenousJustice #Reconciliation