School starts Tomorrow!!!! Something you may not be aware about some students….


So I know this weekend, there has been a lot of conversations around Syrian refugees. And it is an important conversation that hopefully opens eyes and challenges hearts.

Now, we are focused on #peegate.

However, I would like to make you aware of something else.
School starts tomorrow. It is an exciting time for many as they are going forward to pursue an education to get a job. To contribute to society in some way. To feel better about themselves. To be better people.

The problem is as school starts tomorrow, there will be many students that will not have a place to stay. At our orientation Friday, several hands went up when asked who needs a place.

I understand that there are many issues surrounding this topic. Here are a couple;

If you call a potential and say you are a student, there is hesitation. If you say you are working, there is more openness to rent.

The cost of coming up with in some provinces, not all, of coming up with one month’s rent plus one month’s damage deposit.

You say live in a Hotel? The Y on Beatty and Robson costs $900 a month. Which being a student, is above my own personal price range.

I find it odd that in a country where we say that we value education, that we would allow students to be homeless. An unsettled student is going to be an disorganized student. A disorganized student will be an unsuccessful student.

We are better off with successful people doing what they are good at.

So be aware and educate yourself on the issues in Syria. If you need too, have a good laugh at #peegate or whatever scandal that comes up today.

But, maybe we can be a bit more aware that there are some Post Secondary Students that will start school living on the streets.

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Agree or Disagree: Calgary has a strong sense of community.


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This week, I’m the curator of @peopleofYYC account. So, there may be some new readers we introduce to the Agree or Disagree concept.

This week, we will be focusing on the things going on the City of Calgary.

The first one we will discuss is Calgary’s sense of community.

Personally, I was one that believes that although people would come to Calgary to work, I perceived that people had trouble calling Calgary “home”.

That was until June 19, 2013.

That was the  flood. You remember it. How can you forget it? We saw people all over the city support those who were affected by the flood. Remember this?

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The large amount of volunteers prepared to help the city recover.

That was when there was I saw a strong sense of community come through. Neighbour invited other neighbours over. Stranger helped out strangers rebuild. People cooked food for blocks of their new friends.

This is where I saw Calgary become a “home”. A place to lay roots. And the city feels different. Less individualistic. More community orientated.

However, that is just my perspective. You might see something different. So, here are some questions for you.

Do you Agree or Disagree that Calgary has a strong sense of community? Why or why not?

Where do you see Calgary’s community the strongest?

Where do you see an area where Calgary can grow in community?

Agree or Disagree: It’s easy to volunteer in #yyc


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If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the latest Agree or Disagree: The Podcast, you can listen to it here.

The topic we discussed was Kids Up Front. A charity here in Calgary.   Nicky and I had a brief discussion about opportunities to volunteer in the city.

Nicky pointed out that if you are on Social Media, it is easy to be aware of causes in the city. Causes like Kids Up Front. However, if you are not on Social Media (Spoiler: There are people not on Social Media), how are you aware of who needs volunteers or for that matter, where to volunteer?

Also, how do organizations promote their story to attract volunteers to their organization? And keep them?

What are your thoughts?

Agree or Disagree: Caretakers of the mentally ill can publicly talk about their experiences.


Every once in a while, I get requests to do an Agree or Disagree. This is a request. And, it is an important topic.

There has been lots of discussion around the stigma of mental illness. It has been important. However, we haven’t had a lot of discussion around caretakers of the mentally ill.

When I was discussing this with my friend, we decided this word would be best. It covers, friends, family and professional supporters of those who are mentally ill.  So, when you are responding, think of it that way.

Here’s the background of the request. For confidentially reasons, the person who requested this will be kept anonymous.

I feel like people talking about mental health is awesome, but there is a complete lack of support for people who are caretakers/partners/children of the mentally ill. We’re not allowed to talk about our own struggles when our lives are affected by mental illness that isn’t our own.

As someone who comes from mentally ill parent(s), and who has been a partner to people with mentally illness or addiction issues, it can be excruciatingly lonely and difficult. I don’t dare open up about this stuff because it treads a line of “slander” or privacy breach. I’ve been condemned for trying to talk about my experiences and seeking support from my community/friends/family.

Where is the help for the caretakers? Are we to suffer quietly because we should respect the privacy of the mentally ill?

Especially when the mentally ill have no/little respect for us, or have been abusive?

What are your thoughts? Is there support for caretakers of the mentally ill? Can they publicly talk about their experiences? Is it a safe environment for them to speak?

Agree or Disagree: Save and Rebuild the Tom Baker Cancer Centre


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I’m not sure if this story is getting the notice it should.

Due to the current economy, there is concern about the future of the Tom Baker Centre. There is a delay in building in much needed cancer centre in the city. There is no question that many people have been positively impacted by their work.  There is also no question about the difficulties and struggles those with cancer have had.

As a matter of fact, there was a rally from a group called Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre. This was on Wednesday January 28. You can read that here.

What do you think? Should we save and rebuild the Tom Baker Cancer Centre?

Agree or Disagree: Sabrina’s Law


Every once in a while, I get requests to do an Agree or Disagree. This is one of those times.

You may or may not have heard of the term Sabrina’s Law. For that, I would like to show you this video from CTV Edmonton.

Click here for video.

Here’s also a perspective from the person putting forth the request.

I don’t want my child to be segregated or different because of her allergy. Each school has a policy in Alberta, the standards are very loose and up to the individual school. So as a parent with a child it makes it difficult to trust or to investigate what is best for our child.
 
Children have died because of the lack of information. I don’t want to risk my child life, I also want her to be able to have a life.
I should note that we have zero allergies between myself and my husband. So all of this is like a new world.
I will also put forward this article for you to read.
Do you think Sabrina’s law can help children with severe allergies? Or, are there other options available?
I should note that we have zero allergies between myself and my husband. So all of this is like a new world.

Agree or Disagree: Bill 10.


The last week, there was a big controversy and discussion about Bill 202.

If you are not sure what Bill 202 is, you can read it here.

Many people are actually quite supportive of the concepts of Gay-Straight Alliances. However, this bill is not universally supported. There were two major concerns of this specific Bill. One concern has been from religious schools. They feel that Gay-Straight Alliances are contradictory to their religious conviction. (I’m just sharing the facts, not giving a specific opinion here). The other was from some parents. Some parents felt that these alliances were infringing on how parents speak to their children.

Enter Bill 10.

Today, the PC Party tabled this Bill. You can read Bill 10 here.

Now, I can see from Social Media that this is going to go a particular way. However,let’s try to be constructive. With that, I’ll ask some questions.

What works with this Bill? (If you say  nothing, at least back it up)

What doesn’t work with this Bill? (I imagine this will be obvious)

However, perhaps this is the tougher question going forward

Is there an actual way to get religious schools, parents, and the LGBT community on the same page on this issue? I’m on record that I support Gay-Straight Alliances.It is very clear that these are supportive.  I think Bill 202 is the right step.I’m quite confused and perplexed as to why this can’t go forward. But obviously, we can’t . There are still concerns.

How can we actually deal with these issues?