Many people have asked me: “Are you at We Day again this year?” and I am happy to share with you guys my answer. So read below.
What is We Day?
“WE Day is a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities. WE Schools is the yearlong program that nurtures compassion in young people and gives them the tools to create transformational social change.
Together they offer young people the tools and the inspiration to take social action, empower others and transform lives—including their own.”
This year on November 18th, 2016. We Day returns to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg! A day where over 16,000 students and educators come for a day of inspiration and celebration. That cool thing about We Day is that – You can’t buy a ticket to WE Day. Students earn their event tickets by taking one local and one global action through WE Schools, a yearlong educational program that engages and empowers young people to become compassionate leaders and active citizens.
Last year, I spoke at my first We Day at the MTS Centre and spoke to the audience about my story of reconciliation and how to live WE. This year, I have some exciting news to share with you! I’ve been to We Day as an audience member, honoured guest, volunteer, speaker and now I’m going as MEDIA! I will be able to interview some of the speakers and performers throughout the day and possibly meet some of the wonderful students that earned their way to We Day through hard-work and dedication.
Here is a list of the speakers/performers coming to We Day Manitoba on November 18th, 2016!
- Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) – American singer-songwriter, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality
- Hani Al Moulia – Photographer, teacher, and actor
- Jully Black (@JullyBlack) – Award-winning singer-songwriter, speaker, SheRO & SheEO!
- Celebrity Marauders – DJ collective including Kardinal Offishall, Cipha Sounds, DJ Starting From Scratch and Dready
- Mike Downie – Co-founder of the Gord Downie – Chanie Wenjack Fund
- Tyrone Edwards (@mr1LOVETO) – Host – E!/Much
- Capri Everitt (@80anthems) – Singer and youth ambassador
- Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) – Astronaut, author, professor, musician, first Canadian to walk in space/command a spaceship
- Rick Hansen (@RickHansenFdn) – Canadian Paralympian, activist, and philanthropist
- Jillea (@whoisjillea) – Singer and songwriter
- Craig and Marc Kielburger (@craigkielburger) – International activists and co-founders of WE
- Kyle Nobess (@kylenobess) – Film actor, YouTuber and writer
- The Honourable Brian Pallister (@Brian_Pallister) – Premier of Manitoba Government
- Tyler Shaw (@TylerShawMusic) – Platinum-selling and JUNO Award-nominated singer/songwriter
- Margaret Trudeau – Celebrated Canadian, author & mental health advocate
- Nico & Vinz (@NicoandVinz) – Musical duo, Nico Sereba and Vinz Dery
- Spencer West (@spencer2thewest) – ME to WE motivational speaker, WE Ambassador, and author
- Chloe Wilde (@TheChloeWilde) – ETALK Reporter and E! Host
I’m super excited for We Day, just so I can finally say that I’ve almost experienced We Day is almost all the ways you can! Thanks!
You can Follow my We Day experience on:
- twitter: shania_pruden
- snapchat: shaniapruden
- Instagram: shaniapruden
Racism is such a horrible thing that is STILL happens today. Today while I was out for lunch with my eleven-year-old brother, he told me something that I will never be able to accept from him. Not only because I think he is perfect the way he is, it’s because he is only ELEVEN!
“I wish I was born white!”
It’s so hard to accept the fact that racism happens in every age, not only in adults. I asked my brother “Why?” and he told me that because “Being white is better than being brown.” I’m in shock because my parents always tell us to never be ashamed of who we are and how we look.
What I want to share is that the only way we can move forward in life is realizing that the colour of someone’s skin does NOT define who they are. Moving to Winnipeg as a young indigenous girl, it was really difficult to find my true self. I was called so many negative names and I was always asked: “Why is your skin so dark?”
The way I am helping combat racism is by, Blogging! I remember feeling so tired of all the negative things I was told in life because of who I was and thinking and asking myself:
“How can I help end Racism – Not in a negative way, but in a positive way?”
So that’s really when it all started, I can honestly say that I was terrified of starting a blog. First things first, I didn’t know how to start a blog, or what I was going to write about. I was NOT a good writer and I was very nervous on the kind of feedback I would get from people. The biggest thing that encouraged me was the fact that is, If no one is doing anything to end racism – then who will? Just like my story and how I started my journey in joining the movement to end Racism, there are much more. It’s your time to pick up the pen and get writing! After the small conversation with my younger brother I want to help people know that YOU can make all the difference in the world by joining the movement to end Racism. It isn’t much but here is a couple ways that can help you start your story on combating racism.
- Be willing to listen: A good start is to just stop and being there to listen. Everyone has their stories, and it’s such a privilege to be one of the people to hear someone’s story.
- Stay Optimistic: Another good thing is to stay optimistic, there’s no minimum amount of racism you had to deal with to share your story. Small things that leave a HUGE impact on someone’s feelings – good and bad! So when someone shared their story with you, staying optimist will help.
- Ask questions: There is no such thing as too many questions. There is also no such thing as a “stupid question” it’s a good thing to do because the more you ask, the more you learn.
- Talk with your family about it: Getting your family involved to help end racism would be fantastic! It’s great doing things you love with the people you love.
- Be Inclusive: This is super important because it’s a way to ensure that everyone is included.
- Don’t be ashamed: Maybe you’re thinking your peers will tease you. Just always remember, to ignore the negatives. There will always be obstacles that come in life – but that’s your time to show your strength.
I really hope you the best in helping to combat racism. It’s something that is still happening, and if you are watching the current news – it’s devastating because we’re all the same…. humans. Just always remember that the only way to move forward in life is to realize that we’re all the same and that no one is better than anyone else. Thanks! 🙂
It’s been just over a month since I’ve last posted, so I thought I’d give you all an update on things I have been busy with. Aside from all the events, speaks, work, school, etc – I have also been having some issues with season change sickness. Here are just some of the few things I have been taking part this past month.
- United Way Winnipeg: Speaker’s Bureau- This year I decided that I wanted to volunteer my voice to the UWW Speaker’s Bureau. United Way has played such a crucial role in my life without me even knowing it. Shortly after We Day Manitoba last year I learned that some of the important after-school programs I was involved with are funded by United Way. So the thought of giving back to the organization that gave to me was definitely something I wanted to do. Through the Speaker’s Bureau, I was able to meet some of the biggest contributors to UWW, but also I was able to meet some amazing community leaders of Winnipeg. Such as Mayor Brian Bowman, Premiere Brian Pallister, City Councillor Mike Pagtakhan, etc.
- United Way Winnipeg: Council for Indigenous Relations- Another thing I have been busy with was the Council for Indigenous Relations. As the only youth on this committee, it is great to represent youth. It’s a wonderful way to get to meet new people, also a great way to contribute to making the world a better place. Connecting the Indigenous community with the non-indigenous community is interesting because it’s something I haven’t done before. So it’s a great new experience.
- NorWest Co-op Community Health: Youth Ambassadors for Mental Health- I have been part of this youth advisory committee for about 7 months and it has been the best 7 months so far. We have been helping plan an integrated youth space in the community of Inkster/ Seven Oaks area. Recently we announced that RBC has given us a generous donation of 100k – which we are truly honored and extremely thankful. We definitely know that youth are going to be helped with this new space. For more info on this committee, follow us on Twitter @NorWestYouthHub
- Unifor: Human Rights Conference- In September, I had the honor of being asked to sit on a Human Rights Panel in Port Elgin, ON. This conference was to get more people talking about Human Rights. There were over 150 Human Rights Activists present for this conference which was something that I will NEVER forget. The passion that was in one room was very amazing. I spoke about Aboriginal issues in Canada. One thing I left the delegates with was a challenge – to stop and think about something that they did to raise awareness on these issues. One highlight I have from this trip was meeting Susan Agulkark, she is one of my role-models because she proves that regardless of the stereotypes if you have a dream – just go for it!
- Peace of Mind 204: YAMIS- Youth Against Mental Illness Stigma is something that I 100% support. I believe that when we all add our voices together, we are heard and when we are heard, we are changing the world. When we speak up about our own experiences we can help other people raise their voices too – when more people talk about their experiences, we are ending the stigma for sure. One thing I am proud about this generation is how strong we actually are. Youth aren’t only the future, but the present too! I was able to speak with students in attendance about finding your spark, lighting it and keeping it going. Also to stay strong and never be ashamed of who you are, because you’re the writer of your story, so never stop writing – you never know if your story is inspiring others to keep writing theirs.
- Becoming a Future Politician- One day I went to the Legislative Building to get a tour, to meet some people, but to also sit through my first Manitoba Legislative Assembly meeting while at the same time honoring the life of one my role-models, Larry Morrissette. Larry was one of the four elders that founded the Bear Clan, a group that protects and patrols the North End helping protect our women and children. One of my biggest goals in life is to become a politician, ever since I was younger I wanted to be a Journalist and a Politician – so maybe one day I will be one.
These are just a couple of the things I have been busy with this past month. I didn’t include everything or the next few things I will be participating in. If you want to follow me with everything I am doing you can follow me on Twitter: @Shania_Pruden or follow my blog. I will definitely start writing more once I get more time to myself. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed! 🙂
Have you ever been so mad at someone that you felt like forgiving them was impossible? Here are three words that I try to live by when I cross paths with negativity.
Positivity is Key
It is definitely hard to be optimistic when negative things are thrown your way. But when you stop and think about it – you can finally get to see how much you can grow when you turn negativity into positivity. People ask me all the time. “Shania, why aren’t you getting mad?” But then I ask them “Why not? Why would you rather spend most of the time angry instead of being happy?”
This year has been my second year of Positivity. My main goal was to live life more positive and help inspire others to have a positive outlook on life. My motto for my these past two years has been Stay positive, work hard and make it happen. Since I started this challenge I’ve definitely seen more growth and me and life has been way more enjoyable.
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision” -Dalai Lama
I would like to invite you to take on the Year of Positivity challenge. Just because it’s September, don’t let that stop you! Always remember that change starts with you. Just Stay Positive, Work Hard and Make it Happen. 🙂
The number one thing that I’ve learned this past year is that support is good. Without the support that I have, I wouldn’t have been able to experience all that I’ve been able to. The definition of Supporters- a person who approves of and encourages someone or something. So what I am going to do is support you. Here are some numbers that I can provide for you when you may feel down. I hope I can help you that way.
I want to let you know that I will always be there for you if you ever need someone to talk to. Just let me tell you that I am not a professional, I don’t have a degree, I can’t take away all your problems (Although I wish I could) Yes, I only just graduated highschool – but I promise if you ever need support with anything, I will be there and help you find some further support if you need. Take care and please seek support if you are feeling down or having thoughts of hurting yourself.
I cringe every time someone says “a Mental Illness isn’t a real illness” I do indeed believe that it is a real illness because I myself have struggled with one. One thing that happens is not being able to cope with the effects of dealing with a Mental Illness. People around you keep telling you that it’ll get better, but your mind keeps telling you that you aren’t good enough and that you will never get better. What also happens is that sometimes you forget to take care of yourself. That’s when we challenge ourselves to change the illness into wellness. What I find helps me is I do is follow a three-step challenge to keep well
- Realize that you want to become well. One thing that is important is knowing that you WANT to change by making yourself feel better. I know sometimes it isn’t easy finding that motivation when dealing with a mental illness. But if you push yourself to find it, you will eventually feel it.
- Make yourself a Wellness Plan. Now time to do the thinking part. It also isn’t easy thinking of things you enjoy when you may be feeling upset. So what helps is reading/listening to others peoples wellness plans. It gives you ideas and help you come up with your plan and it also helps you by seeing how their plan helped them, so it might make you feel better when making your plan.
- Follow your plan. Pushing yourself to do something that you may not be motivated to do is the first step to take on making yourself feel better. I really enjoy writing and drawing, but for awhile I stopped writing and drawing because I lost motivation and interest in them. But I kept telling myself “No, Shania! You love blogging and drawing. Don’t stop now.” and eventually, after telling myself that every day, I had the smallest motivation to write again and then I realized that writing helps distract me from all the stressful things in life. For you, maybe you love sports or singing you can add those to your wellness plan because you want to make yourself feel better. Leaving out your favorite hobbies won’t always help because maybe you really enjoyed them before you started feeling down.
One thing that I did for my last week for high school was helped my peers at school come up with a Wellness Plan for over the summer months when school services aren’t necessarily available:
- No Guidance Counselors/ Teachers to talk to
- Not being able to see classmates/ friends every day
- No school activities/ school sports to distract you
I gathered a group of my friends and we went into classrooms and handed everyone a Mental Health Wellness Checklist with ideas on how to stay Mentally Well over the summer months. I decided to do this because 1 in 5 Canadians are affected by Mental Health and if you put it into my school’s perspective there are 1900 students in my school, that would be 380 out of 1900 students would be affected by Mental Health. It’s crazy how many people are afraid to seek treatment, so I thought this wellness plan would help students stay well and possibly seek treatment if needed because I also included resources (websites, phone numbers and teen clinics) on the back of the wellness plan. I believe that everyone should be able to reach out to help when needed. I’m glad I was able to finish my high school chapter off on a strong note. Also, remember when we remove “I” from Illness and add “We” it turns into Wellness. Here are a few pictures of my projects I did this year to raise awareness on Mental Health this and how it is a real illness and my fight to end the stigma surrounding Mental Health. Thanks!