INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018: Part 2

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How will you mark International Women’s Day this year?

For me, the greatest influence begins at home

As long as I can remember, my family has always celebrated International Women’s Day. Every March 8, my father would give my mother a beautiful bouquet of flowers. It started when they first got married before my sister and I were born and has continued to this day. I asked my father once why this particular day was so special that he wanted to honour it with a gift to my mother.
 
He said it was his way of showing how much he loved, supported and respected my mother and the way she was raising my sister and me to be strong, independent, resourceful women. He felt it was important to mark the occasion of International Women’s Day with a symbolic gesture in celebration of an important event.
 
Perhaps because he was raised in a female-led household (with just his mom and sister as his father died during World War II) my father has always believed that women are equal and deserving of the same rights, responsibilities and rewards as men. In all the interactions I’ve witnessed my father has had with other people – men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life – I’ve always been struck how respectful, kind, friendly and fair he’s been, without fail. 
 
I realize how lucky I am to have been raised in a family where both my parents believed that two little girls could do anything they dared to dream. They encouraged us to pursue our goals and not let obstacles or challenges deter us. They taught us the importance of giving back to our community and to pay it forward with the same respect that they showed each other and us. Although not perfect, I believe my parents taught my sister and I well. 
 
So in thinking about this year’s International Women’s Day, an annual day when people the world over come together to focus on women’s issues and achievements, it may seem overwhelming to think what one person can possibly do to advance women’s rights towards a more balanced society with 50/50 equality. That’s an ambitious goal! For me, as it’s always been, the road to equality begins at home.
 
As much as we should change laws, institutions, pay and workplace culture (and we should) the one thing each one of us can do most easily begins at home within our immediate family. When my son was born years ago, I knew I wanted to raise a good man who valued all people as equals. I wanted to raise a man like my father who shared his traits of kindness, compassion and empathy. As I look at my son today, fully grown and starting his career, I feel immense pride for the man he has become. 
 
And I realize that of life’s greatest accomplishments and greatest area of influence, it rests within one’s own family and immediate circle. That’s where the most impact and positive change can occur. And if you do it right, the ripple effect grows bigger and stronger.  
 
So I wish each of you a happy International Women’s Day. Take the time to celebrate the women in your life and remind yourself how each one of us can influence and support those closest to us and in turn, support all of us. 
 
Happy International Women’s Day! What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Tweet me @NatashaNKPR or leave a comment below. 
 
Natasha

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018

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HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

While International Women’s Day is about celebrating the achievements of women who have paved the path for us today, it is also about the women that surround us, and who empower us, everyday. Every woman and man has a role, whether that’s by raising their daughters to be strong and independent (or their sons to be respectful and supportive), or by leading movements to show the world and our leaders what change needs to occur. Today, we recognize and show our appreciation for the women who work to create a better world for all of us.

Some of the NKPR team submitted their responses for what woman, or women, they admire. Take a look at the list below to see what powerful and influential women inspire us everyday:

Kath: Leandra Medine is my forever girl crush, career inspo and life inspirer. She’s passionate, creative, an industry leader (who’s closet I would die to raid), successful and does everything with a side of humour. Also, she prides herself on wearing pants as little as possible…

Fiona: Ellen Degeneres – a trailblazer. One of the funniest comedians of all time. She was shunned in Hollywood after being brave enough to tell the world who she was. In that heroic moment, she let millions of people know that they too could realize their own truth and own it. She told us all that it was ok to be true to yourself. Her career suffered immensely for years, but made probably the most successful comeback of all time – inspiring to everyone, wants to only do good in the world and for people to be kind to one another. Through her show, she arranges to help families overcoming obstacles, arranging hundreds of thousands of dollars to various charities and makes serious differences in ordinary people’s lives.  She is absolutely incredible in my eyes.

Rebecca: I am inspired every day by my mamas – for balancing work-life and home-life, making family a priority, raising good, smart children and for always being there for anyone who needs them. It might sound cheesy, but both of my mamas have the ability to always get it all done and it’s something I truly admire.

Tiffany: As a little girl growing up I was obsessed with the Spice Girls, not only because I loved pretending to be Posh Spice when I sang song to “Wannabe”, but because the Spice Girls enforced the notion of “Girl Power” that stuck with me from a very young age and still sticks with me today. The Spice Girls sent out a message of “girls can do anything” and they can! Stemming from my love for the Spice Girls, today I’m truly inspired by Victoria Beckham. Throughout the past two decades she has always been a powerful leader, an example of a SUPER successful female entrepreneur, a trail blazer, and on top of all of her accomplishments she’s a mother, which I find truly inspirational and someone I aspire to be like. Plus, I love her style. 😉

Mel: Dr. Leena Augimeri, my mom! She is the Director of SNAP® Scientific and Program Development & Centre for Children Committing Offences – Child Development Institute and also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto. She specializes in working with children under 12 in trouble with the law. She is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders, with a special focus on children’s mental health. And she’s an absolutely amazing mom!

Bunmi: Mine is Harriet Tubman. More people should know about Harriet Tubman. I did a project on her in grade 4; I think it was life-changing. She was strong, principled, powerful and resourceful against all odds. She was a survivor. She has been my hero ever since.

 

Tweet us (@natashankpr) and let us know what women you admire! 🙂

 

RECAP: 26 Hours of Kindness 2018

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SHOWING AND GIVING LOVE FOR 26 HOURS OF KINDNESS

This past Wednesday the NKPR team joined forces to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a meaningful way- by showing and giving love to Toronto communities. This year we really wanted to focus on the homeless population, especially as this winter has been one of the coldest on record! We focused our efforts to volunteer at four amazing organizations: St. Felix Centre, Good Shepherd Ministries, Sistering, and Ve’ahavta. Together, their services work to support individuals who are battling very real issues in Toronto (and all over the world), including homelessness, addiction, malnutrition, mental illness, and so much more.

The FWords Podcast also taped an episode in the St. Felix kitchen during the lunch service, where we talked with Brian Harris, Executive Director of the St. Felix Centre, as well as the Ve’ahavta Outreach Worker, Andre Hermanstyne. Stay tuned for the episode airing next Tuesday, February 20th!

St. Felix Centre | 25 Augusta Ave.

We were welcomed with open arms to help prepare lunch and dinner for visitors of the St. Felix Centre. The first shift covered the 9AM to 1PM lunch service, and from 3PM to 8PM the second team tackled dinner! It was heartwarming to see the gratitude of the staff as well as the individuals who came in from the cold for a warm meal!

Learn more about St. Felix Centre here.

Good Shepherd Ministries | 412 Queen St. East

We lent our support to Good Shepherd with sorting and boxing food for many individuals and families that use their services on a regular basis. Their staff typically serve 1200 meals a day on average! On top of hot meals, they also provide clean clothes and a safe, clean bed for those in need.

Learn more about Good Shepherd Ministries here.

Sistering | 962 Bloor St. West

Sistering offers multiple services in an aim to help at-risk, socially isolated women in Toronto who are homeless or precariously housed. We joined the strong women who dedicate so much of their time to supporting Sistering.

Learn more about Sistering here.

Ve’ahavta | 200 Bridgeland Ave D.

Ve’ahavta (Hebrew for “and you shall love”) works to promote positive change in the lives of people of all faiths who are marginalized by poverty. They offer a hands-on approach to supporting their mission of tikun olam (repairing the world). Even just these translations demonstrate how beautiful it is to help and love others! We offered our support by collecting items for their street outreach team to help make daily essentials more accessible to Toronto communities.

Learn more about Ve’ahavta here.

It was honestly such an incredibly grounding and rewarding experience to give even just some of our time to help these organizations. It also served as an important reminder that there are so many people who desperately need our help on a daily basis. There is an estimated 235,000 people who are homeless in Canada annually, with 35,000 estimated to be homeless on any given night. Those are only two statistics that help shed light on the reality of homelessness in Canada. We’ve pulled a few m0re shown below that help provide an understanding of how this affects so many people. Realistically, these individuals could easily be our peers or friends, and we may just haven’t noticed the signs.

  • 150,000: Approximate number of people who access emergency shelters in Canada annually.
  • 50,000: Estimated number of people who are “hidden homeless” — defined as those without homes of their own who lean on friends or family for shelter — on any given night.
  • 4 million: Number of bednights, defined as nights during which a shelter bed is occupied, each year across Canada.
  • $105.3 million: Amount the federal government spends annually on the Homeless Partnering Strategy, which is designed to prevent and reduce homelessness.
  • 82,380: People who found more stable housing as a result of the Homeless Partnering Strategy.

We encourage everyone to learn more about these amazing organizations, and how you can lend your support. You can make a big difference even in a small way by just donating your time. Imagine what the world could look like with a little more kindness!

A huge thank you to everyone who came out to join the #NKPR26 team. Checkout our Instagram highlights (@natashankpr) to see more from our third annual 26 Hours of Kindness initiative!