Proud Recipient of a 2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Award


On June 16th, The 2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards were handed out in Toronto, which recognizes individual volunteers for continuous years of commitment and dedicated service to an organization. 

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This year both my wife and I received an award for 15-years of volunteering with an organization call Jewish Family and Child Services (JF&CS).

Jewish Family & Child supports the healthy development of individuals, children, families, and communities through prevention, protection, counselling, education and advocacy services, within the context of Jewish values.

Their priority areas are;

1. Increasing Safety and Security

2. Reducing the Effects of Poverty

3. Improving Mental Health and Wellness

My wife and I became volunteers in the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program to assist the JF&CS staff with the planning and coordinating over events for the programs’ participants and volunteers.  Over the past 15 years we have met a lot of incredible volunteers and incredible children who have grown up to be amazing young adults.

None of this would have been possible without the hard work and support of Andrea Pines, the Volunteer Coordinator for Big Brothers / Big Sisters.

We also try to model what it means to be a good person to our children and I recall a picture being published of our oldest boy – at probably 3 months old – strapped to my wife in a child carrier and the 3 of us set off to an event.  We try to include all of our kids in the event planning as well as at the event so they will understand that giving their time might seem like such a small gesture, but to some people it means a lot.

Obviously we do this for the organization, and not for the recognition, and I’m hesitant to publish this except I hope down the road, my kids will be able to read this and realize that volunteering is important and that it’s been a part of their lives since they were born (and their Dad expects them to continue doing it!!)

The awards ceremony is a lovely ceremony where volunteers are presented with stylized trillium pins and personalized certificates.

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Father’s Day Giveaway Open Until June 19th. Income Property’s Scott McGillivray.


Income Property host (and Canadian) Scott McGillivray is known not just for his sharp business sense in the real estate game, and work as a skilled contractor, but also as a hands-on dad and family man, supported by the fact that People Magazine just released their Father’s Day special issue and Scott was named one of their fave dads! 
Scott has an exciting Father’s Day contest for fans running on his social media until Friday June 19th. He will be giving away amazing prizes including a Napoleon gas grill  ($800), a Milwaukee 4pc tool kit ($800), Philips Lighting kit ($700), a Lee Valley E-Gift Card ($500), a Breville Boss blender and Juice Elite juicer ( $1000). They will be rolling out over the course of the weeks leading up to Father’s Day. 
Here is information about how to enter via Scott’s Twitter account and website: here.
Scott’s website can be accessed here; http://scottmcgillivray.com/
I just entered.  You should too!
Scott McGillivray
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Father’s Day is Coming… Ahem… Chapters Indigo!


As mentioned probably a zillion times already, I’m a huge fan of anything Canadian, and I am a supporter of life-long-learning, which is why I recommend looking into Chapters Indigo for Father’s Day options. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/

The folks at Indigo even prepared a great selection of cottage / BBQ / Father’s Day suggestions which were inspired by the great outdoors and life at the lake.

Tabletop items and pillows are adorned with an Indigo-exclusive canoe print. Retro-inspired trays, drink dispensers and mason jar mugs bring a vintage touch to home décor, while summer cookbooks offer tasty meal ideas for those warm summer evenings.

Check out our their Flickr page here and Father’s Day Suggestions!

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My Wife Will Be Happy: It’s Not Over For Degrassi. Next Class Debuts January 2016 on Family Channel


IT’S NOT OVER!
DEGRASSI: NEXT CLASS DEBUTS ON FAMILY CHANNEL IN JANUARY 2016

She may not admit it, but my wife loves Degrassi.  I’m not sure of it’s because they filmed it at the high school she attended, or if she knew some of the kids involved, but she is a fan of the show, and myself, while not having seen more than a couple of them, is a huge fan of anything Canadian – giving this show 2 thumbs up!

This press release came to me:

Toronto, June 9, 2015 – Whatever it takes. That’s what Family Channel is willing to do for fans and the network proves it by announcing Degrassi: Next Class, the newest version of the popular global franchise, will debut on Family in January 2016. After Thursday’s news sent shockwaves through the Internet, fans and media showed an outpouring of love for the highly celebrated Canadian teen series. Reassuring fans that Degrassi as they know it is alive and well, DHX Media’s Epitome Pictures will create 20 x 30-minute episodes of the series for Family.

“Both Family Channel and Degrassi have a longstanding place in the Canadian media landscape catering to youth and we look forward to welcoming Degrassi’s dedicated, loyal and vocal fan base as viewers,” said Joe Tedesco, Senior Vice President & General Manager, DHX Television. “By adding this series to our schedule we’ve been able to redefine what constitutes ‘family programming’ while maintaining our mandate to program series that are both relatable and relevant for the entire family. Degrassi explores sensitive issues in a responsible manner and allows us to continue identifying new ways to connect with families.”

Degrassi Gallery – June 24 2014

degrassiDegrassi: Next Class debuts on Family Channel in January 2016 featuring familiar faces.
For a snapshot of Degrassi over the years, click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PgcExzKuHw.

“Following an unprecedented and incredibly supportive 14-year relationship with Bell Media on Degrassi: The Next Generation, we are looking forward to reaching a fresh new audience with Degrassi: Next Class,” said Degrassi Executive Producer Linda Schuyler. “We are energized and excited to work with Family Channel as we tell stories for the new post-millennial teen cohort known as Generation Z, most of whom weren’t even born when Degrassi returned in 2001.”

Degrassi: Next Class is a pull-no-punches dramatic series that tackles the real-life issues of high school students. Telling the stories of “Generation Z,” the series focuses on a group of teens as they begin their journey into adulthood. Pushing their own limits and testing the bonds of family and friends, the students each find their own way to deal with a range of issues: from homophobia, racism, substance abuse and violence to burgeoning sexuality, body issues, heartbreak and the complications of dating in the social media age. The series strives to entertain its post-millennial audience while always reinforcing its core principle: You are not alone.

Keeping true to the spirit of Degrassi that generations have known and loved since 1980, Degrassi: Next Class takes the 485 episode franchise into its next iteration and remains the longest running dramatic television series in Canadian history.

The new installment will see popular cast members reprise their roles including:

  • Amanda Arcuri as Lola Pacini;
  • Reiya Downs as Shay Powers;
  • Ana Golja as Zoe Rivas;
  • Nikki Gould as Grace Cardinal;
  • Ricardo Hoyos as Zig Novak;
  • Ehren Kassam as Jonah Haak;
  • Andre Kim as Winston Chu;
  • Lyle Lettau as Tristan Milligan;
  • Spencer Macpherson as Hunter Hollingsworth;
  • Eric Osborne as Miles Hollingsworth III;
  • Olivia Scriven as Maya Matlin;
  • Sara Waisglass as Frankie Hollingsworth; and
  • Richard Walters as Deon “Tiny” Bell.

The Degrassi franchise is currently celebrating the 35th anniversary. Degrassi: Next Class is produced by DHX Media’s Epitome Pictures, in association with Family Channel and Netflix. The series was co-created by Linda Schuyler who is also Executive Producer with Stephen Stohn, Sarah Glinski and Matt Huether.

About Family Channel
Family Channel offers the best in family television entertainment in a premium, commercial-free environment. Dedicated to celebrating family life and providing a daily vacation for children and their families, Family airs a unique mix of top-rated Canadian and Disney series, movies and specials.

Family Channel subscribers also have access to Family OnDemand and Family OnLine at no additional cost, to see hit movies and series when they want them, where they want them.

Visit us at Family.ca. Family Channel is a part of DHX Television, a subsidiary of DHX Media.

About DHX Media
DHX Media Ltd. (www.dhxmedia.com), a key player internationally in the creation of content for families and children, is recognized globally for such brands as Yo Gabba Gabba!, Caillou, Teletubbies, In the Night Garden, Inspector Gadget, Johnny Test, Slugterra and the multi-award winning Degrassi franchise.

DHX Media Ltd. is the owner of Family Channel, the most-viewed children’s television channel in Canada, as well as the channels Disney Junior (English & French) and Disney XD in Canada.

The Company markets and distributes its library of more than 11,000 half-hours of entertainment programming worldwide, and licenses its owned properties through its dedicated consumer products business.

DHX Media Ltd.’s full-service international licensing agency, Copyright Promotions Licensing Group Ltd. (CPLG), represents numerous entertainment, sport and design brands.

DHX Media Ltd. has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Munich and Amsterdam, and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols DHX.A and DHX.B.

 

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Resiliance! A Great Trait For a Child To Have, and Also a Concern…


My oldest child has become VERY resilient!  This is a good trait to develop, but also has a pretty huge downside.  Can I explain how we’ve come to figure this out…

  • Kids can be mean.
  • Kids can also interpret the words and actions of others in a completely different way then it is intended.
  • Kids also don’t always fit in to their surroundings, we all know that, especially at school because who can predict what the best school is for a child before having an opportunity to learn about how your child learns and what they need.
  • How kids handle themselves – the only thing they can (presumably) control – can make the difference between them having a great time at school, or them being miserable every day.

After that, you either wind up with a resilient child who can take it and move forward, or it breaks your child and they either fade away or strike back.

Take, for example, this scenario:  My oldest son really wanted a pair or wrist bands.  Badly.  So when we found a pair at Dick’s Sporting Goods in NY, he was over the moon and he wore them to school every day… Every day until someone commented on the fact he wears them every day – and that comment might have been just a comment, or a judgement – but my son has not worn them every single day since.  In fact, he went a while without wearing them, but has slowly started to wear them where appropriate again.

He knows he has to be his individual and generally he does what he wants, but he felt they were poking fun at him, and he dealt with it by not wearing them at school.

Resilient?  Nope.

But it made him very aware of what others felt about him and he has always been quite very aware of his own self, so he adjusted his actions and his behaviour to fall in line with his peers as best as he could in order to stay under the radar.

Quite un-sporty, he even started playing sports with the sporty kids so that he could fit in better and while below the experience and skill of his classmates, they mostly tolerated his presence but he played anyways because he knew the only way he could improve was to play and get better.

From that came the courage to try out for the soccer team.  We were thrilled.  He didn’t make the team, but he tried and we were very supportive and encouraging, as were his friends.  Then they added him as a call-up and eventhough he played less that the other kids and the kids bugged him about that (“you really didn’t make the team”) – he went out, tried, and had fun.  By the last game of the season, ignoring all the comments from the other kids, he improved a lot and was on the top line with his best friend and the team’s best player.  They played a lot, and he got to show his skills.

I helped to coach by coming to the games and encouraging the kids, supporting the team and cheering them on.  I heard the comments and I felt bad for him, but he didn’t care.  It was less important than his opportunity to play in a team environment, learn the game and be one of the boys.

My oldest boy also swims… Well.   He has been in a pre-competitive program where he became the dark horse according to the program’s director.  He spent the first 4-6 weeks cruising along the side wall where he could, but by the end of the program, he was the top swimmer, and his breast stroke and back stroke were referred to as “a thing of beauty” and that he was “graceful” and “surprisingly strong”.

His first crack at competitive swimming saw him win his first 2 races by a substantial margin, and a second place finish in his third race because he stopped to see where the end of the pool was.  He cheers on his teammates, and in competitions, he cheers on everyone in the water.  He’s that kind of kid.

Just the other day was his year-end swim competition and again came 2 first place finishes, and then with a race right after his previous race, and double the distance, he swallowed some water and came in 3rd.

Incredible.

He’ll be joining a swim team next year!  He wants to go to the Olympics.  He gives partial credit to @HarveysCanada (more in a future post).

He had an opportunity to swim for his school and he was really excited about it, until a kids in his class told him that “swimming was stupid, you get a better workout playing hockey”.  It crushed him… For a day or two, but instead of arguing and debating the issue, he recognized it was factually incorrect and he chose to leave it alone and move on.

He went to the school swim meet as one of only 2 boys there and he swam against kids much bigger and stronger than him, and he came in 3rd in the races he competed in.  He was thrilled, he were proud of him and the swim teacher saw this bright, sporty kid, step up and support his school.  Even the older girls at the meet cheered him on and supported him because he was an unknown to them and here he was at one point moving from last in a race to 2nd.  #Guts.

Now, he has found a love for baseball.

I love baseball.  LOVE it!  I never played but I should have!  I’m a pitcher to the core and I wanted to play but according to my parents, I never asked to play, so I did not.  Obviously, those days are behind me but I can live through my son, right?  :)

My son tried out for the school softball team and didn’t make the starting squad – there were kids from both grades who has played in leagues in previous years which he did not, but he was added as a call-up.  He cannot go to any of those games because they conflict with his hardball baseball season which he just stated and his swimming program.

I was concerned that being left off the school team might hurt his confidence more than it would fire him up, but I was wrong.  He has started this season – his first – on fire and he is tearing things up.  His first game he went 2 for 3 and stole a base.  His second game 2 for 4 with 2 stolen bases and his third game he got to pitch and in the 2 innings he pitched, he struck out 4 and got the save as his team won the game.  He followed that up by going 1 for 3 and by throwing out a running at home from right field.

His baseball coach loves him!  With a little more practice, his coach figures he might be the team’s best pitcher.  He already throws hard and is very accurate.  In his eagerness to put the ball in play, he struck out twice last game watching the ball sail out of the strike zone but called a strike by the umpire.  By not watching baseball, he doesn’t know things like that can happen.  He’ll learn.

He doesn’t tell the kids on his school team, nor does he mention it to his gym teacher, but he humbly accepts that he’s good at baseball and he loves being part of the team.  He’s been a great teammate, and he’s been a cheerleader on the bench in between innings.  He has showed his empathetic-side when one of his teammates got hit by the ball and was hurt, by going over to check on him right away.

He has turned negative situation after negative situation into positive ones and I tip my hat to him.

But with the good comes the bad, and the biggest concern with a resilient kids, is the internalizing.

The appearance that he’s okay with all of the negatives, and the accepting of being treated this way can have serious long-term ramifications as he learns to ignore poor treatment and convince himself that that it’s okay.  It absolutely bothers him, and he absolutely keeps it all in at that moment.

One day he’ll need to speak to a professional or I worry that he will snap.

I’m glad that most of this revolves around physical activity and I hope he will be able to channel this frustration into energy to perform better at whatever sport he is playing, but until that happens I worry that these disappointments will impact his ability to enjoy sports and he’ll be too worried worrying about what others will say if he does not succeed to play well and enjoy the game.

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