When I was supply teaching I noticed that no matter how different each school was, there was one thing that was always the same. While everyone knew that respect is important, there was so much confusion around how to build respect. All these kids had so much to feel good about. It was devastating to see how many had low self-esteem, were affected by bullying, gave into peer pressure and were trying to fit in by being ‘the same’ as everyone else. But every once in a while I’d meet a student who was open to learn and share with others and wasn’t afraid of being different, making mistakes or trying something new.
Interested in figuring out what these kids had in common, I realized it had nothing to do with age, ability, gender, ethnic or cultural identity, or socio-economic background and everything to do with understanding the power of and importance of something unique inside of EVERYBODY.
I became a full-time teacher and soon saw how much not knowing how to build respect got in the way of my students reaching their potential. I was passionate about finding a solution. By giving everyone in my class a vehicle to discover their interests—and put them into action to help others through what has become the Who Is NOBODY? program—my students experienced a sense of purpose, belonging, and the lasting happiness that EVERYBODY has inside of them to build.
This is the personal impact of the Who Is NOBODY? project. The global impact is that: change starts with kids. Whether it’s global warming, child labour, the ethical treatment of animals or any of the other countless issues we are trying to fix in the world, the best way to start is to get people to experience how easy and fun it is to help others at an early age. Who Is NOBODY? supports any group of people in discovering that ANYBODY can make a difference because EVERYBODY is SOMEBODY™ who the world needs.
To date, over 42,000 participants have made over 42,000 unique donations of time, materials and funds while creating awareness for hundreds of local, national and international organizations and causes that impact people, animals and the environment.
In 2008 I was honoured to be a recipient of a Rotary Youth Impact Award. In 2012 it meant a lot to me to receive a Paul Harris Fellowship awarded by Rotary International. Rotary focuses on prevention by supporting programs that encourage literacy, youth at risk and service above self.
Recently I started my own Who Is NOBODY? Project. Throughout high school and university I was preoccupied by trying to lose weight. Sadly, this experience is not unique. One in 4 teen girls are preoccupied by some degree of disordered eating and spend between 20% and 100% of their waking hours thinking about food, weight and hunger. As well, 67% of women aged 14 to 64 withdraw from life-engaging activities, such as going to school, giving an opinion or visiting a doctor because they feel badly about the way they look. Preoccupation with weight is an epidemic.
I got healthy 18 years ago. After I understood what happened I wrote a book called: It took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds. It’s about the 3 steps that helped me get and stay healthy so that I can focus on my real goals. And that’s the goal of my book. We’re losing too many wonderful people, male and female, who can make a difference in the world because of their preoccupation with weight. We need people to get mentally and physically healthy so they can discover their interests and use them to make the world better.
If you wish, you can read more about my Who Is NOBODY? Project here. Thank you!
EVERYBODY is SOMEBODY.