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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Puns to Ponder

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 17, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Ponders on Puns - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Brikena Ribaj Ponders on Puns – Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

By Brikena Ribaj

Tip of the hat to Chris for the pointer. He and I have such a great time together playing with language. I thought I’d share with you all what he just sent my way.

Enjoy. And as a medievalist, my very favorite would have to be number one.

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Pet Shop Boys and Nietsche?!?!

In Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 15, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Comments on the Pet Shop Boys

Brikena Ribaj Comments on the Pet Shop Boys

By Brikena Ribaj

I often refer to the music-loving Socrates as Nietzsche portrays him in his work Birth of Tragedy. Music is the best form of language, per Socrates. And I concur fully not just because it is Socrates’ attitude per Nietzsche but because I happen to share the same attitude experientially. So, those who get mad over not getting showered with attention when music is playing an active part in the discourse need to, well, find other ways to cope.

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The Radio Call

In Education, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on February 14, 2017 at 3:00 AM
When It Comes To AIDS, It Is Better to Light A Candle - Photo Courtesy of StockExpert

When It Comes To AIDS, It Is Better to Light A Candle – Photo Courtesy of StockExpert

It was a Saturday afternoon and the radio was on. I was living in Uganda in the fall of 1996 and the winter of 1997. The radio was calling out a list of names. I could not understand why.

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Creating Things: Profile of Roger McTair (Originally Published on Impowerage.com)

In book reviews, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on February 13, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Roger McTair Creates Magic - Photo Courtesy of Seneca College's Website

Roger McTair Creates Magic – Photo Courtesy of Seneca College’s Website

Roger McTair is a director, poet, professor and writer who lives in Toronto, Canada. He has had short stories air on CBC Radio and BBC Radio.

He was born in Trinidad and Tobago on October 7, 1943. Not having much to do while growing up galvanized his love of creating things.

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Study Finds New Technology For Fossil Fuels Can Cut CO2

In Business, Culture, Education, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on February 12, 2017 at 12:00 PM
EPRI Did a Revealing Study on Electricity - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

EPRI Did a Revealing Study on Electricity – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

A study by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has found the replacement of fossil fuels technology with electric ones would result in energy savings. The energy savings are as high as 71.7 quadrillion BTUs.

These savings would cut CO2 by 4,400 million tons between 2009 and 2030.

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The Inkwell – Selection from Upcoming Book Stories in Red and Yellow

In Beauty, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 7, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Larenz Tate is the Star of the Movie The Inkwell

Larenz Tate is the Star of the Movie The Inkwell – Photo Courtesy of Starpulse.com

Set in 1976, this movie features the staple afros, braids and other various styles of Black hair at that time. The interesting thing of note is that the family of Drew Tate, the main character in the movie, are depicted as working class and activist.

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Listen`in (Defunct Proposal to the CBC) – Selections from Upcoming Book Stories in Red and Yellow

In Business, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on February 6, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Paul da Silva and Donna Kakonge Worked on a Creative Concept Called Listen'in - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

Paul da Silva and Donna Kakonge Worked on a Creative Concept Called Listen’in – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

A proposal for a thirteen part series exploring issues of race,

culture, and identity. The series will provide a forum for discussions on these topical issues through a Documentary approach as well as through discussions in an informal, and relaxed setting amongst people who are both well informed and passionate about these issues. The setting could be in a community, a cultural setting.

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Suggestions for Ethnic Newspapers – Selections from Upcoming book Stories in Red and Yellow

In Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on February 5, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Ethnic Newspapers Can Help You to Discover Many Things - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

Ethnic Newspapers Can Help You to Discover Many Things – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

Suggested Publications

*Aboriginal Voices
$45/2 years
-geared towards examining Native North American culture

*Atin Ito
$30/year
-Filipino publication has one of the highest circulations

*First Perspective
$24.95 – $26.70
-a national newspaper highligting a variety of events concerning Aboriginal
people
-also notes political events and issues

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Blue Death: A five-part series by the Teeny Tracer on how protestors are destroying money and lives at Dump Site 52

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 3, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Does a Parody on a Dumpsite - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

Rachel Muenz Does a Parody on a Dumpsite – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

The plight of North Comise garbage: Part one of a five-part series

By Zema Luncher

In homes across North Comise County, the garbage bag is kept hidden from sight in cupboards or garages, unable to socialize with the families it lives with and treated as less than the family dog. After a week, it is stuffed into a bin and left for hours until it is hurled into a truck for a long, crowded journey to an even more crowded landfill. Here, it is dumped in piles with thousands of other bags, left to be torn apart by seagulls, crows and other scavengers, never knowing the taste of clean water or the smell of fresh air.

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Ottawa Woman Loves Shea Butter Market Products

In Beauty, Culture, Education, Environment, Health, Living, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 2, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Citrus is Just One of the Many Flavours of the Shea Butter Market Lip Balm Products - Photo Courtesy of SheaButterMarket.com

Citrus is Just One of the Many Flavours of the Shea Butter Market Lip Balm Products – Photo Courtesy of SheaButterMarket.com

Christen Bennett, in her early 30s, is a family friend of Gifty Serbeh-Dunn, owner of the Shea Butter Market company. For a time while in Ottawa, Serbeh-Dunn lived with Bennett’s family. Out of friendship and a deep belief in shea butter, Bennett tries to promote the Shea Butter Market products in the Ottawa region.

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SO IS THIS IT?

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on January 31, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Hyacinth Harewood's Poem Illustrates the Struggles of Life - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Hyacinth Harewood’s Poem Asks So Is This It? – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

By Hyacinth Harewood

I’m a parasite on an interminable past that will outlast my gourmet greed,
I’m Tantalus in consummation, never stopping eating – under the curse of my past.
Yesterday’s spices drive me to wishing wells of the future that never fulfill water,
Not a drip from the cup to the caking lip.

Come tomorrow ….
Tomorrow never comes,
Intercepted by an interfering today.

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Kiddie Card Whiz (Originally Aired on CJOH-TV)

In Business, Creative Writing, Education, Living, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on January 30, 2017 at 12:00 PM

This story aired back in 1993 with CJOH-TV in Ottawa, Canada while I was doing my undergraduate work in journalism at Carleton University. I was on internship there and found out about a 7-year-old at the time who had his own business:

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Financial degradation at Site 52 puts species at risk: Part three of a five-part series

In Business, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on January 29, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Rachel Muenz Continues With Part Three of Her Series on Garbage - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Rachel Muenz Continues With Part Three of Her Series on Garbage – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

By Zema Luncher

Protests at Site 52 are putting a severe strain on the financial ecosystem, damaging the habitats of taxpayers and politicians, says Comise County Warden Tom Gudgeon.

Blockades at the proposed dump site in Teeny Township are not only harming these species but the protestors as well, he added.

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Brainwashed by Site 52 protestors: Part four of a five-part series

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on January 28, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Writes About a Character That Loves Garbage in Part Four of Her Series - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Rachel Muenz Writes About a Character That Loves Garbage in Part Four of Her Series – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

By Zema Luncher

Charlene Rawston used to love garbage. Instead of keeping it in bins or in the garage, she kept the bags in the living room where she could talk to them and share stories. When Site 52 was first proposed she wholeheartedly supported it, happy that other bags like her close friends would finally have a proper home. But then the protestors came and everything changed.

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How to Start Studying Abroad

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on November 19, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Studying abroad is an excellent experience – if you get the opportunity it is worth it in so many ways. Here are some tips on how you can start to plan for studying abroad.

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Instructions on Making Toilet Paper Puppets

In Education, Entertainment, Environment, Writing (all kinds) on November 17, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Once These Are Done - Toilet Paper Puppet Dolls

Once These Are Done – Toilet Paper Puppet Dolls

I was walking to Chester Public School in Toronto, part of what is commonly known by most Torontonians as Greektown. My family lived in a two-bedroom apartment and there were five of us. My Mom and Dad were in one room and my brother, sister and I had the other room. Three single beds all stacked up side-by-side – wow…did we ever have fun having easy access to our siblings as play partners. I do not remember there being a lot of room for toys. We did get very creative though. Finished toilet paper rolls became puppet dolls. You see, there is an art form to making puppet dolls with finished toilet paper rolls.

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Corporation Gives Computers to School

In Business, Education, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on November 15, 2016 at 3:00 AM

A leading global talent development corporation will be providing computers and computer aided education to more than 2,005 schools in Andra Pradesh in India. The value of this funding is Rs 1728 million.

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Excerpt from Spiderwoman

In book reviews, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on November 11, 2016 at 3:00 AM
This is the Cover Art for the Book Spiderwoman - Photo From Dreamstime.com

This is the Cover Art for the Book Spiderwoman - Photo From Dreamstime.com

Spiderwoman is the third book that I officially published, actually the fourth if you include the short story I did for Headlight Anthology. This book was a long process that started with stories I did in a Carleton University creative writing class with Tom Henighan. You can buy the book at: http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

It’s A Great Deal

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Restaurant Reviews, Technology, travel, Uncategorized, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on November 8, 2016 at 3:00 AM
This is the Cover Art for the Book The Write Heart - Photo From Dreamstime.com

This is the Cover Art for the Book The Write Heart - Photo From Dreamstime.com

Can you imagine that I am offering free life coaching on any of your life’s challenges for the low, low cost of one book sale from you? Yes – this is not a gimmick – it is true.

We can do the life coaching through email if you are long distance, or we could do it over the phone if you are local. We can also use such services as MSN and Yahoo Messenger if you prefer a more instant approach to the life coaching. I look forward to hearing from you. Make your dreams come true!

Books You Can Buy With Free Life Coaching

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Events, Health, Living, Writing (all kinds) on November 7, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Cover Art for Story Ideas - Help For Writer's Block by Donna Kakonge - Photo from Dreamstime.com

Cover Art for Story Ideas - Help For Writer's Block by Donna Kakonge - Photo from Dreamstime.com

Donna Kakonge has written 25 books that you can choose from along with FREE  life coaching for your challenges in life. You can contact her at: dkakonge@sympatico.ca to find out more.

Muttluks to the rescue!

In Culture, Education, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Pets, travel, Writing (all kinds) on November 6, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Writes About Muttlucks for Dogs - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Rachel Muenz Writes About Muttlucks for Dogs - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

By Rachel Muenz

They protect your feet from extreme cold when playing in the snow. Military personnel use them to keep the pads of their feet from burning up on the hot ground of Afghanistan. Broken glass and other hazards won’t hurt you because of these boots. You are a dog, after all, and you don’t always pay attention to where you’re walking whether you’re just fooling around or saving lives.

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Simply People Festival to Celebrate Disabilities

In Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Writing (all kinds) on November 4, 2016 at 3:00 AM
The Simply People Festival is Happening on July 21st - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

The Simply People Festival is Happening on July 21st - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Simply people was formed about five years ago after forming CANWAPPS. CANWAPPS stands for Canada-wide Accessibility for Post-secondary Students. This is a national non-profit organization that is geared towards increasing accessibility and inclusion for post-secondary students with disabilities.

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My Brother

In Education, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on November 3, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Pays Tribute to His Brother - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Nick Goodwin Pays Tribute to His Brother - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I don’t see as much of my brother as I would like to, however, we got together for my aunt’s wedding and Father’s Day the day after. He’s busy working all summer. It has been weird being away from home. It has been especially weird since when I do visit home I notice the changes. My brother going away to school and then away working hard. My younger brother, I had considered the day we would both leave home but I was never ready for it.

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Shoes of mass destruction

In Education, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on November 2, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Some People Will Do Anything to Blow Things Up - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Some People Will Do Anything to Blow Things Up - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Rachel Muenz

It begins with a flash of light just below the windows of the aircraft. Then, the fuselage buckles outward and bursts into thousands of pieces which flutter to the ground like shreds of paper. A cloud of thick smoke engulfs half the plane. A shot from inside shows the craft rocking to one side as the floor begins to disintegrate, the camera lens going black as everything is destroyed.

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Hopeton Interview

In Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Music, Writing (all kinds) on October 31, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Interviews Hopeton LaTouche From the Remix Project - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin Interviews Hopeton LaTouche From the Remix Project - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I recently interviewed another participant in “The Remix Project”. His name is Hopeton.

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Muay Thai

In Culture, Education, Health, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 28, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin is Discovering Muay Thai Boxing - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin is Discovering Muay Thai Boxing - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I have begun researching the art of Muay Thai boxing. The reason being is because I have been given the opportunity to create a mural on the wall of a soon-to-be Muay Thai boxing studio. The Remix Project has given me the opportunity to help with the creation of this mural.

So far, I have learned a few basics in regards to the history and importance of Muay Thai boxing. Muay Thai was born in Thailand. The practice of this fighting technique dates way back to a more primal time. It was originally formed as a technique that the people of Thailand could use to defend themselves from neighbouring countries that had the intentions of invasion. One of the most unique factors is that the techniques of Muay Thai have always been passed on orally rather than through documentation or written instruction. There are few written records.

Muay Thai is a large part of Thai culture. Even in times of peace, the military leaders encouraged the practice of these self-defense techniques. In this cultural environment many people choose to make a living through Muay Thai competitively. In some cases of poverty it is some people’s last resort of survival.

Like any sport, over time it has evolved and become a little safer and more commercial. Still, Muay Thai boxing is a part of the Thai culture that continues to affect the whole world.

I am excited to post more details on this subject as my knowledge and experience increases.

No country for shoe schools

In Beauty, Education, Living, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 26, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Has Discovered There Are No Shoe Schools in Canada - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Rachel Muenz Has Discovered There Are No Shoe Schools in Canada - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Rachel Muenz

There are no shoe design schools in Canada and you can blame that on our climate.

Because of our ever-changing weather, Canadians tend to put function over fashion, according to Sarah Beam-Borg, the assistant curator at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. “North Americans, traditionally, haven’t been sticklers for beautiful manufacture in footwear also because we need so many different kinds of shoes for our climate,” she says.

There’s a saying at the Bata Shoe Museum, Beam-Borg adds. The average Italian is willing to spend up to $500 for a single pair of beautiful shoes and they’ll have about 10 pairs of shoes in their closet.

The average North American will spend about $70 for a fashionable pair of shoes but they’ll have 30 or 40 pairs in their closet.

Canadians need winter boots, summer sandals, footwear for wet weather, shoes for work, and shoes for play. Paying $500 for each pair would put most people in the poorhouse.
As a result, we don’t worry about style so much and Canada has never gained a reputation for fashion.

“We have our own Fashion Week but Canada isn’t really a fashion centre on the world stage,” says Beam-Borg. “It isn’t known for its footwear design or manufacture and never has been.”

Most shoe manufacture is done in China where labour is cheapest and most of the design is done in Italy, seen as one of the major fashion centres of Europe, Beam-Borg says.
There’s also been little interest in shoe design programs here.
Beam-Borg has worked with the Ryerson University fashion department for the last six or seven years doing shoe design competitions with the students. When the competitions were mandatory, 150 students would show up, but as soon as shoe design was made optional, only nine came to compete.
“Unless it’s a course requirement, students aren’t seeking it out,” she says.

As far as Beam-Borg knows, no one has tried to establish a shoe design school or program in Canada and she doubts anyone ever will.

Greg Flood also says no one has tried setting one up in Ontario.

Flood, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, says if post-secondary schools in Ontario saw shoe design as necessary, they would submit curriculum and criteria for a shoe program to the ministry for funding.

No such submission has been put forward.

“I’m not aware at the present time about a university or college that has identified shoe design as a need within the province of Ontario,” he says.

But, there is one program that focuses on shoes in Canada and it fits perfectly with the North American desire for needs over style.

It is the post-graduate program in pedorthics at Western University.

Pedorthics involves the making of special shoes and inserts for people with foot injuries or ailments. Those who practice it are called pedorthists.

All aspiring pedorthists must take this program.

“Anybody new now entering into this field must graduate and get a diploma through Western,” says Linda Deschamps, a certified pedorthist and kinesiologist who’s also an instructor in the program.

Before, students did an apprenticeship program which involved three years of work to get certified. Deschamps says the new program is better because it is more objective and faster to finish, taking only one year to complete.

With Canada’s aging population, you would think a single program wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the demand for pedorthists’ skills, but Deschamps says this isn’t so.

“If it was just pedorthists that were dealing with the aging feet, it would not be enough,” she says from her clinic in Kingston, Ontario. “But there are other Allied Health Professionals who also deal with the feet.”

Orthotists, who make custom inserts for shoes, chiropodists, who treat foot diseases and deformities, and podiatrists who also care for the foot, are some of the other professionals helping to deal with the increasing foot problems that come with age.

The program at Western is also open to people all across Canada because the courses are offered online with three work terms in between that can be taken almost anywhere in the country.

It was started by one of the first Canadian certified pedorthists, the late Howard Fiegel, and is in its fifth year. Only about 20 students are accepted and around 12 to 20 graduate each year. But, there are advantages to staying small.

“They’re not high numbers from our course but these are very strong students who help another clinic along the way and eventually open up their own,” Deschamps says. “We could take more but those are the numbers that appear to be good candidates.”

She says the program is growing slowly because pedorthics is not a well-known field, having only been in Canada for about 30 years. There are now around 400 pedorthists registered with the Pedorthic Association of Canada.
This slow growth does have its positives though.

“In some ways it’s a very good thing because we have control over the students that come through and the product that leaves in the end,” Deschamps says.

She expects the program will expand to another university in the future, possibly in western Canada, but says it probably won’t get bigger than that.

Also, a second program isn’t likely to open soon.
“There’s only one program because of numbers, because of financing, because of the need at this point,” says the pedorthist, who was certified 17 years ago through an apprenticeship. “We’ve looked into it, [. . . ] but at this point, numbers are only dictating the need for one.”
There are negatives to those low numbers as well.
“If we had larger numbers applying, of course, it would allow us to open more doors and offer more because, financially, we would be more feasible as well,” Deschamps says.
Overall, she says the program is a great one to be in.
“It’s a very strong, young program,” Deschamps says.
As for Canadians interested in the fashion side, there are still options.

Beam-Borg says people usually go to schools in other countries, such as Cordwainers, a shoe design school in London, England.

“You go where the best education is and [. . .], Canada’s never been a traditional place for shoe design or shoe manufacture,” she says.

But she agrees it is difficult for people who don’t have a lot of money to afford the cost of a foreign education. The one-year, post-graduate shoe design program at the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing in California costs $30,000 in tuition.

“If you can’t afford to go then perhaps you can’t be a shoe designer, which sociologically is a problem, absolutely,” Beam-Borg says. “But I think if you have the skill, a lot of people also get bursaries and grants.”

Many people could also take a fashion illustrations program in Canada and then get into shoe design by gaining experience at a fashion house or shoe design company in the U.S. or Europe, Beam-Borg says. There are three such programs in Toronto at Seneca College, Humber College, and Ryerson.

“If you want to do shoe design, fashion illustration seems to be the quickest way to get into that vein,” Beam-Borg says. “If shoes catch your fancy, odds are really good if you can draw a shirt, you can draw a shoe.”

Courses Offered at New Opportunties Learning Centre

In Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on October 21, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Starting July 5, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Isabella and Church Streets in Toronto, I will be offering a writing course costing $40.00 for nine weeks. This special course will also include elements of self-publishing.  If you would like to attend the nine-week course, please contact me at: dkakonge@sympatico.ca ASAP. Space is limited to the first 10 registrants.

Need help? Just give me a call with tobacco

In Business, Culture, Education, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on October 17, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Writes About Tobacco - Photo: MorgueFile.com

Rachel Muenz Writes About Tobacco - Photo: MorgueFile.com

By: Rachel Muenz

Before I climbed to the third floor of the North Borden Building on Spadina, I thought tobacco was bad. But now I know that it can be good, depending on how you use it. Tobacco can help students like me get the confidence they need to make their dreams soar.

It is here at the University of Toronto’s First Nations House where I meet Grafton Antone, one of two Aboriginal elders there, to talk about the work he does with students at U of T. In exchange for that information, I must give him a tiny packet of tobacco wrapped in yellow cloth.

Antone explains tobacco is sacred in Aboriginal culture because it is how natives communicate with Creator, their supreme being, when they need guidance.

“The smoke carries our prayers up to Creator and Creator said, ‘if you want anything, just give me a call and here’s my telephone,’ says Antone, holding up a piece of dried tobacco and laughing. This is why elders are given tobacco in exchange for information and counselling. It’s a way of asking for help.
Students can also bring the elders other gifts. Antone shows me the large block of pink salt stone he got from a student earlier that day who told him it came from Pakistan. He turns it in his hands so I can see the hole in the top where a candle can be put inside and lit to make the stone glow.

Just like lighting the salt stone, Antone helps feed the fires of students’ dreams with his booming laugh and encouraging words so they can shine with success.

“I work with people’s dreams and make them happen,” says Antone, who’s been an elder at First Nations House since about the year 2000.

Antone shows me how he does this by asking students questions and learning what their dreams are. Knowing a bit more about students, he can then bounce ideas off them for how they can go about achieving those dreams.

“That’s where we build; we build on our relationship,” Antone says. “We build on our conversations and that’s what I do. I dialogue with you and in dialoguing with you I’m able to work with you.”

But there’s only so much Antone can do to help a student. Overall, the student needs to have a goal and has to want to achieve that goal in order for Antone to give them guidance.
“A bird needs to have a dream to fly,” he says.

Kathy Marsden agrees. She’s been the native counsellor at the Aboriginal Resource Centre at Georgian College in Barrie for the past 12 years.

“If they’re [the students] not internally motivated, nobody can motivate them to change,” Marsden says. “The support services are about empowering, helping them to work things through themselves, not doing things for them.”

Like Antone, Marsden also uses Aboriginal teachings to help native students at the college. Her main way of helping students is by using what she calls “the medicine wheel approach.”

The medicine wheel is another important symbol of most First Nations, though it differs from group to group. It is a wheel divided into four sections: red, black, white, and yellow. The wheel stands for many different things, but Marsden’s counselling methods focus on the four parts of the self the wheel symbolizes: spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental.
Marsden mostly deals with the emotional part in her counselling but she says the four areas overlap.

“If someone’s under emotional stress, it’s affecting them in all those other areas,” she says. “It’s affecting them mentally, so they can’t concentrate on their academics. It’s affecting them physically; oftentimes they can’t sleep, so I don’t just deal with the emotional part.”

Balance is the aim of Marsden’s approach. She has students fill out a medicine wheel chart to show which of the four areas they need to work on. Eating well and getting enough exercise are some of the things she might help a student with in the physical part, while self-confidence issues could be a part of both the emotional and spiritual sections of the wheel.
“Depending on how lengthy the sessions are we may just deal with one specific aspect,” Marsden says. “But that’s OK. If it helps them get on with their lives, then that’s great.”

Helping students with those emotional problems can be hard.
Antone says that every single student that comes to see him is a difficult case in its own way, but it’s especially hard when the student is angry. Surprisingly, to help students get past their anger, he eggs them on to make them angrier.

“Sometimes when people are angry, it sometimes requires you to get a little bit more angry ‘til you realize that maybe that’s not really the right thing,” he says. “They catch themselves, they calm down and then I’m able to talk to them and maybe bring them down the good path.” The good path can mean forgiving people and treating them better instead of being mad, Antone adds.

Marsden agrees that anger shouldn’t be ignored even though most people see it as a negative emotion.

“The way we look at it is, all our emotions are given to us by Creator so we have to honour all those emotions and it’s how we deal with them that counts,” she says.

Smudging ceremonies are also a way that elders and native counsellors might help students deal with stress and other problems.

In his tiny office at First Nations House with the window open a crack, Antone shows me how smudging is done.

He takes a large shell from a table at the back of the room and sprinkles some grey-white sage leaves into it. He lights them on fire and smoke begins to curl up to the ceiling. I sweep the smoke over myself with my hands three or four times as Antone says for me to do. It has a spicy sweet smell and, as Antone says, “it makes you want to start cooking turkey.”

Aboriginals believe everyone has an energy surrounding them. The smoke from the sage or other plants First Nations use in smudging, such as sweetgrass, works like a shower to wash away negative energy, Antone says.

“What it does is it works with the thinking. It’s good for people and it’s supposed to bring understanding and it’s supposed to clear your mind,” he says. “And in the clearing of the mind it gives a new space, a new time, a new beginning for you to be able to walk the future.”

I feel calmer after bathing myself in the sage smoke and wish I had known about smudging during my last set of assignments.
But smudging doesn’t work for everybody.

“You only get out of it what you put into it,” Antone says.
He adds that postsecondary education is a kind of smudging, because by gaining knowledge, the energy around people changes too.

Learning about the Aboriginal worldview helps students with their personal growth, says Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, an Aboriginal studies professor at the University of Toronto.
Unlike mainstream society, the native viewpoint focuses on the success of everyone as a group rather than the success of one person, Wesley-Esquimaux says.

“When it’s all about you and all you’re concerned about is getting to the top of the game, then you don’t care who you step on,” she says. “Whereas with the Aboriginal worldview it’s not like that, it’s not competitive, it’s about trying to help each other get to a good place.”

By thinking of helping other people instead of just themselves, students not only become better people, they also become part of a community, Wesley-Esquimaux adds. Because of this, they avoid the loneliness and homesickness students often experience when they first get to university or college. Taking part in native community activities like potlucks and feasts means that students gain the support of many people and aren’t left on their own to deal with the transition to university or college.

“They [the students] seem to enjoy the inclusive nature of it. They like being involved in putting together feasts and spending a lot of time with each other,” she says. “They like that part. They don’t feel so isolated.”

Marsden says this idea of community and getting students involved is important at Georgian College as well. Though her counselling services are just for native students, the Aboriginal Resource Centre, like First Nations House, also has events and activities for all students and they have an elder on campus who everyone can visit for help.

“We’re not exclusive, we’re inclusive and that’s a huge factor,” Marsden says.

Changing students’ ways of thinking either through seeing an elder or learning more about Aboriginal culture can help them overcome seemingly impossible challenges at school, Antone says.

“It is not impossible, it’s only the space that you’re sitting in or the environment that you’re engulfed in . . . if we move you over just that much,” he says, holding his hands about an inch apart, “All of a sudden you say, ‘Oh I can see it, I understand it now.”

With a bit of nudging, students see solutions to problems that they were blind to before.

Talking with students and hearing their stories is what Antone enjoys most about working at First Nations House.
“I like to listen to people and I hear their stories. That’s how I can get a story.”

But it also makes him happy when he sees students carrying on what he’s taught them by performing various First Nations ceremonies themselves.

Passing on knowledge is what he really seems to love.
“I changed you,” he says with a laugh. “I smudged you. You’re no longer the same person as you were when you came in here.

You now have an access to the Aboriginal understanding.”
It’s true.

When I first climbed to the third floor of the North Borden Building on Spadina, I was nervous and scared. I didn’t know what First Nations culture was, though I’d read a lot about it.
Now I know a little something, and as I walk away from First Nations House, up the dreary wet street, I’m happy and confident. I know more about who I am.

All because of a little bundle of tobacco wrapped in yellow cloth.

Remix

In Education, Health, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 11, 2016 at 3:00 AM
The Remix Project Has Changed Nick Goodwin's Life

The Remix Project Has Changed Nick Goodwin's Life

By Nick Goodwin

So far, I have withheld the fact that I am an artist. I draw, paint, write, make music and play sports. My biggest exercise lately has been both graphic design and skateboarding.

The story goes like this. I was told about “The Remix Project” by a friend of mine. He told me he saw a little something about this organization on television. He thought it seemed right down my alley.

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New Opportunities Learning Centre Q & A

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on September 19, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Why do you think it is important for women to work together?

Women bring different approaches and perspectives to issues and tasks at the workplace. These have not for the most part been given much opportunity for practical application and recognition in today’s male dominated workplaces. There are still negative and trite stereotypes about the way women work together. More women working together with their successes to show can hopefully help eradicate these stereotypes.

How is working with women different from working with men?

It is hard not to fall into the same problem of stereotyping, so I only speak from my own experiences.

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Black History Gets a Seat in Classrooms (Originally Published in Centretown News)

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on September 9, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Few people know that Matthew DaCosta, black fisherman and Micmac interpreter for Samuel de Champlain, played a role in Canadian history.

Historical information on black Canadians is almost absent in our classrooms and libraries.

“I’m on a hunt now to try and find information (on black Canadian history), but I haven’t been very lucky,” says Marva Major-Cosper, Connaught School. “That gives an example of the need that’s out here because we don’t’ have a resource centre of information. It’s so necessary.”

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Association Helps Blacks (Originally Published in Centretown News)

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on September 8, 2016 at 3:00 AM

What does a business of frozen cassava and fresh crushed peppers have in common with a business of permed hair and painted toes? It’s the Black Business and Professional Association.

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You Can’t Clap With One Hand (Originally Published in NuBeing International)

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on August 28, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Five-year-old Heather Keogan smiles at the reflection in the mirror. Pushing her blonde hair off her face, she touches her blue nose and red cheeks. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The sound of African drums draws Heather’s attention away from the mirror.

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Brantford Boys (Originally Published with Young People’s Press)

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on August 27, 2016 at 3:00 AM

The greatest challenge to Big Brothers of Brantford and District is attracting volunteers, says executive director Pam Blackwood.

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Big Brother Little Brother (Originally Published for Young People’s Press)

In Education, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on August 26, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Charles may not see his Big Brother often, but he talks to him a lot – online that is.

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Amanda and her Big Sister (Originally Published with Young People’s Press)

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on August 25, 2016 at 3:00 AM

A typical preteen girl, Amanda enjoys going to the mall, socializing with her buddies and chatting long distance about life’s trials and tribulations with her Big Sister.

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AFRICAN CANADIAN HERITAGE ASSOCIATION (ACHA)

In Education, Writing (all kinds) on August 24, 2016 at 3:00 AM

By Louis March

ACHA is a non-profit and community supported organization, which operates a curriculum-based heritage program for families with children from five – 16 years of age. The programs objectives are achieved by including the seven principles of Kwanzaa in all the activities and events. The children are taught about the history of African people in Canada, Africa and the Diaspora. They learn this through the media of creative arts, classroom instruction and other real life applications.

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French Lessons with Dominique

In Business, Education, Writing (all kinds) on August 23, 2016 at 3:00 AM

You are more likely to make more money with your existing work if you know French. As well, if you are looking for work – knowing French increases your chances of getting a job and opens doors and opens opportunities for you.

Dominique is just the person to help you reach your goals with French. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced  – or even if you are fluent and just want someone to practice your written and spoken French with so you do not lose it in a city like Toronto – Dominique is your tutor.

She offers tutoring services in French. She is Quebecois, educated in Quebec at the bachelor’s level in translation and has several years of experience at this work. Her rate is $21.00/hr., however this can be negotiated if you are short on funds.

Do yourself a favour and learn French today with Dominique. She can be contacted at (416) 760-4635. Leave a message and she will get back to you right away.

Donna Magazine’s Updates

In Business, Creative Writing, Education, Music, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on August 4, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Donna Magazine has another site called Donna Magazine’s Updates at: http://kakonged.blogspot.com/. There you can find information on education matters. I also have another site at: http://donnasalonutopia.blogspot.com. This site is about beauty issues.

Donna Kakonge, owner of Donna Magazine, also has five new books out called School Works – Other Essays , Yes, School Works, Honest Psychic Chats, The Write Heart, Story Ideas: Help For Writer’s Block, Listening to Music, This is How the Egyptians Fell and Natural Beauty.  You can find out more about these books, as well as her others at http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged and Amazon.com.

For other entertainment related to Donna Magazine, you can check out her podcasts at: http://kakonged.podomatic.com.

Look out for more video on this site soon.

The Petition of Freelove Allen – aired February 7, 2002 for CBC National Radio Syndication

In Culture, Education, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on July 30, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Intro: Did you know that slavery didn’t just happen in the United States, but it happened in Canada too? If you didn’t, now you know. And you’re going to find out about a lot of aspects of black Canadian history with a four part series produced by Rob Corbett and written and narrated by Donna Kakonge.

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The Life of Mary Ann Shadd Cary for CBC National Radio Syndication

In Culture, Education, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on July 29, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Mary Ann Shadd Cary lived a multi-faceted life as a teacher, political activist, journalist and lawyer in the nineteenth century.

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Josiah Henson – February 2002 for CBC syndication, National Radio News

In Culture, Education, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on July 28, 2016 at 3:00 AM

“When my feet first touched the Canada shore, I threw my self on the ground, rolled in the sand, seized handfulls of it and kissed them and danced around, till, in the eyes of several who were present, I passed for a madman.”

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John Ware – February 2002 for CBC Syndication, National Radio News

In Culture, Education, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on July 26, 2016 at 3:00 AM

John Ware stands out in the cowboy history of Alberta. He was born into slavery in the American south around 1845. He spent his youth picking cotton in South Carolina.

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