When I met Joe Opatowski I was looking for a hero. My father had just died from cancer. I was 12-years-old and had read Craig Kielburger's book "Free the Children" and I suppose at the time, given my disposition with regards to my father's illness, I had grandiose questions and was looking for a hero.
Truth is, that wasn't normal by any means. As a society, our relationship with homeless people is simple; either you drop a coin or walk by. It's impossible to connect with people as people because we let ourselves get divided only by borders, but also by our occupations, social status, and other arbitrary self-imposed barriers.
One of my earliest memories as a child was going to Prince's Island Park in Calgary every June to walk The World Partnership Walk. Back then, I looked forward to it because we made it a family affair. I would head down to the park with my family and it seemed that in exchange for walking a mere 8 kilometers or so, I would receive a delicious chili lunch, have a chance to part in some fun activities, get my face painted and even come away with a few prizes (it was all well worth the stickers).
She'd never told me, but Tom not only drinks too much, he also berates Mary when she needs support, avoids her when she needs love, and stifles her when she needs to express herself. Over time she learned to cower and hide, until her voice became as faint and tentative as the yip of a puppy locked too long in the cellar.
If we Jews and all other citizens of humanity actually mean the words we speak when we say, "never again," then we must take a stand, today, and actively choose to care and to defend justice by celebrating the uncelebrated and by protecting and giving voice to the voiceless among us, and to say that hatred and intolerance, in any shape or form, no matter how small, has no place in this world.
Since its inception in January 2013, Facebook page Calgary Compliments has taken our city by storm. So what exactly is the purpose to a page like this? Unlike similar "confessions" pages which have been popping all over the interwebs, this compliments page is a civic outreach initiative to help Calgarians bond.
Robin Wiszowaty left the gleaming strip malls, street grids and coiffed lawns of suburban Illinois for the wilds of rural Kenya in 2002. And she's never looked back. What was meant to be a brief exchange from the University of Illinois to the small Nkoyet-naiborr community in Kenya's Maasai Mara has morphed into her life's adventure. Here, Robin Wiszowaty tells us how she fell in sync with the heartbeat of Africa, and how she found her home.
It's truly inspiring to witness the many philanthropists and social entrepreneurs creating change in the world. Many of us dream of such a thing but wouldn't know where to start and may not even feel deserving of doing such a thing. As Founder of End Sex Trafficking Day, I am only one example of how one voice and one idea can make a difference in the world. Your passion can lead you to do big things, here is how...