Kendra grew up too fast. At 12, she'd do her homework while caring for her twin with non-verbal autism. She'd cook dinner while helping her older brother, living with a severe learning disability, make sense of his school work. At 14, her father died from cancer suddenly, and she assumed even more responsibility.
Behind the barbed wire fence at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, 50 kilometres east of Vancouver, is a state of the art nursery. It's one of the only mother-child units in a Canadian prison system that leaves many children without mothers.
Language trees like Algonquian, Athapaskan and Inuktitut drove their roots into this country millennia before a word of English or French was spoken here. Today, there are more than 60 distinct indigenous languages in Canada. Teaching non-indigenous Canadians would build bridges.
Amidst the shrubbery and tool displays at this year's Canada Blooms event, a landscaped pathway will tell the story of Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy who died fleeing his residential school in 1966.
After her assault, the police officer handling Sarah's case invited her to a meeting. A CSIS agent was there. Would she be willing to go undercover, inside a hate group, using her fiancé's connections to get information? There would be no pay. No police protection. Still, Sarah volunteered.
Ask most Canadians about black history and they'll tell you about slavery in America, victories of the Civil Rights Movement and the giants who led it. But what about Canada? Mathieu Da Costa, a renowned translator hired by Samuel de Champlain, was the first recorded black person in the country.
Family Day is thus far a holiday without a tradition. Rather than retreat into separate rooms in the February darkness or risk it becoming just another greeting card holiday, let's imbue this unclaimed occasion with a tradition of giving. Not giving gifts, but giving back as a family to our communities.
Civics means learning about citizenship -- how our nation is governed, and our rights and duties as Canadians. It's a subject we believe is every bit as vital as math or science. Yet, across much of Canada, civics is tucked away in high school history or social studies curriculums.
We need to hear tales that move beyond stereotypes to challenge and teach. These stories are out there - indigenous people have been telling them for generations, but too often we haven't listened.
Years ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu counselled us not to get discouraged by disheartening news headlines. Instead, think of them as a to-do list for changing the world, he said. As we look to 2017, we're taking that advice, focusing on positive outcomes and galvanized communities instead of lamenting past events.