Another airplane … 

I swore the last time I did a red eye I wouldn’t do it again. But I really needed to be at work today so a red eye it is.  Starting an airport journey at 9 pm Monday night in Vancouver. It’s 1:30 EST on Tuesday and I am not there yet. (Not even wifi on my airplanes)

As crazy as it sounds – all the way to the State Capital in Florida to speak for Victims of Crime Week — with awards being given to survivors who live in that state. Just knowing that Amanda’s story and video have been included within an educational video on cyberbullying made by youth is being used across the whole state is inspiring.

25 hours on Florida soil. Then its back to Canada to speak in Hinton Alberta (which is 2.5 hours from Edmonton). It was all the way back in September of last year when Hinton Victim Support Services invited me to speak. And then I found out that Mike Leblanc was also invited. He has a great story to go with this song — I’m the One — lyrics written in Niagara Falls and inspired by Amanda. https://youtu.be/hc4dCW7d_Yo

#SayItWithSnowflakes #RiseAgainstBullying #KindEverytime

  

  

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#sayitinCalgary(CTV)

It was an early interview but we got to see the sun rise. I was with Alycha Reda to do a live interview on CTV in Calgary. 

 

The interview went great except when out of the corner of my eye, I saw that Amanda’s video was being played.  The heartstrings started to hurt. It showed on air.  (Kleenex)

But — Ally and I had a message and we got it out. In 7 minutes, we were able to tell the stories, the meanings and why the call to actions are so important. Watch the video of the interview to find out what we said. http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=594034&binId=1.1201914&playlistPageNum=1

Young Women of Power Conference http://www.ywop.ca ;

Thanks to Allison Springer and her crew for making ghis conference happen for young wimen and their families.

 

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What the man at airport security said!!

This totally caught me by surprise and actually made my night.  I was at one of the smaller airports in my area on my way to Calgary for the Young Women of Power Conference.  My bags were on their way through the scanner.  It was my turn to walk through the metal beeper machine.  I made it through without any beeps this time.  Yay!!

As I was waiting for my bags to go through the scanner, the feet were hurting from the heel spurs of my feet.  Was looking forward to sitting down.  There was no one waiting to go through the scanner.  The airport security man made eye contact.  He approached and said:

HIM: Are you who I thing you are?

ME: Yes, probably.

HIM: Thank you for doing what you are doing.  You are my HERO!!  I look up to you.

I was speechless for many seconds.  No one had ever said those words in that way.  I thanked him and gave him a pink Stay Strong bracelet.  He thanked me and put it on.

That just made my night.  Meeting random strangers who also have the courage to come up to me and say something wonderful.  It’s funny, I know the people who do recognize me and don’t say anything for whatever reason.  They usually end up looking down when eye contact is made and then they sneak another glance later.  

My words: It’s OK to say hello.  If there are no words, ask for a hug.  I give them FREE!! 

xoxo #sayitwithsnowflakes

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My Transformative Angel

As I was having a telephone conversation with someone who I was speaking with for the very first time, we were talking about her work with Prevention of Violence Canada- Prévention de la violence Canada (Facebook link – https://www.facebook.com/preventionofviolencecanada?fref=ts).  She called Amanda a ‘transformative angel’.  I had never heard of Amanda being called that before.  This person went on to explain that Amanda’s time on earth had been pre-determined.  She had chosen the family she was going to be living with for her short 15 years of life.  The date that she left this earth was symbolic – October 10th – World Mental Health Day as designated by the World Health Organization and the World Federation of Mental Health.  

Just the thought of all that makes me get goosebumps.  Then we have things such as this one ….

FLORIDA – Flying out of Vancouver at 10 pm on Monday night to land in Tallahassee (11 1/2 hours later)  at 2:30 pm on Tuesday afternoon.  (Stopovers in Toronto and Atlanta)  Sleeping on the plane is not an easy thing to do.  I have been wondering how sitting on an airplane not doing much of anything can make a person so tired and lethargic.  I will only in Florida for 24 hours and have no time in Florida to enjoy the warmth and sunshine.  I sure wish I could be there longer.

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I did try to convince the Attorney General’s office to possibly get other parents in the US that could speak the same words that I will be saying with the exception of Amanda’s story.  They were adamant they wanted me to come.  I will be speaking for 10 minutes at the Attorney General’s 2015 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Commemoration – ‘Engaging Communities – Empowering Victims’.  I was told that Amanda’s story is known in their state and that that there was a group of student leaders who had worked on a video and included Amanda’s story/video so that it would be used for educational purposes for the entire state of Florida.   So after the speak, there will be photos and handshakes.  Then back to airport to catch a flight at 3:30 pm to Edmonton Alberta for two more presentations in Hinton Alberta for Victims Crimes Week there.

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Pretty cool that my transformative angel is doing this for everyone!!

Love u Amanda!!

Mom xoxo

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Life’s journeys ….

While I was away in New Jersey last week, I got a message from a mom who I had met in October 2013 at an event for Amanda.  She was so personable and after we got to talking more, I gave her a Legacy shirt and bracelet and we chatted on and off over Facebook.  What I loved was the way she started off her message to me.

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People are often quick to judge how social media is so negative.  But there are many good things that come from it.  I posted on my Facebook if anyone had any resources or information that could help Stacey.  Many of my followers had indeed had similar situations with their own children or knew of stories from others.  The support was huge and (I believe) made Stacey and her family not feel so alone in this matter.

Yesterday, I received a message from Stacey letting me know that Global TV was at her house to find out more about the story.  I am glad she is getting some help with this as I know she is not the only parent around with a son with ASD and needing support.

Here is the link to the news report that was done.   Global TV – Langley mom files complaint over stratas treatment of autistic son

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Remembering the sayings – ‘Live your life in my shoes’ and ‘Think before you speak’ because we can’t predict the path our lives will go.

#SayItWithSnowflakes  #CaringandSharing  #inthistogether

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‘WOW MOM’ says Amanda

EERIE with TINGLES —> When I am in New Jersey, a media crew is wanting an interview. This is the email I got.

‘Hi Carol…Kiersten would like to have you on her show when you come to NJ The show is called WOW yes MOM upside down. We think your message about mental illness would and should be a topic for moms to hear. Tom and I will be in studio this Monday. The Idea is a 2 part series with you. http://netny.tv/shows/wow/

Now the speechless part … I have a ring that Amanda bought me for Christmas one year that I always wear. She bought it for one reason – That it said MOM and then it said WOW upside down. Amanda was always saying to me ‘WOW MOM’. I even mentioned it in her eulogy at one of the memorial services.

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BRAVO TO THE GREEN THUMB THEATRE FOR ‘TAGGED’ – Feb 10, 2015

As I walked through the hallways of one of the middle schools that Amanda attended, there was a sense of calmness.  I wasn’t sure why or what it could be.  When I later talked to one of the teachers, she said that there had been a play that morning called TAGGED as performed by the Green Thumb Theatre from Vancouver BC.

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In doing a further search, I found out that that TAGGED will be performed soon in Calgary, Saskatoon and Toronto.  I wish that Amanda were here to see these kind of performances now. I wish the landscape had been different when she was 13, back when we were all just learning more about the internet.  I hope that with young students watching this with their teachers, the kids can go home and talk to their families about what they say and hopefully what they learned.  We learned from Amanda’s mistakes.  The police learned from Amanda’s mistakes.  We don’t want those mistakes to happen again.

There is a complete study guide that goes with the play that is online.  Even if you have not yet seen or had this performance in your schools, go take a look at the guide.  It is very straight forward and gives the beginnings of opening up a class discussion.

Performing soon in – Toronto, Saskatoon and Calgary and also in BC schools –> TAGGED by the Green Thumb Theatre​

BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION

The landscape of bullying in this country has changed drastically with the advent and popularity of social media. Gone are the days of being bullied on the schoolyard but being able to go home to the safety of closed doors; the internet exists beyond doors, beyond walls beyond structures of any kind.

Green Thumb Theatre approached me to write this play just as Amanda Todd’s horrendously sad story hit the mainstream press. Amanda (from Port Coquitlam, BC) was by no means the first young person to take her life as a result of the toxicity of social media, and she has by no means been the last. Rehtaeh Parsons in Dartmouth, NS, Todd Loik in North Battleford, SK and countless others have received massive media attention leading to a major shift on how we, as a nation, approach cyberbullying and online accountability. Many provinces have stepped up to the plate and brought in massive legal changes.

So how to discuss that with a high school audience? As honestly and relatably as possible. The core of the piece, in its research phase and later in workshop was really about trying to honestly discuss the way young people engage online and its implications. This is a generation who grew up with the internet, it’s a fundamental part of how they communicate. Rather than focusing on the sad realities of the prominent cyberbullying cases in Canada, my task became to look at the psychology behind online behaviour: the posting and subsequent reposting of images and text, the quest to be seen, or even to find fame through online activity, and the reliance on social media as the mouthpiece of this generation.

The play is not about any of these cases, but becomes a theatrical conversation about their underlying themes. It is a play about the here and now that hopefully can introduce the possibility of honest conversation in the classroom and the hallways. I hope it does.

Dave Deveau October 2013

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