Get REAL had a GREAT time presenting at Oakville Trafalgar today, marking our first High School presentation of the 2013 school year! One of our most fun presentations – lots of good laughs and joking around along with our message. Big thanks goes to Erin Collett for her help in both organizing and presenting and Carolann Malenfant (OT school social worker) and Kathy Raleigh (guidance counsellor) for helping coordinate! We had a really good time and got some great feedback from students after the presentations! We look forward to going back to OT in the new year!
This post is exactly what it sounds like. People sent in photos from near and far, and they are fantastic. Congrats to TJ Williams, our winner, and thank you to everyone else who sent in fantastic photos. Enjoy.
So the other day something amazing happened. Backtrack a bit. A while back (this is Chris Studer writing this post, ps) myself and a bunch of my friends went down to Cancun with S-Trip! Unbelievable time. And a bunch of us brought our Get REAL hats down there, cause why not?
The resort was beautiful (Gran Caribe, 5 Star Hotel), the events and the nightlife were dope (because… it’s Cancun), and our STAFF (wink, wink, this is where this story is going) were fantastic. Especially our trip leader, Neil Duffy – great guy. Over the course of the wild and crazy week, he took the time to ask us about the hats we were wearing. We told him about Get REAL, and what we did. Neil and all of the staff thought GR was really cool, and then we all went back to whatever we were doing (having a fun time on the beach) and life and Cancun went on. I think someone may have given Neil a hat to take home… I can’t remember and it’s not really important to this story anyways. When we got back, a bunch of us exchanged facebook contacts, and I kept in touch with Neil. After going into Much Music to drop off hats for the host and the producer, I was walking back along Queen Street and who do I bump into but the one and only Duffy – this time, on the mean streets of T.O. (kidding) instead of out front of Daddyo’s on the Cancun Strip. We got to talking and he said it’d be cool to partner up and do something together, since S-Trip! works with students all the time, and the messages of anti-homophobia, anti-bullying, and general inclusivity are core to their values as a company. I said sure.
That’s Neil in the center. Thank you for making this happen!
That random stop-and-chat on Queen near John has sparked a great new partnership that we are VERY excited about, as is S-Trip!. These are some pics from the first thing we’ve done together – dropping off some Get REAL hats for their Pink day at the office. But we are very excited about what is to come next. What caring, youthful, and forward thinking company, and what a perfect example of how weird and coincidental (or fateful?) life can be. The funniest part, is that the host and producer from Much Music weren’t even there (I had to go back on another day to give them their hats). Life is strange… and amazing.
Lauren Vandervoort (left), who has also been instrumental in making this happen & Matt, who’s just a terrific guy.
This week, Get REAL made a terrific presentation to the middle school students at Clara Brenton Public School, in London, Ontario. Representatives from CB saw Get REAL’s presentation at the fall 2012 Lead Out Loud Conference, run by the Safe Schools division of the Thames Valley District School Board, and asked if we’d come and speak to ALL of Clara Brenton. It was a special request because we were told that CB wanted to make their own Get REAL video, to enter into the Lead Out Loud video contest for all of the Thames Valley District School Board. Which was very cool and our presenters were very excited. We have some footage we’re putting together (the following are still shots) so look out for those soon!
We’d like to extend a sincere thanks to the teachers and the students for one of the most engaging presentations we’ve ever done! And we received another great review, from Hilary Montgomery, the Vice Principal:
The presentation today was amazing. We felt so honoured to “rate” a presentation equal to that of the safe schools conference. It was amazing to have so many presenters with their unbridled youthful enthusiasm and passion present to the students. The students could relate to the “raw” emotion of the presenters testimonials. I watched their faces during the presentation and they were totally engaged. I wondered how many of them would be changed or make a change for someone else thanks to the good work of Get REAL.
Teachers commented that it was the best presentation they have had for students.
Our principal, Mary thought it was amazing. She wants to get hats for all the students and she thinks having the group back would be great.
Do you ever do follow-up visits? Hmm–Get REAL is truly a movement.
Thanks to you all for making the world a better place, one school at a time. We will keep you posted re. our video
Hilary Montgomery-Pumaren Vice-Principal and JK-Grade 2 Learning Support Teacher Clara Brenton Public School”
So basically, we could not be more happy with how our visit to Clara Brenton went, and it was a great mix of seasoned presenters (including Andrew McGuire, Val Pepin, Kevin Hennessy) and new presenters (including Melanie Campbell)! Well done to everyone involved. Here’s some more pics!
Melanie, Val, Andrew, and Kevin hanging out
Coffee for an early school presentation – essential!
Kev killin’ it, as usual!
Andrew giving out pins to the students
Fantastic VP Hilary, and Principal Mary. Thank you both so much, you inspire us.
What a great group of kids. Makes this all worth it. Get real.
Sapphire (top left, on the right) and Chantal (top left, on the left); the pins we sent over to them; and a shot of CUC.
The coolest part about Get REAL is the support that trickles down from completely unexpected places. A little while back we got an email from Sapphire Woods saying she wanted to do a piece on us for her newspaper at Canadian University College, in Lacombe, Alberta. Already we were thinking: yes, and what a phenomenal name. Then she went on to say that her school was quite religious and that there was the potential for controversy following the article. By now, we were thinking: YES, WHEN can we do this? Tomorrow? Today? We were very excited. And this has since become one of the coolest partnerships Get REAL has developed so far.
Regarding a controversy, Sapphire was right. (This comes as no surprise, as she is one of the sharpest young activists we’ve ever spoken to). The “hot topic” of LGBT inclusivity/homophobia had not been broached in such a way before, and Sapphire’s article was definitely in support of a change in the atmosphere at CUC. BUT we are happy to report that since Sapphire has begun working with us and with CUC, the college has seen students and professors speak out in support, and has developed – for the first time ever – three safe spaces for open discussion concerning things such as orientation, sexuality, and how that all fits in with religion! We could not be happier with how things are going over there. The next step is a speaker series, which she hopes will foster and open up greater discussion of these issues. Sapphire is a brave and intelligent individual who doesn’t mind causing a bit of a stir. And we love her for that! We cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
Today, Get REAL made it’s last presentation of 2012, at Aurora High School. The presentation was hooked up by the student council president Marcus Sjolin. Chris Studer (Exec Director) and Robert Camastra (VP Finance, Western).
We also invited up staff members from Oakville Trafalgar High School (who wanted to see Get REAL in action before we came to OT) and got the green light there as well! Met some really nice students and it was a great way to wrap up an excellent year. Next pres in January! See you then!!
Today is a great day. Because today is the day we blog about Mount Allison becoming our SECOND UNIVERSITY CAMPUS! Unreal.
Maddy Hill and Nina MacEachern have been working with us since the fall, and are officially ready to launch. They are some great peeps and we are so excited that they are bringing this movement out to the East Coast. We can’t wait to see what they come up with! More info to come soon!
Get REAL started in February of 2011 with the aim of running workshops in junior high and high schools led by university students, and changing the face of what it means to be a young person who stands up against homophobia. We are open to any and all who wish to stand up and speak out against discrimination.