Thursday 26 March 2015

1 Small Action Per Day = Impact & Change In A BIG Way @WE_365 #App @FreeTheChildren @TELUS

On April 1st, my son and I will be attending National We Day in Ottawa (thanks to TELUS). As you can see from my post about last year's event, National WeDay...oops there goes another rubber tree plantWe Day is a very inspirational event and a real privilege to attend. It's impossible not to be impressed by these kids and their efforts to make their world a better place. With We Day just around the corner it got me to thinking what motivates these kids to do the things they do? What makes them think they can make a difference? Once again this quote comes to mind:
"I wonder why someone didn't do something. Then I realized, I am somebody."

Many years ago, in a community centre, at a playgroup, over coffee and crafts a conversation was started between 4 stay-at-home moms that went something like this:
Kris: "I'm concerned about my kids exposure to pesticides being sprayed on lawns in our neighbourhood. I'm thinking of starting an awareness campaign and putting together information on the health effects of these chemical pesticides, as well as alternative lawn care options. Is anyone else interested in being part of this?"
Cathy, Maureen and Kirsten: "Yes!"

And so began our band of 
"Grass Root" Activists
and the 
Breathe Deeply (My Lawn Is Pesticide Free) Campaign

Our goal was two fold: increase awareness about the effects of pesticides, and offer effective alternatives to pest management and lawn care. Each of us had different skill sets and contributed in different ways. I designed the signs, t-shirts, and applied for the grants. Others made signs, researched and wrote the pamphlets, or acted as campaign spokesperson and media contact. Together we managed to create 3 pamphlets, each delivered to more than 1500 houses, make and deliver more than 600 signs, distribute more than 100 t-shirts, and successfully apply for 3 different funding grants. We spoke on the effects of pesticides, a need for a ban, and about lawn care alternatives to our Community Association, at City Council meetings, to local Girl Guides, and set up information tables at local events. We were featured on local TV and radio, and in newspapers, including The Globe and Mail. 

Global and Mail: Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Janis Hass (Special to The Globe and Mail) 
"Outside, a homemade wooden sign on the front lawn sums up her (Kirsten Devenny) philosophy. It reads, "Pesticide Free." ... Over coffee in her living room, Mrs. Devenny discusses the use of pesticides on lawns with her neighbours Kris Wong and Cathy Canton. These stay-at-home moms have banded together to promote pesticide-free lawn care in their leafy Nepean neighbourhood of Crystal Beach. They're concerned about the effects of pesticides on the health of their children..."

Chemical pesticides for cosmetic purposes on privately owned land were banned in Ontario in 2009.

What does this have to do with youth and change?
Well from the time my kids were toddlers they saw me involved in efforts to make my world a better place. All of our kids were there when we met at playgroup for strategy meetings, or went to the printers to pick up pamphlets. They helped us deliver pamphlets and signs throughout the neighbourhood, and were there for the TV and newspaper interviews. They were central to all of this because ultimately it was about them. I like to think that by setting an example we "planted the seeds" for our kids to grow into critical thinkers, and engaged citizens of Canada and the World. I hope through our actions they learned they have a voice, and the power as one individual to bring about change. It is imperative youth understand how their local actions can have a huge global impact, and that they must be the "somebody to do something".

At the time of the Breathe Deeply Campaign there were no apps, smartphones or tablets, but now there are, and lots of ways youth can connect and help to bring about change and awareness.

The We365 app was developed by Free The Children and TELUS to give youth a way to connect, track volunteer hours, and accept challenges to bring about awareness and change. It is a platform that makes sense to youth and they are comfortable with; an app and social media. 
So to celebrate National We Day, youth and their high hopes to make the world a better place, why not join the one action per day movement.

Install the free app,
and start moving those rubber tree plants!

Be sure to follow 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about National We Day and WE365 app.

NOTE: I was not compensated for this post, but am an invited guest of  TELUS to National We Day 2015. In support of We Day I choose to post about my experience, but am not obligated to do so. In my mind cooperation between organizations like Free the Children and brands like TELUS is something to be supported. I strive to live by their motto "Give Where We Live" not just when presented with opportunities to do so, but also by making opportunities to do so.


  1. What you ladies did was awesome! We are all part of a change and every person can make a big difference. Enjoy WE Day!

  2. Even before pesticides were banned in Ontario, we didn't use them. Unfortunately, my neighbours didn't make the same choice. Thanks to people like you, affecting change, they can no longer use them. We can and do all make a difference.

    Besos, Sarah
    Journeys of The Zoo

  3. What a wonderful deserve a lot of credit.