I was recently asked to reflect on my experience at this year’s Count Me In Global Broadcast in Toronto that I participated in as one of the many speakers who took to the stage that day. We operated under the hashtag #CountMeInLive & there are many photographs and videos of the day captured by instagram, twitter and YouTube videos. This post is for a Twitter savvy student who reached out to me from St. Edmund Campion Secondary School because she’s writing a piece for her newsletter!
I flew to Toronto on my birthday (April 13th) & was expecting to speak for 8 minutes. It was my second time speaking at Count Me In’s Toronto event and I was pumped because, having previously had the opportunity to hear and present alongside CMI founder Shane Feldman, I knew what type of event this would be. I never thought that some kid from Winnipeg’s North End would be a speaker in such a place.
I try not to think about how large the crowds are I speak to before I speak to them….but after the fact is a different story. This experience was in front of 3,000 Students live in the Sony Centre in Toronto and broadcast online to 104 different Countries was really something I was honored to be a part of. My first line was inspired by my Batman shirt (gifted to me from my adopted parents, the Champagnes) “People say dress for the job you want, not the job you have. So today, I’m Batman”. The speech itself though was inspired by my experiences as a Gr. 4 student struggling with identity – when my Teacher Ms. Holmes gave me a book and wrote a note inside of it that saved my life. I realized that if all it takes to be a hero is to write encouraging words to someone I believe in, then I wanna be a hero every day. I want every student or young person struggling with their identity to know that they too can recognize the gifts and abilities of their friends and peers – provide them with a reminder of their awesomeness – and feel good that we helped them see the good inside of themselves. If we continue to stand up as young people, in our schools, streets and communities – I have faith that we can all save lives. Then, the shared challenges that we all face will become less and less a part of our daily reality as we shift our own conversations and interactions with one another to focus more in the positive and begin to recognize the presence of solutions.
Finally, a personal highlight happened behind the scenes, in the green room (a place where speakers & performers chill in between performances). Blake Fly pulled out his guitar and several impromptu performances took place including the one that I recorded personally: you can view it by clicking here!