A story of mending hearts with Children Mending Heart

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

MONTREAL – Once upon a time, there was a young, vibrant little girl named Sab. She was the typical happy girl, teased by her hero – her big brother, Don. She was born prematurely at 6 months, but since she grabbed her first breath, she was a warrior… She was a happy warrior.

Her first friend was her cousin, Sand. Sand was one year younger than Sab. The two of them were inseparable and constantly mimicked each other.

1985

Around the age of three, Sab made new friends since her family moved to a new neighborhood. Mimi, Reg, Jackie, Ronnie, and Freddie, along with her cousin Sand and big brother Don were her crew. She felt so complete. When she left her crew to start kindergarten, she thought she would find the same kind of friends she had already made, but that wasn’t the case. It was the total opposite. This was the first time she encountered rejection and bullying. She didn’t say anything to her parents or to her brother about it because she didn’t want to dwell. She just couldn’t wait to play with her crew, lovingly called Pigeon’s Crew. For her, solace was in her crew.

Three years later, her world changed. Her family moved from one street to the next, but Sab lost her soulmate, Mimi. Even though they were just one street apart, the friendship would never be the same. They were not going to the same elementary school for grade one and faced this new chapter of their lives apart.

This vibrant little girl slowly started to lose her spark.

Little Sab and a certain Teddy Bear

Why?

She was constantly bullied by the mean girl of the school she went to. This went on up until her sixth grade. The mean Nad was a total nightmare! For no particular reason, she just hated the sweet Sab. Sab was really sad about it and even afraid to go to school, but she kept it to herself.

When starting high school, she thought she would get a break, but she encountered a new version of the Mean Nad and this one wasn’t alone. Mean Mel was a total bitch (sorry for the language). With her crew, they vandalized Sab’s locker, they stole the precious pens that she cherished, they pulled at her long, thick hair in the bathroom thinking it was a wig. The leader of the crew was a mean boy, Mean Kenny E. Sab was totally unhappy and suicidal. She wanted badly to end her life, but she always thought about her hero at times like this, her big brother Donald and her parents. Wrestling was a refuge for Sab. Ever since she was a little girl, she wrestled her brother and wrestling was a religion in her home, for the whole family.

Her idol was Bret, The Hitman, Hart. In him, she saw someone courageous and very bright. He wasn’t the tallest one, but he was the smartest one! He was fearless. Sab held on to his character and his determination to get through each day, every day.

Bret Hart

At the end of her second year in high school, oh I forgot to note – she went to a private school – she did the unthinkable…

She managed to register herself at the local high school, one that had the worst reputation. It was an act of survival for her and probably the best decision she made. The bullying she suffered at the previous schools was because she wasn’t like the other kids. She didn’t fit their definition of normal. She was curious about the world, about other cultures and she didn’t speak with the particular accent attributing to the Haitian community. So, she was bullied. When she finally started going to her new school, Calixa, she was finally able to breathe again. She rekindled her friendship with Mimi, who ended up at Calixa too. She met new friends and they were so sweet.

IMG_0841

She even grew a strong friendship with Grace, a sweet Italian kid that was living in front of her when she moved at the age of 6.

Her confidence grew back, little by little, and her new crew was a remix of the old one with a few new faces.

Friendship

She stayed the sweet girl, wanting to do good and be kind to everyone. She was broken for a while, but with the help of her friends and her family, she was able to rebuild again. In her adult life, she encountered challenges, but she is grateful to be alive.

This sweet Sab is me.

Writing this post was not easy, but I had to do it. This month is a special month. It is Bullying Prevention Month. I’m collaborating with the Children Mending Hearts (yeah!) to bring awareness to the issue of bullying. Since 2008, The Children Mending Hearts (CMH) Foundation has provided free art education programs to more than 25,000 children in the county of Los Angeles.

Children Mending Hearts

I always said to myself when I was younger that if I’m still alive when I grew up, I want to help children that suffer like me and to tell them, please stay as kind as you are and don’t change yourself. Better days are on the horizon.

The founder of The CMH, filmmaker Lysa Heslov (one of my heroes), had the vision to create a foundation that will inspire children to grow up to be compassionate and socially-conscious adults. For me, that is truly a beautiful mission. In the 80s and 90s, we didn’t talk about bullying at all in school. Some TV shows navigated the subject, but not like today. Lisa and the rest of the CMH team’s mission are to change the culture of bullying into one of empathy and action.

Lysa Heslov

My 35-year-old heart is happy to learn about this beautiful mission.

Looking throught the horizon

During this month, let’s make something cool and artsy to send a message. By painting our nails blue (come on boys, it’s 2018, you can do it!) and post a picture on social media with the hashtag #bluenailsbullyfree and tag @childrenmendinghearts. I

went to get my nails done! For the whole month, I will be sporting fifty shades of blue nails. Hm, maybe not THAT many! In two weeks, I will post my nails in a new kind of blue to show my support for a cause really close to my heart.

Something Blue!

So, let’s do it! Let’s encourage the next generation to continue being kind, being fearless, and to remember to be compassionate human beings. I sure will continue to do it. With Children Mending Hearts, I can’t wait to be part of their team and witness the legacy they will leave for the future generation.

https://www.childrenmendinghearts.org

Children Mending Hearts

 

 

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Is it the start of a new era for Nike?

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

Montreal – What I will write in the next few sentences won’t be pleasing, but I’m always up for starting a controversial conversation that may shed light on a different perspective on a particular subject.
Recently, Nike has been back in the PR game with a bang. We saw the ad with Serena Williams and her father. It was so beautiful.

Serena Nike
Strength, courage, determination, and humility were showcased in this ad. For me, the ad was a success!
Serena Just Do It

This weekend, Colin Kaepernick was chosen to be part of Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ Anniversary campaign. I must admit, I like the ad. The black and white picture is marvelous! I do respect Colin for his beliefs and what he is standing for, but I would respect him more if he truly wanted to play some football-to at least have a season in the Canadian league, even if his salary wouldn’t be comparable to the NFL.

But, that’s another story.

I have a little problem with Nike. And damn, I love their apparel and shoes. I’m happy that this company is standing behind a social cause,but this is the same company that contributes to poor quality of life by making young boys or girls work in a sweatshop when they should be in school getting the best education they can or playing outside with friends, wearing their own decent pair of Nikes. Even Patrick J. Adams (a fellow Canuck) tweeted about the fact that Nike shouldn’t really be seen as an activist company when they still use non-unionized sweatshop labor.

I know I will get a shit load of comments, but I thinkifNike truly wanted to make a change, maybe they should put the same amount of money on a campaign to end the horrific conditions of sweatshop labor for any human being. This is not a place for a child to work. A child needs to be in school. Maybe, make a better work environment for the parents, with the possibilities of a scholarship for the children of those workers can go to school abroad or in their country. One thing for sure, Nike can Do It!

As for Colin, with all the money and the sponsorship he gets, I hope he will continue to stand up for what he believes in, just play some football elsewhere (Canada is a beautiful country and the CFL is not THAT bad). He can still fight the good fight and play some fine football in the CFL. Is it more appealing to be a glitzy activist?

Is it truly about activism, or is it about the money after all?

Nike, Just Do It.
colin-kaepernick-nike

P.S. Some people are damn stupid to burn their Nike’s items. Seriously… Damn fools.

Vivre Le Grand Classique KR

Rédigé par Sabine Démosthènes

Il y a des moments où le temps semble s’arrêter pour un instant quand tu assistes à un moment magique.  Et tu veux t’accrocher à ce sentiment si joyeux pour le plus longtemps que tu peux.

Le Classique KR 2018 fut définitivement un de ces moments magiques pour moi.

Le fameux Commentateur Haïtien et son armée de joueurs et joueuses professionnels et  de hockey, d’humoristes et de personnalités publiques étaient prêts à donner tout un spectacle au Complexe Sportif Guimond.

Mais la star de ce tournoi fut la belle Laurence qui est la “bestie” à Kevin. Laurence était si rayonnante (j’étais à côté d’elle et de sa maman pendant que j’essayais de prendre des photos). Je peux confirmer qu’elle avait hâte d’aller sur la glace pour lancer le coup d’envoi. Ce qui était beau fut de voir une si belle amitié et complicité entre Laurence et Kevin. Kevin adore sa ”Laulau” tellement que le trophée du tournoi porte son nom. Voici une note à mes besties. Je veux un trophée qui porte mon nom. La barre est haute là. Je rigole évidemment.

Pour revenir à Laurence, elle est en rémission d’un cancer et elle a eu des soins à l’hôpital Sainte-Justine. Si vous avez la chance de lire le billet que Kevin a écrit sur sa meilleure amie que vous pouvez lire sur son site web, c’est vraiment touchant.

Laurence et les boys

La Fondation Sainte-Justine est une fondation qui me tient à cœur. Sans les soins, le grand travail des chercheurs, des médecins, des infirmières et des bénévoles que j’ai eus il y a 35 ans, je ne sais pas si je serais en train de vous écrire sur le Grand Classique KR. Et je suis persuadée que ça serait la même chose pour la belle Laurence et des milliers d’autres enfants.

Je tiens à dire un mot personnellement à Kevin.

Merci à ton équipe et à toi d’avoir organisé cet événement si magique. D’un enfant qui s’est battue avec toute l’équipe de l’hôpital Sainte-Justine il y a 35 ans jusqu’au petits guerriers comme Laurence, merci du plus profond du coeur.

Je suis prête pour le Grand Classique KR 2019! Une commentatrice haïtienne, ça serait cool ça.

Le Grand Classique KR 2018

Site Web Officiel de Kevin Raphaël

https://www.fondationstejustine.org/fr/

Hymn to LeBron James

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

After a little summer break, listening to this 70’s hit Summer Breeze, I’m ready to tackle the remainder of the summer!

I wasn’t really on a break, as Ross told Rachel on a Friends episode, since I have been working with The NorthSide team. We’ve been filming our kick-butt (I’m must be careful with my language!) YouTube talk show with the magnificent Educated Fool, Donnie D! Let’s say we’ve been having some serious fun.

Montreal was, again, the city to be in for summer. Osheaga, the Just for Laugh Festival, the International Jazz Festival, the African Nights Festival, the FrancoFolies and a lot of cool concerts were part of our summer “repertoire”.

Let’s get back to business shall we…

The last few weeks have been interesting. LeBron James is not only the crowned king of Los Angeles, but he is also the People’s King.

Why?

You may have heard or read that this fine gentleman created a very promising school. Some people were not very happy, or probably jealous (hint: 45), and lashed out with their stupidity on Twitter. LeBron James is clearly not intimidated by this kind of bullying. He is still focusing on the positivity surrounding him (a legion of people all around the world are admiring his good heart and his talent).

To King James, we promise to follow you.

Before I forget, a quick shoutout to Jalen Rose and Molly Qerim – the First Couple of ESPN!

They got married two weeks ago. When I learned this beautiful news, I did a little happy dance, like Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (The Tom Jones one) in our VR during our camping trip. Guys, if you are sports and pop culture fans, check out their shows and podcasts on ESPN! You won’t regret it at all.

I will end this editorial with one question mark:

I wonder if Kobe Bryant is asking himself why he didn’t think of being more of a philanthropist instead of focusing on who is the greatest basketball player of all-time?

I’m just saying…

http://www.lebronjames.com

Jalen and Jacoby Show on ESPN

Molly Qerim Instagram

I got Toronto on my mind

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

I’ve still got Toronto on my mind, even after a few days back to the city of a thousand church bells, Montreal.

It wasn’t my first time in the Tdot, but it was my first time alone as an adult in the city. A few days disconnecting with my usual non-orthodox routine, that is – my crazy life, and without speaking the Molière language was interesting.

Montreal does have a special European charm and a certain je ne sais quoi, but Toronto is more a cosmopolitan city, with hidden treasures to be found every few streets.

I was in Toronto especially to listen to a nice conversation.

This conversation was insightful, funny, charming and so authentic. I’m really happy to have been part of it as a listener. Especially since part of this dynamic duo is my ultimate favorite journalist and person I try to emulate the most in this kind of journalism.

He is one of the most respected men in this field.

Nick Clooney is the journalist I am talking about. I won’t deny, listening to him gave me chills. Listening to him talk about Hazim “Haz’ Avdal, a young Yazidi Iraki refugee who is like a second son to him, I saw the pride of a father whose son gave him hope to believe in goodness in people again.

Both Amal and Nick were proud family members when they spoke about Az, as well as with Nadia Murad. Nadia is a young Yazidi woman that was captured by Isis. She escaped with some scars, but that hasn’t stopped her from being the sister, the mother and the ultimate superwoman to all the Yazidis.

She is proudly fighting the good fight with her secret weapon, Amal Clooney.

Amal is more than the woman who married one of the biggest movie stars in the world and one heck of a director (come on, Good Night and Good Luck was a masterpiece).

Yes, the media talks about her latest look. I do have to admit, she mixes fun and sassiness in her look like the majority of us women in this world aim to do.

There is even a blog dedicated to her fashion sense, but my point is that even the blog dedicated to her fashion sense talks about the cause that she cherishes. I definitely have more respect for a blog like the one I’m talking about over the TMZs of the world.

Why she is more than a celebrity?

It’s because, like Audrey Hepburn, her main focus is to shine light on causes that may not been known or talked about much. It’s not be easy to have this growth in attention when only 6 years ago, she could go to eat at her favorite Italian restaurant in Notting Hill without being mobbed by a hundred photographers.

But she has a good co-pilot in George and a good family unit that will continue to be her fortress.

I came back to Montreal with a refreshing perspective on life and the act of compassion.

I didn’t think that the city of Toronto would be the type to remind me to continue being compassionate and to keep up the good fight.

Speaking of keeping up the good fight, the best boxing trainer is in Toronto! Go check him out, Jorge Blanco. If you are in Montreal, you are not forgotten. You can train here in Montreal as well.

I’m so overdue that I will give my coach a call.

In the end, Toronto and Montreal are the perfect couple (except in the NHL). They are complementary to each other.

Can we take this as an example and be more complementary to each other as human beings, especially with regard to compassion and human decency?

I did see it last weekend in the Tdot!

http://spaniard.ca

Clooney Foundation For Justice official website

So hard to say goodbye to Anthony Bourdain

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

I’m in total shock.

I’m in this weird, very bad dream where Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.

Can I wake up out of this terrible dream and this horrendous week?

Wake up!

It’s not a nightmare. This is real.

I’m on my train ride into city and I’m just crying. The young lady next to me probably thinks I got dumped by a boyfriend, but it way worse than that.

Anthony was one of the people I looked to in order to set an example as a good communicator, a good citizen of the world and to be the “enfant terrible” of my generation.

He made me feel like it was okay to be an outsider, to be different and to be real without being obnoxious.

His TV show, “Parts Unknown”, is a ritual of mine and my hubby. Anthony was such a good guy. Not the most perfect one, but you could see that he had this gentle soul, even when he was looking like a real rock star with all his tattoos and his attitude.

I am speechless.

My thoughts are going to his family, to his love, to Éric Ripert and to all of his friends, including the fans.

I wish I could write his biography, but you know what, if you want to know who Tony was, please watch all of “Parts Unknown” and read his masterpiece book, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”.

I will write it until I’m dying, but for anyone that is struggling, please, reach out.

One of my favorite quotes from Anthony is:

“You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal with him”

Thank you Chef!

Kate Spade is still shining like a bright star

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

Learning the news of Kate Spade’s death was unexpected and so sad.

Her name has been part of my repertoire since my “not so glamorous” teenage years in the nineties and into my early twenties.

I was always curious about the next handbag she would create, even as the minimalist kind of girl that I am.

But yesterday, when I learned the sad news of her death, I was reminded of when one of my high school classmates decided to end her life her first year in college. This classmate had everything going for her: beauty, perfect body, great hair, a sweet boyfriend and the status of one of the popular girls in school. At the same time, she was sometimes moody and seemed so sad.

Everyday, I would walk to school and our paths would cross. We walked the last 2 min to school together. She could sense that I was shy to talk to her. I would always give her my biggest smile, but then look down and walk faster. She would acknowledge my smile and my shyness.

There is not a day I don’t think of why I didn’t made the first step to being her friend.

She was my aunt’s neighbour. I still remember that dreadful February night when she called my home to talk to my mom who later told me that a young girl had died. She didn’t know I went to school with her.

By the time my mom was about to tell me the news, my best friend from high school had sent me an MSN message (yes, it was before Facebook messenger and texting).

I went to my room and picked up my high school yearbook, turning straight to the page her picture was on. I was numb. I cried.

I couldn’t go to the funeral because I felt so guilty about not reaching out to her. And I managed, with time, to face it but let me tell you, I struggled a lot afterwards.

Yesterday was a sad day.

But suicide is happening everyday. When someone is famous, we tend to be more aware because it is broadcasted across every form of media. But I would like to say, out loud, my thoughts about a specific thing I saw that made me so mad.

Why are outlets like TMZ, etc. are taking pictures of the body on a stretcher leaving the apartment building?!

I really get super mad about seeing a picture like this (by accident) because it is on the front page. Like when my classmate died, the local newspaper didn’t send a photographer to take a picture and put it on our Wednesday issue.

You get my point.

It’s a painful moment for the family and friends and everywhere you will go, this picture will be on every news outlet, tabloid and so on. It’s so awful and such a lack of respect.

For the young girl that lost her dear mom, for the husband that lost his wife and the mother of his child, to her family and to her friends, my thoughts are with you.

And to the tabloids, get the hell out and show some respect. Damn it!

In a way, she is still bringing lights into our life and she is forcing us having this really difficult conversations about depression and anxiety. Maybe this tragedy will save more lives.

For anyone that is struggling, please, please, please, we are here for you and there are some incredible organizations that are here for you. You are not alone.

We are not alone.

http://www.depressionarmy.com

https://www.nami.org

https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/