Sophie is addressing an issue that people experience day-to-day all over the world. Her rewarding work gives people the space to share their stories and bring awareness to varying experiences of harassment. Sophie, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"I was inspired to share my story with you because Catcalls of NYC is about building community and engaging new people. The Instagram account is made possible by followers who submit their stories of harassment in the New York City area. I then share their stories by writing them on the sidewalk in chalk in the spot where they originally happened and posting them on Instagram. My goal is to raise awareness about catcalling-- an issue that is often belittled, ignored or considered “just words.” By sharing these stories I provide people with a community of support and make them feel less alone. By writing the comments in chalk on the sidewalk I force the public to pay attention to these words that are being said to women on a daily basis.
For me, this account has always been personal. I grew up in New York City and catcalling was (unfortunately) a part of my transition to adulthood. When it started happening, I didn’t understand what was going on. At age 15, I felt uncomfortable when men would talk to me. Comments like “hello beautiful” and “sexy” made me extremely self conscious walking down the street. Sometimes I would avert my eyes, look down at my phone or even cross the street if I saw a man walking towards me.
What originally made me feel uncomfortable soon made me very angry. Why was this behavior allowed in public? Why was my experience as a young girl in NYC so drastically different from those of my male friends? Why did I have to think about what I could wear so as not to provoke unwanted attention? Even as I recognized how problematic this behavior was, I never felt comfortable responding
to men who catcalled me. Their words silenced me. I started Catcalls of NYC as my way of speaking back. Rather than saying something in the moment, which I was too afraid to do, I could do something after the fact. I could use my story for good and offer others a platform to share their stories too. Furthermore, by raising awareness I could challenge the culture that normalizes street harassment and eventually change it.
I highlight intersectionality on my account because feminism is nothing without intersectionality. For me, this means recognizing the different aspects of peoples' identities and how they contribute to their experiences of harassment. In this way, the account is an educational platform for people to learn about the different types of street harassment diverse people in NYC face.
Overall, this work is extremely rewarding. People often thank me for giving them a space to share their stories. Sometimes I’m the first person they’ve told and it’s a relief for them to not carry the burden alone. People who haven’t experienced harassment have also thanked me for shedding light on this topic. One man told me that because of my account he’s become more aware of how his own behavior may make someone uncomfortable. He feels that he’s becoming a better ally. It’s gratifying to help other victims of street harassment by giving them a voice. I'm thrilled that by reaching new people with this message I can change minds and embolden people to tackle this pervasive behaviour."
Follow Sophie's initiative on Instagram: @catcallsofnyc
Teens Take Charge is a student-led coalition committed to raising students’ voices for educational equity in New York City. The coalition is part of The Bell, an organization that uses media, testimony, and events to shift more power in education policy to the students affected by it. This student-led movement is taking the future of schools and education into their own hands. To the entire Teens Take Charge team;
you truly are Heroic Humans...
You are my Heroes,
"Teens Take Charge was born around April 2017 with the first student performances,
To Whom It May Concern,
in the Bronx Public Library. Whitney Stephenson and Nelson Luna are the co-founders of the coalition but along with other peers, they came up with the name: Teens Take Charge. Whitney and Nelson have both graduated this past week from Democracy Prep Charter School. Both will attend college this fall with Whitney attending Mount Holyoke College and Nelson attending Columbia University.
After April 2017, Teens Take Charge had its second event on November 2017 at the Schomburg Center. By early 2018, the coalition opened its platform not only for students to share their stories, but to have the opportunity to become involved with policy. The third event on March 2018, We Regret To Inform You, featured not only performances but Teens Take Charge's proposals to the Department of Education. On May 17th, the anniversary of Brown vs Board of Education, Teens Take Charge invited policymakers and politicians to visit high schools from all over the city. Today, the work of TTC involves working with policymakers and having students at the table when it comes to public schools."
A co-founder of TTC
" I felt like a number and a passing rate within a system I never realized I had the power to change. A system where my individuality wasn’t something nourished. However, Teens Take Charge allowed me to see that change is not impossible if we act on it. It is an organization where change can be made when teens take control of their education. From public testimonies of letters and spoken word poetry, Teens Take Charge has allowed a platform for different forms of youth voice. It has been an outlet that allowed me and many youths to realize that our voice matters, and it’s packed with a powerful force of change."
Learn more about Teens Take Charge at teenstakecharge.com and bellvoices.com, and follow them on Instagram @teenstakechargenyc
I had the privilege of working with Emma at one of my staff meetings put on by Lululemon. Emma led us through a meditation, and a painting session which we were then inspired to create art that encompasses our goals. I can speak for my whole team in saying that this was the highlight of our day! Emma was so open and vulnerable about her journey with Mental Health and provided a sense of comfort and inspiration throughout our entire session with her. Emma, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"How beautiful it is to find peace within yourself. To understand there is no good or bad, right or wrong. To love yourself, Flaws and all. To wake up happy and confident ready to face the day. To welcome mistakes, so you can learn and grow. To become a better version of yourself, every day. To truly understand who you are, connect to thyself and embrace your weirdness. To be guided by controlled emotional states and to not let any outside influcence effect who you are. Just be you and love every moment. " - a quote from my book "It's Going to Be a Really Good Day"
and thats exactly how I wanted to live, healing myself from the inside through re-directing, re-discovering and re-connecting to my energy. I was diagnosed with bipolar
and instead of choosing it to be a weakness, I used it as a the strength for my foundation to which I built my drug-free, self-supportive life with my creativity guiding me!
I've always believed if you have the power to see change within yourself and the courage to act on it then not sharing it would be a waste. Thats why I decided to connect others with my art. I want to awaken EVERYONE to the most definite possibility to another side within and around them. The simplicity of my art is to capture others to find their own way to CHOOSE for their own lives, to be courageous, vulnerable and brave with yourself.
I think, believe, and know it is time to evolve as humans on many levels and through painting, writing and my own self learning path I hope that it will spark others to do the same!
Difference is where we seperate and as an individual who explores creativity, difference is where the connection starts. Be yourself for you, because YOU ARE YOU 👊🏻
Lot's of love,
Oh and always remember its going to be a good day!
Follow Emma's journey on Instagram @_emmapink
Nicole's battle with Crohn's Disease is one hell of a fight. She is a determined wife, mother and a voice for those fighting with this disease. She is an inspiration, and a body of strength for anyone suffering worldwide, and especially in her community. Nicole, you are not alone. You are truly a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"I am a Crohnie. I have Crohn’s Disease. I have been battling this illness since 2004 and I continue to battle until a cure is found. I, unfortunately, don’t battle for me, though I’m working on the whole self love piece. I, instead, battle for my family. I do not want to give up the fight because of my husband and my children. I want to be around for them. I want to be the best mom and wife I can be – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I've always had it in me to write, to express my feelings, my emotions in regards to living with this HORRIBLE, incurable disease. Everyone who lives with Crohn's Disease experiences it differently. Different symptoms, different triggers, different medications, different saving graces. I wanted to share my experience, my journey with you.
Through my blog and social media accounts, I have met some incredible fighters. Particularly a non-profit group called Our Wings to Fight. In 2017 I was approached by the chair of this committee to speak at their annual gala, where they raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
I have since joined their committee and I continue my volunteer work and my push to find a cure, spread awareness and support everyone impacted by this illness."
To take part in Nicole's journey, follow her on Instagram @marriedtocrohns
I want to acknowledge Sarah for the ways that she shows up for the world. This woman has undergone incredibly difficult circumstances, and continues to shine light and positivity in every situation presented to her. Her determination, vulnerability and strength through her journey has been changing the lives of the people around her, and she is an absolute inspiration. Sarah, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
In August 2016, at age 30, I had reached the peak of my career. I landed my dream job travelling around Australia for work in aged care. I was happy. I was independent. My life was turned upside in a matter of hours. I was staring death in the face and the fight was only just beginning.
When tragedy struck I thought I only had a bad bout of the flu and when I rapidly worsened I was taken to emergency at the hospital.
When Dr’s realised this could be Meningococcal Disease, I was placed in an induced coma and was on life support for 8 days when they got the confirmation that is was in fact meningococcal septicaemia, the W strain, the most deadly and usually kills within hours. During this time my family was told I wasn’t expected to survive and were told to say good bye to me multiple times. After 8 days I surprised everyone by waking up. I soon realised just how much strength I needed and had no choice but to fight.
Using everything I had, I continued to fight whilst having several fingers and toes amputated, the loss of four major organs and requiring a kidney transplant. I have had 20 operations in 18 months, and have had to go back on life support 4 times. I literally had to rebuild my body, and I continue to do so. I am dependent on dialysis three times a week in order to survive until I receive a kidney transplant.
Yes, I used to think I had done something wrong. Am I being punished for something? What did I do to deserve this? As the hits continue to keep coming, I now know this horrid thing called Meningococcal didn’t kill me for a reason - although it continues to try even 18 months on! The reason being? To help stop this from happening to other people. To potentially save lives. To use my strength and willpower to fight and show others what this disease can do to you.
You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. I have been blessed with amazing family and friends who have been by my side every step of the way. During the tears, tantrums and milestones. If you don’t have a support network it can be a very lonely and empty experience which makes you question the littlest of things. Am I good enough? Why should I go on? What’s the point? My life has completely changed. I feel my life is now richer in ways as I appreciate living a whole lot more. I want people to know that if you find your inner strength you can fight. You can turn negatives into positives. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Talk to others, be bold. Be brave.
I am now a proud public speaker to share my story and help to motivate others in challenges they may be facing in which we have no control over. In addition to this I am a director of a not for profit organisation called The Violet Foundation in which we support those affected by Meningococcal Disease and raise awareness of the disease."
Rockland and Kristie started Funnies for Families in 2014 and officially launched it as a Non-Profit in 2017. They are incredible humans who are using the gift of laughter to bring joy and happiness to people everywhere. You two truly are Heroic Humans...
You are my Heroes,
Thank you for featuring us on Heroic Humans, Funnies for Families gets to meet little heroes everyday! We travel to hospitals, care centres and shelters to bring laughter to those who need it most. The people we meet are going through some of the most difficult times of their lives, and we bring our group of silly comedians to try and help them get through that.
We were inspired to start Funnies for Families when our co-founder had a nephew born, Henry Nathaniel. He was born premature and with Down Syndrome, which came with a number of medical complications. He had to stay at Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta for 3 months and while he was there we learned of the amazing things they do for families. We wanted to volunteer to give back to the house, and started exploring ways we could use our talents and training as improvisers and comedians. We reached out to Ronald McDonald House Toronto to start a monthly show. Since then, we’ve expanded to several venues and weekly shows – performing for dozens of families every month!
A typical Funnies show features about five improvisers performing “short-form” improv games, similar to the kind you may have seen on Whose Line Is It Anyway. Some audience favorite games include “Should’ve Said”, where the audience can decide when the performer has to say something different, and “Puppets” where audience members come onstage to move the improvisers around like, well, puppets!
Since we began 4 years ago, we’ve been very lucky to have been graced with so many amazing volunteer improvisers. We now have over 80, and we couldn’t do a single show without them. Our volunteers have been trained by institutions across the continent, like Second City, UCB, Bad Dog Theatre Co. and more – they are really the best in the world and so happy to perform for these families.
Whether you want to or not, when you see something funny, you laugh! It’s an instant release and you can’t help but feel happiness. We know that comedy helps these families. We’ve had families that have had trauma happen the day of our show, they will have permission to go home, and yet they stay to watch the show before they leave. A wonderful, magical thing about improv is that the performers and the audience discovers the story, characters and jokes together. We develop these amazing connections with these families because at the end of a show, it feels like we’ve all created something together.
This year, we’re concentrating on raising donations to be able to travel to more families in need of laughs. There have been opportunities we’ve had to say no to because of financial resources and we’d love to be able to say yes to everything (as good improvisors always do!"
More information about the organization – including links to sign up as a performer if you’re a comedian – can be found at funniesforfamilies.com. You can also donate to help them travel to more families. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Emilie is on a mission to leave the world a better place. She is involved in countless initiatives to better our planet, and has the heart and the passion to make serious change. Emilie, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Hero,
"What’s my Story?
Moving from France to the UK nearly 4 years ago as well as all my experiences abroad and doing a masters in international relations highly contributed to making me who I am today and helped me see the bigger picture. It contributed to expand my knowledge, skills and my horizon when it comes to our world and to environmental issues. I have met incredible and inspiring people, I have discovered new parts of the world, I have reconnected with nature and with this beautiful planet we are lucky enough to call home. Last but not least, I have discovered the passion that would drive my life: the ocean…
Unfortunately today, our ocean is at the limits of it resilience facing many threats from overfishing, climate change, and pollution to acidification. The ocean is dying. When I saw the damages and the pain we were causing to the marine environment, I had to do something about it but it’s not about me, it’s about everyone on this planet. The ocean is our life support system, it makes life on Earth possible and wherever you live on this planet, you are connected to it as every other breath you take comes from the sea.
Who am I involved with?
SEA SHEPHERD UK
I am an onshore volunteer for Sea Shepherd UK which is an international marine conservation organisation focusing on direct-action to defend and protect marine wildlife and habitats. Being an onshore volunteer for Sea Shepherd is an incredible experience. Sea Shepherd UK is a real family of passionate and dedicated people and I can’t imagine myself not being part of this movement. As onshore volunteers, our work is essential to ensure funding for Sea Shepherd campaigns and carrying Sea Shepherd’s mission to the general public through fundraiser events, festivals, fairs and others initiatives. We also visit schools, universities, clubs, or organizations to give presentations on Sea Shepherd UK and how we support national and international campaigns. I am also hoping to take my commitment to the next level by volunteering at Sea in a near future.
Visit www.seashepherd.org,uk to learn more about Sea Shepherd’s work.
THE CONSERVATION PROJECT INTERNATIONAL
I am an ocean and marine conservation volunteer for The Conservation Project International which is a very young UK charity that aims to collaborate with other committed partners and communities around the world on today’s pressing conservation challenges and on addressing climate change and other sustainable security issues and environmental threats that impact the planet across our oceans, rainforests, wildlife, and distressed habitats and ecosystems. As an ocean and marine conservation volunteer, I write informative articles on ocean issues for our website but I am also working closely with Harry Wright, the founder of the organisation on the communication and marketing strategy.
Visit tcproject.co.uk to learn more about TCP-I.
ONE SPECIES AND COEXTINCTION
As well as being an ambassador, I recently became social media coordinator for One Species which is an awesome social enterprise trying to fight extinction. Through her clothing brand, Elena Jean the founder aims to make wildlife conservation mainstream by inspiring and educating people to reconnect with the natural world through different tools such as clothing, social media and an amazing ambassador program. This year, One Species is working on an amazing project to save the Southern Resident Killer Whales, our very first endangered species: a documentary called "Coextinction" and I would recommend you to check it out… it’s gonna be big!
SHARK CONSERVATION AUSTRALIA
I am also a researcher and writer for Shark Conservation Australia. After many years campaigning for sharks under the banner of 'Fin Free Sydney' which she founded with her sister, Ashley Avci decided to go national with the charity and founded ‘Shark Conservation Australia” to tackle the rising egregious and systemic violation of shark welfare taking place across the country. Not to mention that around the world, sharks are being overexploited and driven to extinction. While we don’t know exactly what would be the consequences of removing them from the marine ecosystem, we know for sure that it will have a huge impact. Yet we are allowing ourselves to destroy, one of the oldest and most important predators on the planet. The organisation aims to help raise awareness about all issues regarding sharks (overfishing; finning; the shark meat (flake) industry; bycatch; ocean acidification; plastic pollution; climate change; the faux vitamin industry, pet food industry; trophy hunting; jewellery industry; fishmeal industry and cosmetics…) campaign and advocate for stronger protections and for the conservation of shark species.
Visit sharkca.squarespace.com for more info (site will be available soon)
Why am I doing this?
We have become so oblivious to things happening to our planet, our home. We simply don’t care and the reason is we are so disconnected from our own world and we don’t understand that we are part of it. The digital world and today’s society are separating us from the real world, the one that makes life on earth possible. We all have a role to play and we need to understand that it is our responsibility to care for the environment, people and all species with whom we share our beautiful planet. All life on Earth is interconnected. We all depend on each other so it’s time to care for each other and for our planet.
When it comes to our ocean, I think I will conclude with a quote from Sylvia Earle who is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, lecturer and hero of mine : “People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth's life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth's water is there. It's the blue heart of the planet-we should take care of our heart. It's what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won't get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.”
Michael is a fighter, and inspiration, and an absolute Heroic Human. What an incredible journey he's been on...
Dear Heroic Humans community,
I’m pumped to be featured on the website of Heroic Humans! And it speaks to me that we both aim for making a positive impact in this world by building a solid community through empowerment and support. I feel honored to be part of this tribe.
A few years ago life caught me on the blind side when I just passed my thirties. I got diagnosed with an advanced stage of lymphoma cancer which overnight turned my organized and safe life into one big chaos. When the doctors treated me with chemotherapy and radiation, my emotions took control as I started to suffer from a severe depression. At my lowest point, I came to the realization that I hated my work life thus far, always had blindly followed the majority of people, basically neglecting my true desires and dreams. I wished to live in good health again, travel the world and experience life outside the books, and start to create an initiative for people, allowing me to create awareness and support, so people could start living life on their terms.
After I got in remission a shift happened to me and I decided to take responsibility for how my life was playing out and that’s where I
made a massive change. As soon as I went back to my previous job, I fired my boss, took a mentor to teach me everything how to become successful by working online and that’s how I started my first online company called Designing My Freedom Life and quickly after my second company, DGTLMentors.
My mission now with both companies, is to inspire and offer my guidance to any one who feels stuck and unfulfilled in their (work) life, and is ready to make a change to a new reality enabling to acquire time, location and financial freedom to it’s fullest.
I believe that life is not meant to be lived in just a constant comfort, it holds us back from progress and growth, and mostly: the happiness we all deserve. I’d challenge any one to go out there and discover, take a leap of faith and be all that one can be. I’d love to connect with people who are inspired or motivated to experience the life of their dreams. And if you choose to do, I’d be glad to help you step into that desired reality.
I want to thank any one for taking the time reading my story, and I appreciate you and I look forward to connecting with you on firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie and Kam are on a mission to change the lives of the people around them. They are dedicated to changing the cycle of poverty, and bringing nutrition and fitness awareness to youth living in homeless shelters. These women are a force to be reckoned with, and will absolutely change the world. You two truly are Heroic Humans...
You are my Heroes,
Katie's Inspiration for Bootcamps for Change:
"A typical optimist, after years of volunteering and working for local and international organizations, I found myself longing to research and address the gaps in the traditional charitable model in Canada. As nutrition and fitness saved my life as a young child, I wished for our programming to remove accessibility barriers to these services, while also creating a means for direct poverty alleviation and homelessness awareness. Under our pillars of physical health, mental health, and resilience, the “Bootcamps for Change” concept was born. I couldn’t have done any of it without my incredible teams and business partner, Kam Kuzminski."
Kam's Inspiration for Bootcamps For Change:
"I have always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I spent over 10 years working with marginalized youth as a High School teacher and after pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, I am certain that my purpose in life is to help those around me, more specifically, the youth of this generation. I am devoted to our youth, showing them their truth and talents. Bootcamps For Change was created to help the youth in our community realize their strengths, to show them encouragement, but more importantly to cultivate a positive change in their lives. Our hope is to act as a source of encouragement to help empower and equip the younger generation by using our pillars of physical health, mental health, and resilience."
"Connection is essential in a world that at times that seems so divided. Although Toronto based, we are expanding Canada-wide by facilitating weekly fitness programming and nutritional education for youth in shelters, as well as creating chapters in Universities. Ensuring optimal health of those experiencing homelessness is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Humanization and awareness of the multifaceted issues surrounding homelessness is essential for changing mindsets regarding stereotypes about the sector we serve. Although you may not believe you can relate to the person you pass panhandling on Yonge Street, they want to contribute to society just as much as you and I. When we place blame on the individual, we fail address external circumstances. Our team is further addressing poverty in Toronto and Canada by creating employment opportunities for youth experiencing homelessness. In collaboration with Canfitpro, we are removing financial barriers to certification as well as career coaching and employment resources for residents in shelters to become certified as a personal trainer, group exercise instructor or yoga instructor. This is how our mission comes to life as we attempt to break the barriers of youth homelessness.
Youth struggling with homelessness face so much adversity in their daily lives, and have rarely received encouragement from a mentor figure. The “Bootcamps for Change” model facilitates direct connection with youth to rise above their circumstances, to transform their own lives and eventually those around them."
If you want to get involved and volunteer at their in-shelter fitness programming (Monday and Friday afternoons weekly - can be Pilates, HIIT, Yoga, Zumba, etc.) or volunteer as a nutrition community educator at their partner food bank, you can contact Katie Heggtveit and Kam Kuzminski at email@example.com. Also, you can stay up to date on their incredible journey at www.bootcampsforchange.com, and on Instagram at @bootcampsforchange.
The Younique Foundation, based out of Utah, is as it's name implies, truly unique. This is a mission of love and courage from an amazing team. Their work has changed the lives of thousands within such a short period of time. Absolutely encouraging and motivating to see what can be done when one has a vision...
You are my Heroes,
"Less than five years ago, Derek Maxfield and his sister Melanie Huscroft started Younique Products with a mission to uplift, empower, and validate women across the globe. Derek and his wife, Shelaine (pictured above), had the vision to use this for-profit company to fund a charitable foundation that addresses child sexual abuse. They estimated it would take five years before they might be ready to start a foundation, but just over two years after Younique Products launched, Derek and Shelaine founded The Younique Foundation.
One out of four girls is sexually abused before the age of 18, and an alarmingly low percentage of cases are reported to authorities. At The Younique Foundation, we are committed to putting a dent in these statistics. We believe that to have a real impact, we need to address healing and prevention. Our mission focuses on both:
We inspire hope in women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents by providing healing services through retreats, survivor communities, and online resources.
We empower parents and caregivers to protect children from sexual abuse through education and online resources. We make it safe to openly discuss sexual abuse through community dialogue and social awareness.
Each week The Younique Foundation hosts 24 adult female survivors at The Haven Retreat where the women participate in a variety of healing activities, including exercise designed to help with trauma
recovery, classes that help participants manage the effects of abuse, and off-site group therapy. All meals, lodging, and activities are provided free of charge. To date, more than 1,600 women from all over the world have attended The Haven Retreat.
To help prevent sexual abuse, our sub-brand Defend Innocence educates parents and caregivers to protect children. Our board chair and president, Shelaine Maxfield, who personally engages in all of the foundation’s work and decisions, says, “We can’t sweep [this topic] under the rug. We can’t turn our backs on it. And we certainly cannot turn our hearts away from a cause that is desperate for our attention.”
In 2017, The Younique Foundation had 14.5 million social media impressions, 911,789 website page views, and filmed 600 supporter and survivor videos. In 2017, Defend Innocence had 3.3 million social media impressions, 218,200 social media engagements, educated 2,890 caregivers, and taught prevention in two languages.
Information about how to protect children and start conversations that lead to awareness and prevention can be found at defendinnocence.org. Information about the 5 Strategies to Reclaim Hope and what you can do to help support a survivor can be found at youniquefoundation.org. Please connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Those who would like to follow us in Spanish can find us on Facebook and Instagram at Defendamos la Inocencia."
Lexie is an absolute humanitarian and on a mission to give back, and make a difference wherever she can. Lexie, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"Alexandria Hesketh-Pavilons is in her second year at Western University, taking Advanced Humanities with a goal to work with a leading NGO or even the United Nations, in international aid.
Lexie has been on several volunteer mission trips, helping Haitian sugar cane workers in the Dominican Republic; spending three weeks in Kenya through Me to We. She volunteers at a women's shelter and always puts others first.
She tries to go on a mission trip every summer, just to help others.
As a university student, funds are limited, so Lexie is looking for help to fund her one-week volunteer trip to Antiqua, Guatemala, through International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ).
The money will go towards her airfare, lodging, program fees and her donations to locals while she's there."
Learn more about Lexie and her mission in these two featured articles:
Rachel is a chemical explosion survivor, a holistic nutritionist, private chef, leader, and an inspiration to all those around her. Her story of overcoming a horrible burn, her personal growth and helping those around her has led her to tell her powerful and beautiful story. Rachel, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"Hello to Heroic Humans readers,
I'm so very touched to be a feature on this great site. My whole MO for my businesses and way of working is to build and support people through kindness and humanity, so to be a part of this is such an honour. A few years ago I was in a chemical explosion that left me badly burned and on house arrest. I was also in a not-so-great relationship, was depressed due to my burn, and worried that my skin wouldn't heal. It was a terrible few months and became worse after my body had an intense allergic reaction to all of the meds and pain killers I was on. I was fed up, and angry that the doctors weren't giving me the help and attention I needed. So, I decided to take action. I took myself off of all medications and bought an aloe plant. I did some research into food and medicine, and slowly took my life and made my own healing journey. This part of my life was hard, difficult, and vulnerable - but it made me the person I am today. Here are some amazing things I took with me:
1. I left fashion (still love it) and went back to school for Applied Nutrition. I learned so much. I was happy being back in school and am still close with the people that were my IHN family for years.
2. I ALSO finally got myself together and left my boyfriend. I got my ducks in a row... and started RBN with open arms (rachelbiesnutrition.wordpress.com)
3. I got boots (who is the little fur baby love of my life!)
4. I forced myself to detox my life, including my friends and the people that surrounded me. Positivity and support are more valuable as you get older, rather than image and status.
5. Internal strength. I took time to figure out the person I wanted to be, and who I already was. I grew, learned and am super proud of what I went through and the person I have become.
My mission these days, is to help and inspire any one who has had a rough go, a painful experience, etc to see the light or at least find some good in a difficult period of their lives.
Life is hard and long, and it always helps to have a good support system and positivity. This conversation is so important, along with abuse and personal growth especially in the time of #metoo. I am filled with gratitude on a daily basis with the people I surround myself with, the strength of others, the kindness of humans and the appreciation of sharing my story. It was never about attention or pity, but rather to help someone find their voice or know that there are better days ahead."
To keep up with Rachel, follow her on her Instagram page @thehealthybies and on her website,
Kelsey and Mandi are on a mission to change the ways of humanity and connect us all on a deeper, more spiritual level. What these two women have accomplished, and the community that they've built with UR Enough, is absolutely inspiring and going to make a difference in the lives of many. Ladies, you are truly Heroic Humans...
You are my Heroes,
About UR Enough
"UR Enough is an organization that embraces the vulnerabilities that make us our authentic self, empowering individuals to speak their unique voice. By revealing those vulnerabilities through the power of conversation, UR Enough shines light on topics such as anxiety, addiction, and pain — highlighting qualities that make us the most human. Created from the vision of living in a kinder, more compassionate and understanding of a world, and a mission to use UR Enough to encourage others to speak their truth, care for each other, and create a stronger sense of community, UR Enough raises awareness by fearlessly collaborating, supporting, and celebrating each other both online and through UR Enough events. Founded by two friends, Kelsey Sick and Mandi Nicholson, this is how they celebrate everyone’s ‘enough-ness’."
Inspiration Behind UR Enough
"UR Enough began from the goal of creating a running team for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. While Mandi was trying to convince Kelsey to run a marathon, Kelsey proposed that they run and participate in the Charity Challenge for the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, an organization that Kelsey had been volunteering at for the last year. Hearing this idea, Mandi opened up to Kelsey about the story of her eating disorder.
And so it began. We recruited a ‘small’ team of individuals that had faced their own type of adversity (as all of our stories are different), raised money for NEDIC, and ran a marathon. We created an Instagram and Facebook group to communicate and inspire our team, and to share Mandi's story we created the UR Enough website. We didn’t know what we were doing or the snowball effect that it would have. We just wanted to use our stories and our vulnerabilities to shed light onto topics that society avoids in conversation.
UR Enough became a platform to speak of inspiration, truth, authenticity. A place that embraces the vulnerabilities that make us human. A place that celebrates individuals for exactly who they are. We knew that we needed this for ourselves, but as UR Enough started to expand and grow we discovered how much other people needed it as well. We have been the platform for several other individuals now to share their own unique stories, and we hope to continue to do so.
Now as we work to become a registered charity, we want to continue to share the voice of people, the real truth behind the struggles and hurdles that we all face as humans, so that our society will learn to express empathy, understanding, and acceptance, and we may celebrate our strength and exclaim that we are enough."
UR Enough Campaign
On February 14th 2018, we broke the silence. The UR Enough campaign shared the personal truths of fifteen individuals in Toronto from different age groups, backgrounds, experiences and opinions. Speaking their truths on mental wellness, vulnerability and self-love, their stories and struggles share a common theme.
In a world where external opinions and expectations influence the way we think, feel and speak, when we are faced with struggle we feel shame for being human. We self-criticize for each perceived underachievement, filter our words, mask our imperfections, and dim our light in attempt to avoid difficult conversations. But here’s the truth — we are all imperfect human beings struggling to be seen, and are worthy of love and belonging.
By speaking our truth and experiences for others to hear, the notion that we are disconnected beings dissolves. For these individuals, they have come together on common ground to speak their truth of mental health in hopes of ensuring other people struggling do not feel alone and to empower others to cultivate self-acceptance and speak their truth, too.
If we all stand together we can help change the conversation of mental illness into mental wellness, encourage others to cultivate their own self-love, and we may live as our real authentic selves where those external opinions and expectations won’t influence the way we think, feel, and speak about our truth.
Share Your Story with UR Enough
"UR Enough is a safe place to open up, and become your real, authentic self. It is a platform to share your story — stories of struggle, addiction, mental health, vulnerability, but more importantly, stories of hope, inspiration, and of your undefinable worth. If you have a story that you want to share, we want to hear and celebrate you." urenough.org/share-your-story.
Natalia's passion for photography, mixed with her drive to create a healthier and happier planet, has led her to create a beautifully inspiring platform to celebrate diverse women and diverse relationships. Natalia, what you've created is truly special...
You are my Heroes,
"The Girl Friends Project was inspired out of one aspect of my photography business called One Two Many (@onetwomanyphoto)
which focuses on commercial portraits of trailblazing women in Canada. Through this line of work, I get the chance to work alongside a diverse range of women varying in age, backgrounds and industries- it’s both fun, rewarding and it’s the work I am most proud of. When I photograph portraits for a large company like Google Canada for instance, I take notice of the internal friendships within these organizations and how they play a pivotal role in better work (and personal) performance. I too, work alongside my best friend, (my assistant), and within this dynamic, I produce better work and overall, I am just better version of myself with her around. It’s important to me that I use my skills to pay tribute to this important life experience, but as well, I am happy that I get to bring to light the impactful places and groups these friendships are being formed. I feel a responsibility as a female photographer to keep producing positive images of women: strong, confident, (fully-clothed) and not defeated or defined by our political and cultural circumstances at the moment.
The Girl Friends Project is an ongoing photography initiative featuring individual pairs of friends who contribute, in big and small ways, to a healthier, happier and friendlier planet. It also focus on friendships that met through organizations focused on social change. This project
highlights the strength and the power in these connections we make throughout our lives, but it also forces us to reflect on the impact these friendships have on us and the world. Friendships motivate, they heal, they inspire, they support and empower. A real friendship will outlive any romantic relationship, and it’s important to understand the significance behind them- where they’ve brought us or where will they brings us in the future. Among this, The Girl Friends Project is also showcasing a number of impactful initiatives happening within our incredible (friendly) city."
Laura is hardworking, passionate, and completely dedicated to changing the lives of the people in her community. She is truly a force of nature and seizes every opportunity to make a difference. Laura is advocating for communities that are marginalized, and is creating a voice and strength for those who need it. Laura, you are an inspiration and an absolute Hero.
You are my Heroes,
"I started Inclusive Love because in all honesty I needed to create a purpose for myself. When my father passed away I had a pretty difficult time reconciling that he was homeless and I couldn’t do anything about it. I regained that power by spending the next year feeding, clothing, fundraising, and advocating and rallying for marginalized communities facing food and housing insecurities. These acts of kindness towards the community grew into an entire movement of inclusion, love and acceptance towards homelessness. Now, in 2018, Inclusive Love is expanding our focus to advocate for specific issues surrounding women and the LGBT community with Our Body Our Rules.
This chapter includes topics such as bodily autonomy and safe sex, safety and recognition of sex workers, trans women and men’s rights, and promoting the non-negotiable aspects of consent. My goal is empowering, supporting and advocating for marginalized people while also bringing financial support to shelters and initiatives that directly impact these communities."
- Laura Hesp, Founder of Inclusive Love
Stephanie shares how some of her personal struggles have helped to shape her life, and ultimately changed the outcome of who she presents herself to the world as. She is now on a mission to help change the lives of women and girls, and to bring kindness to the lives of those around her. This woman is dedicated, strong, vulnerable and all things Heroic Humans.
You are my Heroes,
"When I was in my early twenties I was in an abusive relationship. Being in the relationship and ultimately getting out of it I was left in a really deep dark place where my anxiety basically took over. I was isolated, ashamed, and silent. I had hid the fact that I was in an abusive relationship by pushing everyone away and so although my friends and family were still there if I needed them I was filled with so much shame. And truly, the only thing that pulled me out of it was Kindness. I got to a point in my darkness where I knew I had to do something because I just couldn’t stand feeling what I was feeling anymore. I stumbled upon a blog dedicated to human connection and kindness and decided to challenge myself to perform random acts of kindness in the small town I was living it at the time. And it literally changed everything. I would do the smallest things (which are the biggest things) like open doors and actually look people in the eyes, look up and smile when I walked by strangers, say thank you and actually look at the people handing me my coffee or taking my money, I would ask people how they were and wait for the answer, whatever I could do to create that human connection, I would do. And it pulled me out of my own head and my anxiety to realize that I wasn’t the only person going
through something and that I wasn’t alone. And further than that, the real magical part came when I realized that the same kindness I was offering to other people, the same spark I saw when they felt that connection, I could offer it to myself, and I DESERVED to offer it to myself.While I was doing that I also started to work with youth and just realized that everything we do comes from a place of wanting to be seen, heard, and valued. We all just want to feel like we matter (which Oprah says and I love her for it), like we’re loved, and like we’re enough. And you can do all of that with kindness.
Fast-forward…the I AM MORE Movement was born out of a realization that we all so often, especially girls, are held down by the weight of what other people tell us about who we are and what our worth is dependant on. I’ve worked with girls for over 5 years and in that time I’ve seen time after time after time how put in a box we all feel. We feel weighed down, judged, and ashamed. And we’re constantly trying to prove our worth by following along or doing/being the way we think we’re supposed to be doing/being BUT the truth is that at the core of it all we are worthy and we are more. NOTHING can
define who we are except us. We are more than the size of our bodies, the stereotypes, the judgements, the comments, the things that have happened to us, the mistakes we have made, our fears, our diagnosis, all of it. We’re so much more.
The Girl Kind Podcast is really an extension of it all - a place to have those raw, real, vulnerable conversations. I’ve realized through all of this that vulnerability and story telling are key in creating change. As connected as we all are through social media we can also feel really alone, really isolated, and really anxious. Social media is such a BS filled place with perfect pictures and highlight reels and I really wanted a place to show girls that there are real humans out there feeling what they’re feeling and going through what they’re going through and that it’s all okay to talk about. My mission for all of it is to inspire a massive shift in the way girls think/feel/talk about themselves in order to feel more worthy."
To learn more about Stephanie's movement, and to find the link to her podcast, follow
@stephaniedawnelizabeth on Instagram
Happie is on a mission to turn racism and homophobia into love. The world needs more courageous, passionate and strong humans, who have the drive and soul to change the world. Happie, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"Happie is making a stand for the queer community in Jamaica. He has launched his own line of clothing called "I am Necessary" to help raise funds to support LGBT youths in Jamaica. As a Jamaican, he has faced discrimination for his mannerisms and identity.
Happie had to leave Jamaica in order to embrace his authentic self. Now in Toronto as a refugee, Happie has redefined himself. He exudes authenticity and confidence in all aspects of life. When you meet him, you will know why he's called Happie. He has a lasting impression that will leave you in a good mood".
Check out Happie's latest video from Speaker Slam:
Amanda has turned her own path of self-love and vulnerability into something she can share with the rest of the world, and make a difference in the ways in which we love ourselves and our bodies. Creating this journal based off of personal experiences, and experiences which so many of us go through day-to-day, provides a space for people to practice empowerment and confidence. Amanda, I can't wait to see the worlds response to this beautiful idea. Thank you for sharing your story. You truly are a Heroic Human.
You are my Heroes,
"The inspiration to create The Body Love Collective comes from my long, messy, vulnerable story that begins with self-loathing to the point of self-harm, disordered eating, and inhibited living, which ultimately lead me to often wonder if my existence was needed on this planet. As my self-loathing stemmed from living in a body larger than society deemed to be desirable, I thought losing weight would give me the self-love I so desperately longed for. In 2015 I lost 35 pounds and to my disappointment, I did not magically begin to love myself. This experience prompted a desire to deconstruct my beliefs about what beauty looks like through consciously seeking good in bodies of all shapes and sizes, implementing positive self-talk, censoring the content I was viewing on social media, and practicing gratitude regarding my body. I can now boldly and confidently say I love my body and want others to love theirs too.
I am currently doing a Masters of Science in Applied Positive Psychology, which has cultivated a desire to promote human
flourishing in my life. This is why the movement I created is called a “collective” rather than a company because I want to bring others along with me in the journey to self-love. Through researching the impacts of gratitude and implementing a gratitude practice in my life, the idea to create a guided journal focusing on self-love formed. I believe when we train our minds to focus on the good things in life, it makes it easier to see the good around us!
My mission with The Body Love Collective is to holistically empower women (or anyone, really!) to discover their unique beauty through learning to love their bodies. I want to create an intentional space to help shift mindsets of what beauty looks like, to encourage a self-care practice that includes eating well, exercising, and enjoying life to the fullest, while fostering community by celebrating others! On Valentine’s Day The Body Love Book: A Daily Journey to Self-Love is coming out to help guide individuals
into discovering their unique beauty. I am so excited to spread self-love around through this journal!
The intentions for The Body Love Collective in 2018 are to be an active voice in the online community where individuals can seek encouragement, empowerment, and inspiration to love their bodies. Promoting The Body Love Book: A Daily Journey to Self-Love will be a priority and to get it in the hands of those who need to start self-lovin’! I would love to begin speaking engagements to share my experiences, as I believe vulnerability and authentic stories have the power to bring freedom in the lives of others. And last but not least, I intend to write a book about shifting our mindsets from weight to well being. Mostly, I want 2018 to be the year that many say, “that was the year I began to truly love myself"."
To follow along on the release of The Body Love Collection, follow @thebodyloveco
Payton, the founder of S H E, embodies all things Heroic Humans. She is a fire starter, an innovator, and an absolute inspiration. Style Her Empowered is helping girls around the wold have access to empowerment and education. The world needs more of this, and Payton McGriff and her efforts with S H E is a fabulous place to start. In only seven months, this initiative has helped 65 girls have access to an education in Togo, Africa.
Payton, I can't wait to see the ways in which you will change the world!
You are my Heroes,
"I was inspired to start Style Her Empowered (S H E) after reading the book Half the Sky and learning that 130 million girls aren't in school. I started researching the barriers girls face in gaining their educations and quickly learned that required school uniforms, though providing many benefits to students, are an expensive barrier that keep many girls from ever entering a classroom.
S H E aims to educate and empower girls in Togo, Africa by teaching them to sew their own school uniforms, sponsoring their tuition, and providing year-round mentoring and empowerment training. Skills training is core to our model because it places girls at the center of their own development, and provides safe wage-earning potential that can help end the cycle of poverty. At S H E, uniforms are no longer barriers to education, they are opportunities for continued learning and avenues to empowerment."
How I found my passion:
"I have been incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by people who have continuously empowered my dreams; some of them more reasonable than others. And through my journey to empowerment, I've found that education has always been the key to unlocking higher levels of character development, empathy for others, and the mentality that I can do anything I work hard for. S H E has immersed me in a group of empowering people, and I felt I had the unique opportunity to share all of this with women around the world through S H E."
What lies ahead:
"In our short 7 months of operation, we've sponsored 65 girls in our program, and we're seeing significant progress in their self-confidence and the agency they feel over their own future. We've found that it doesn't stop at simply getting girls in school, so we're developing after-school programs that encourage girls to become active members in their community, identify and solve local problems, and become advocates and allies for all girls: or as we like to say, S H E R O E S. We're committed to walking alongside these bright, talented, and resilient young women as they continue to teach us the true meaning of empowerment every day."
Girlvana gives girls the opportunity to feel deep connection, acceptance and support no matter what their situations are. This ever-growing initiative is making a difference in the lives of young women and girls and is helping them by paving the way to a bright future as courageous and strong women. What Ally has created is unique, inspirational and so needed. You truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"I initially created Girlvana to make yoga and meditation more relatable to teenage girls. Overtime it has evolved into creating more space for raw conversations and safe spaces to talk about anything from sex, periods, body image, consent, intersectional feminism and life purpose. I wanted to offer our next generation of women an opportunity to go deep, be heard and feel accepted. I wanted a platform where girls felt less alone, where girls could learn to love themselves and where girls could support girls. All of this was sparked from my desire to heal my younger self and to create a solution to the anxiety, depression and self harm we are seeing at an all time high in young girls."
To get involved with Girlvana, visit www.girlvanayoga.com
Lacey has created a space where creativity, acceptance, connection and collaboration is not only encouraged, but absolutely celebrated. Lacey shares her personal story behind creating 24STRONG and why this mission hits so close to home for her. This young woman is making a difference in the lives of every girl she meets, and leaving the hearts and minds of those around her inspired and brightened. Lacey, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"24STRONG was inspired by 14 year old Lacey. Her lack of self confidence, her dependency on the approval of others both online and in person, her fear of speaking up and her longing for a place to feel at home with other girls her age.
Being a teen has always been hard. Being a teen growing up on social media is even harder. When young girls compare themselves to filtered, highlight reels of instagram models, they are bound to question their own beauty and their own self worth. When Likes and followers seem to be cooler than having true friendships, that help build you up, of course young girls are going to find it hard to feel like they can be their authentic selves around others.
24STRONG was created because the calling for a safe and supportive space was too strong to ignore.
As a dance studio owner, I witnessed dozens of young girls body shaming and feeling like they “aren’t good enough.” This broke my heart. Hearing BEAUTIFUL, TALENTED young girls speak to themselves this way triggered memories from my own tween life
and I knew I needed to help these girls realize just how incredible they are. I knew I needed to be a positive role model in their lives.
he initial mission of 24STRONG was to empower teen girls to believe in themselves and their abilities… the more girls I meet and the more work I do with them, the deeper the mission goes. Yes, our mission is to EMPOWER but also to GUIDE, SUPPORT and LOVE every single girl that we meet.
By creating a space that values conversation and collaboration, we are opening up the doors that so many young girls keep closed. We encourage our girls to share what they feel and what they believe in, and listen to what other girls feel and believe in also. On social media, everything seems to be a competition between girls. We teach our girls that collaboration is what will help our world become a better place and make everyone feel accepted and understood."
After playing at a high level of Hockey, everything that Michael has put in for 20 years has been nothing but pure energy. The physicality and pace of the game has transcended into his creative process. As a hockey player, he had the opportunity to travel through different cities, day and night, and as he passed through them, he discovered his inspiration. Painting, like hockey, allows Michael to have a high intense release of energy. Oil painting has truly taught him how to slow down. The process in which he creates his oil paintings requires more patience, which ultimately allows him to reflect. Much like hockey, his energy is translated through a vessel; although instead of a hockey stick, it’s a paintbrush or a pallet knife.
Michael’s inspiration comes from the energy and movement of the city, which he feels is best captured by the city lights. His dream is to create an intense, powerful and energetic feel in a gallery where people can view city streets at different times of the day and feel the energy and movement of the bursting metropolis.
You can find his work at www.michaelwillsart.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Luanne's story touches a subject that isn't normally top of mind for most. What a wonderful cause and a heart warming story about one of life's most basic needs: to be loved and to be fed. Luanne, you certainly touch the lives of many, and have brought this tremendous support system to mothers and babies in your community. What a rewarding experience... you truly are a Heroic Human.
You are my Heroes,
"As a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition I have received a deep understanding of many lifestyle changes and nutritional theories. This understanding has helped me accomplish something so wonderful within my community.
Several months ago, I saw a practice member in my office feeding their newly adopted baby formula. It got me thinking: how can I get breast milk to babies who have been adopted or to mothers that can't produce? That wonderful thought led me to Louisville's La Leche group. Through them I have learned about milk sharing, working moms groups, the importance of breast feeding, and milk banks.
In May 2017 I partnered with The Milk Bank in opening the very first Milk Bank Depot at Middletown Family Chiropractic (mllouisville.com). We are the first Chiropractic office in Louisville, KY to have a drop off location.
The breast milk received will be supporting infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as well as infants who need breast milk but can't receive it from their mothers.
This opportunity has been so surreal! To be apart of The Milk Bank in bringing awareness to not only the city of Louisville but to the surrounding areas is such a blessing! If you are curious about how you can become a donor or start your own milk bank at a local business please go to www.milkbank.org to learn more!"
The Get REAL Movement is paving the way for youth and teens to tell their stories through mentor-ship, programming, and downright humanity. This non-profit organization energizes LGBTQ+ rights and has created a safe space for people to live as their authentic selves. These young adults are creating a beautiful movement filled with compassion, love, inclusiveness, and the celebration of individuality. Marley, Chris and Max, you are Heroic Humans through and through... I can't wait to see the ways in which you change the world.
You are my Heroes.
What motivated you to get involved in Get REAL?
"I think for me it was really about about two things. The first was getting the chance to be the role model that I never had when I was younger. The first time I spoke to a gymnasium of students I was overwhelmed by the number of kids who came up and talked to me afterwards -- thanking me for sharing my story and letting me know that they now feel more comfortable being themselves. Getting the chance to be 'that' person is motivation. And the second thing is getting the chance to help build something so organically and see your own ideas come to life. That's pretty cool."
Why is voice and story-telling so crucial within your initiative?
"I think a lot of people are afraid of something they've never experienced, themselves, before. By sharing our stories we really help put a friendly face to a stereotype, term, etc. Humanizing something helps it seem more scary and ultimately helping create more understanding, compassion, and friendship. At the end of the day, we are all more alike than we are different. "
What motivated you to get involved with Get REAL?
"I got involved with Get REAL for a few reasons. For one, I realized that I had the power to impact the first year students I was mentoring at the time at my university, especially their words and attitudes around homophobia. By taking a friendly approach, opening up a bit about some of my experiences, I was seeing one big group of students change their words and attitudes for the better, and another big group of students come out, tell us they felt like they belonged, and could be themselves for the first time. Two very different, yet incredibly meaningful outcomes from a bit of honest, non-judgy conversation. When Get REAL was pitched as a student group that would build on these experiences and try to move them into middle and high school settings, that was important to me because I hadn't always been like that. In fact, I had been part of the problem. But I'd never known anyone remotely relatable who didn't use the same slurs, or hold the same attitudes that I did back then. I thought, with the right combination of young, diverse, relatable speakers, sharing real, human connections and stories from both LGBTQ+ and ally perspectives, we had the chance to really do some good on the ground, face-to-face with students. Four students, zero start-up cash, and no prior experience. Countless mistakes, tears, and triumphs later, with over 100,000 students reached in 7 provinces and 3 states... that was the best decision I've ever been a part of."
Why is voice and story-telling so crucial within your initiative?
"I believe that prejudice, stereotypes, hatred, and fear come from seeing people less as human, and more as an "other". But when you start to get to know someone, and hear what they've gone through, all of that becomes much, much more difficult to do. I view our workshops as almost like Humans of New York, but in person. We open up to the students, and they share stories and experiences as well. Everyone goes through something a little different. But our human emotions (love, hope, stress, fear, sadness, happiness) do not discriminate, and transcend all types of people; similarly, our chosen qualities (kindness, respect, compassion, determination, bravery, integrity) can come from anyone. So really, we all have a lot in common. That's why stories are important, for us. Delivery is the other important piece. We can share the most powerful stories ever, but if students come away thinking we were condescending, disrespectful, judgemental, or aggressive, we'd be better off having not come at all. So we approach every school with kindness and honesty, a lot of respect, a bit of humour, and zero assumptions. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's something we take extremely seriously. Best job ever.".
What motivated you to get involved with Get REAL?
"I got involved with Get REAL because I realized the importance of relatable role models, and how I lacked those growing up. I wanted to be able to be that for trans kids trying to figure themselves out. They need to be able to see regular people who happen to also be trans, doing the things they love and living happy, successful lives. I hope that by joining Get REAL, I have been able to connect with even one kid who has been able to benefit from my visibility. "
Why is voice and story-telling so crucial within your initiative?
"I think sharing personal stories is one of the best ways to erase some of the stigma surrounding various identities, and help to build empathy between people. It is so much harder to discriminate against someone you have met and gotten to know as a person just like you, rather than an abstract concept or label you've been encouraged to hate or fear. It's so important for people to realize that while we may not have the exact same experiences in life, we all feel the same emotions, and have so much more in common as human beings than we often realize.".
These women are on the brink of something amazing. They took the leap to leave their jobs and to create and develop this life-changing program. The Yoga Project leads by example by teaching self-care and mindfulness to children and their families. Jessica and Vanessa are changing the lives of those in their communities and most definitely making a difference. Their efforts with The Yoga Project and their ever-growing initiative is truly Heroic...
You are my Heroes.
- Dana Clark
"The Yoga Project is comprised of a team of Ontario Certified Teachers that aim to normalize yoga and mindfulness in K-12+ schools. TYP School Programs are based on the belief and knowledge that yoga has a profound effect on children, youth, teens and families. Yoga teaches us self-awareness and helps to develop inner strength, personal insight, and the ability to move through life from a place of connectedness. Equipping students with the tools to know and recognize how to calm or energize oneself, when to ease up or get centred, how to de-stress and build confidence, are all self-regulation skills for life that we strive to empower in youth.
The Yoga Project began as an idea 6 years ago in the classroom. I was teaching my students yoga & mindfulness practices daily after I observed many challenges the students were facing: stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and body image. The students were distracted and disengaged with themselves and the world around them. Vanessa started teaching yoga & mindfulness techniques to the students she taught in Phys.Ed after witnessing similar trends. After working with the students so closely and seeing how well they respond to it (greater focus in their subject areas, engagement in yoga & mindfulness, and more importantly, a sense of calm and ease in their skins) we knew we had to reach more students! We left our teaching positions to pursue the path of educating and empowering students through yoga & mindfulness in education!"
Visit their website to get involved: www.yogaproject.ca
"I played football for most of my life right through university and then continued my love for the sport by coaching in the CFL and NCAA. Immediately following my experience south of the border, I was hired at lululemon. Within the first week, my manager and now good friend sat me down and asked me “Who are you?”
I responded confidently, “I’m a football coach…” she said “Vince, that’s just what you do, who are you?”
Not having an answer, I broke down in tears because in that moment I realized that my entire life I let my sport define me. Since then, I have been on a mission to empower athletes with the necessary tools to live a life that is self-defined. I am relentless in spreading the message that your life and legacy are not defined by what you do, they are defined by you!
I have since founded The Legacy Coaching, a curriculum delivered through one on one and team coaching filled with lessons that I learned after my career in sport. I have turned each of these lessons into easy to understand modules to help athletes define their own answers for life’s big questions. Examples – Who are you? and What is your purpose?
I incorporate the practice of writing into everything I do as I believe there is a special power to seeing your thoughts, beliefs, dreams and goals on paper.
My theory on Legacy is that if you LOVE yourself, and LIVE your purpose, the legacy you LEAVE will take care of itself.
What legacy are you LIVING?"
Through his own personal "aha! moment", Vince started a life changing journey. Utilizing previous strengths but applying them in a different manner has allowed him to share his skills and expertise with others. Vince has forged the perfect path for his own legacy and is an inspiration to all those who are destined to live a legacy of their own. Vince, you truly are a Heroic Human...
Head over to www.thelegacycoaching.com to learn more about Vince and get involved in his services, programs and events. Also follow his journey on Instagram at @thelegacycoaching
"A few years ago, before the Instagram Influencer world blew up, we created an account under the handle @yoga_twins. We didn’t initially intend for our Instagram page to serve as a platform for us to share our lifestyle with thousands of people, but over the years that is what it’s grown to be and we are very grateful for that.
We’ve both been committed to a healthy, active lifestyle for longer than we even knew what that meant. We grew up on the same competitive dance team and branched out into other sports / activities as we got older. When we were in university, yoga became the perfect practice to maintain both a healthy body and a healthy mind (which can be really challenging as a student). Despite the fact that we were in different provinces, we were able to stay connected through our shared love of yoga (among a million other things, seeing as we’d been best friends for 12+ years at this point).
One summer in between semesters, we saw that @kinoyoga was hosting a yoga challenge on Instagram. These were all the rage a few years ago. Here’s how it works: the host(s) posts daily yoga poses for their followers to try and share a photo of. If you post every pose throughout the challenge, you are entered to win something from the sponsor, which is usually a yoga apparel/accessory brand. We didn’t want to annoy our friends by participating in the challenge on our personal accounts, so we decided to create an account with the sole intention of entering Kino’s challenge.
And the rest is history! We quickly found ourselves scheduling our hang-outs based on where we could take the best yoga photos,
texting about next month’s yoga challenge, and tagging each other in inspirational posts. We were so excited (and still are!) to be a part of the yoga community online amongst so many inspiring, positive, and energetic people from around the world. Before we knew it, we were sharing our passion for yoga, wellness, and healthy living with thousands of people on Instagram.
Fast forward to today, and we are more engaged in the community than ever. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really exciting brands over the past few years, turning our hobby into a side hustle. But more importantly, we’ve been able to strengthen our personal passions, meet so many incredible people, and (hopefully) inspire others to live their best lives by treating themselves with love and compassion.
Something we really hope to get across to our followers is to be true to yourself and live a balanced life. A lot of young women struggle with finding a balance when working towards their fitness and health goals. More often than not we can be negatively influenced by the overwhelming amount of content pushing a certain type of lifestyle. Once we started gaining a larger following, we made the conscious decision to do our best to represent ourselves in an authentic way. While our page focuses specifically on yoga, we still wanted to be the source for reaching your general fitness and health goals in a realistic way. We’ve recently turned our focus onto our blog to give our followers some more insight into what we care about and offer our perspective/knowledge on topics we hold close to our hearts."
Yoga Twins encourages authenticity in a world filled with judgment, striving to support and encourage others in their community to live as their healthiest and happiest selves. These long-time best friends followed their passion for an active and purposeful lifestyle and turned it into a fast-growing initiative. By playing an active part in their community and following their passions, goals and all yogaesque” adventures, these two are truly Heroic Humans...
"Monday Girl is an incredible network and community of over 500 millennial women looking to connect and collaborate with other like-minded women in Toronto. We provide support and an encouraging platform for young female professionals and creatives to meet and thrive through our monthly events and active Facebook group.
We also make networking way more fun. Networking events are usually awkward, heavily male dominated, and confusing. A lot of our members are fresh graduates moving into the big city or entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. It can be difficult to meet the right people for you sometimes. Monday Girl is a safe and FUN place to find other women who will lift you up both professionally and hopefully through new friendships.
We also provide members an opportunity to give back to the community by simply attending fun events. For example, our last event was a fashion gala in support of Yes! Dress for Success, a charity that provides clothing, resources, and support for underprivileged women entering the workforce. Our next event is happening December 11th in support of ReThink Breast Cancer as well.
If anyone's interested in learning more about Monday Girl or joining, you can say hello at: https://www.mondaygirl.ca/join-us/ "
Monday Girl is a gathering space for creativity, innovation, and passion providing a community and support to ambitious women in Toronto. This unique idea which brings women together in both business and social relationships is what makes Monday Girl so special. They encourage authenticity, growth, connection, and empowerment.
Thank you to Monday Girl for showing us what Heroism looks like in our community.
"I remember it clearly. I was seventeen and I felt completely lost in a sea of people I didn’t know and couldn’t relate to. I felt like I didn’t know who I was and I hated my first few weeks away from home at university. It was autumn. I was at an English 020 seminar at Western and my TA put up a poem on the projector called ‘a leaf falls on loneliness’ by E.E. Cummings. He talked about it for a few minutes and I remember I was sitting cross legged in a corner seat of a long wooden table and I just burst into tears. I had never been so moved by anything in my life. Poetry became my everything. I was a music student studying opera, but I got the rare chance to work on a creative writing thesis with my mentor and my hero - the author Larry Garber. Larry gave me an outlet to write poems and to workshop them with a class over several years of study and it was during those years that I learned the true restorative power of words. Even after leaving Western, I was completely obsessed with romantic and twentieth century poetry. Later in my life, Canadian poets like the great Russell Thornton and Ken Babstock turned me on to modern poetry. I was given the opportunity to perform in various operas and Les Misérables with Mirvish Productions following graduation, but I always wanted to make an album and to be a songwriter. As an introvert, I think the most beautiful part of finally achieving my goal this year was the fact that it came about thanks to friendships with other people. I became friends with an amazing person named Mitch Hogg. He believed in me more than I could ever hope to believe in myself; he told me over and over that I could do it and he showed up for me in a big way, putting countless hours into the making of Chapter Eight and playing multiple instruments throughout.
The album’s producer Hubert Razack took me seriously as an artist from the first day I played him my little iPhone voice memos of song ideas and his commitment to my work gave me new confidence as a writer. Jacqueline Ravensbergen created the piano parts of my dreams almost overnight. And all along and on and on, my family and my friends have challenged me to keep going, to keep changing, and to keep growing. As a songwriter, I believe in the paradox that is strength in vulnerability and I want to tell you straight up not to listen to the people who put you down for the things that make you different. Opening your heart makes you strong — not weak. Be as serious as you want. Be as intense. Be as determined. Be as obsessed. Be as driven. And when you dream of your heart’s greatest desire, never ever lose your enthusiasm. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be uncool. It’s okay to get your heart broken or to be disappointed and it’s okay to talk about it. The right people will be there to listen. I’ve realized that the only way to write the next page of my story is to contend with every one that’s come before. The only way to get somewhere is to start from where I left off. The only way is to work and work and then work harder and to honour time. So many people think of life as a movie, but for me, life is a novel. The songs I wrote for my album Chapter Eight are dramas and celebrations of real people in the real story of my life. My experience of love has made me someone stronger. Someone broken. Someone delicate. Someone fierce. Someone vulnerable. Someone new. Don’t shut out who you’ve been to find out where you’re going because as William Wordsworth once wrote in his famous ode Intimations of Immortality: “we will grieve not, rather find/ strength in what remains behind/ in the primal sympathy/ which having been must ever be”
One of the many things that makes Caroline so incredible is her depth. She follows her heart, thrives on her individuality, and uses her vulnerability as her most soulful superpower. Her music is truly moving. Support this courageous woman on her journey in following her heart and passion for lyrics, poetry, and all things with meaning. She truly is a Heroic Human...
Check out Caroline’s first two singles from her new album Chapter Eight via the links below and follow her on Instagram
Chapter Eight : http://hyperurl.co/bjzlnz Give In: http://hyperurl.co/te79x2 www.carolinecolantonio.com
Army of Sass is an organization devoted to helping people build confidence and physical strength while developing dancing skills – in heels! It is an organization built upon the idea of inclusiveness – the idea that no matter someone’s shape, size or sexual orientation, you can be part of their community. They don’t tolerate bad energy, cattiness, or judgement of others personal style or appearances. In the Army of Sass, they leave no good woman behind!
A note from Jennifer on bringing Army of Sass to her community:
“My name is Jennifer Arbour and I was inspired to bring Army of Sass heels dance classes to my community of Newmarket, ON because of how it made me feel to dance and perform for a year at the Toronto location. It is fun and empowering and the best part is that it is designed for EVERYONE! I'm proud to have provided an outlet for people to express themselves in a different way, to motivate others and to have cultivated an inclusive community of encouragement, self-love and growth. We learn, we sweat, we laugh and we build each other’s confidence.”
Feel empowered. Connect with your community. Get involved in Jennifer’s Army of Sass classes by visiting armyofsass.com/newmarket and follow @aosnewmarket
"I started One Species because I wanted to create a brand that represents wildlife in a new and exciting way. It's the story of one girl’s love for the wild world, as she builds an organization and global community of wildlife heroes who believe that wildlife conservation should be mainstream.
Life on Earth is disappearing at an unprecedented rate and we, humans, are disconnected from the crisis.
We are disconnected from wildlife - we don’t care.
I believe the disconnect exists simply because we are not exposed to wildlife or shown how to appreciate it! I was lucky growing up, in that my Dad taught me to love and appreciate wildlife, and it greatly enriched my life.
One Species mission is to “make wildlife conservation mainstream” by inspiring and educating our audience. We do this through video series, clothing, social media and an ambassador program.
We’ve been travelling to some of the wildest places on Earth to expose endangered and incredible species. We build collections of clothing and stories around each species that we feature.
In order for change to happen, the bottom line is people have to care. If you want to get involved… Support our featured endangered species (orca, manatee, & spider monkey) by purchasing and repping our apparel (10% goes to each species). We also have a growing ambassador program of over 200 ambassadors from around the world - apply today!"
One Species' efforts to save endangered animals is downright courageous and inspiring. With knowledge, we truly do have power, and with power, we as humans can conserve wildlife and play our part in our global community. Let's acknowledge this influential organization in the battle against extinction and follow in their footsteps to make a difference. Elena, you truly are a Heroic Human...
Get involved in this moving initiative at www.onespeciesapparel.com and on Instagram at @one.species.
"When Dana messaged me to ask me to share my story about Mindful Macros I was at a loss of words. To be quite honest I still am, where do I even begin? How do I get people to understand the history of this? Well, Mindful Macros means… everything to me. Whenever someone asks me “What is Mindful Macros?” to be honest, my answer shifts just a little every single time.
In my own journey of finding who Ana was I went through a lot of self-hate, inauthenticity, negativity and neglect of my own health and nutrition. This came completely from a place of zero knowledge that eating whatever I wanted was not going to last very long and having no desire to care for myself through healthy nutrition and activity would not get to me to goals.
I am not one to lie… or lie well for that matter. Yet, there was one lie I was extremely good at telling people. This one people always believed and never questioned. It was the “I am fine” lie. I struggled constantly with bullying, loneliness, depression, and fear of going out into the real world. I just barely got through every day without having mental breakdowns, attending every single class was a struggle and concentrating on homework was a nightmare. Yet when anyone asked what was wrong I would answer with, “I am fine.” No, I wasn’t.
During this time art was a way to calm my mind. I came home from school, ate a large meal, took a nap and when I woke up I began to fill pages and pages in my sketchbook of dark images of roses, skulls and portraits of people. The other way I found comfort was through my unhealthy attachment to food. I loved how happy it made me and the comfort I felt from it. I spent years over eating without a care, then when I looked in the mirror I wondered why I wasn’t happy with my body and thought I could never reach my goal of being fit and healthy. I constantly fantasized about what it could be like being a “gym girl” and healthy and fit.
What I really want to land with you is that mindfulness and nutrition are in correlation with each other. I was never obese or over weight. Achieving self-love and care for yourself and your body begins with your mindset. Once I started to realize I was sick and tired of hating the way I felt and looked I took action and worked my ass off for it.
I am someone who has experienced trial and error, gained and continue to gain knowledge about food, nutrition and nourishing my body. I am someone who discovers herself in the gym, body building, powerlifting, and moving my body to strive for the best me.
I made Mindful Macros so I could be a stand for the growth of people. Beginning with their mindsets, health and body. I made Mindful Macros so I could provide education about food and fitness so people can find the ability to work toward their balance and the self-love they are in discovery of. Fitness is not “one size fits all”. It does not need to look like an Instagram fitness model, mean you need to have a shredded 6 pack, or the roundest capped shoulders. Fitness and a healthy lifestyle is what you decide it to be. I want to share with people that starting by becoming more mindful of your nutrition is going to bring you closer to your healthy lifestyle goals. Chicken, broccoli and rice does not need to be eaten 4 times a day for 60 days. Mindful nutrition is more than that, it is moderating all the wonderful food you love to eat and finding your healthy balance. The more education you know about nutrition and balance the more you can find your version of happy and healthy.
It is a lifestyle that drives you to your goals that may be short term, but that support you in your goal of living, breathing, the healthiest, happiest & most fit you for the rest of your life"
De Manos Con Amor, Spanish for (“From Hands With Love”) is a non-profit organization that empowers women and girls in Central America to break the cycle of poverty.
DMCA supports women entrepreneurs in Central America by purchasing handmade accessories at fair trade and they donate 100% of profits to schools in Central America to provide necessary supplies and improve their education. This powerful female-fuelled organization is creating stronger local economies and providing girls with equal opportunities to change the world.
While Katherine is based in New York City, it was women thousands of miles away in Honduras that compelled her to address the poverty that entraps them. She had to do something to break that cycle, and De Manos Con Amor is her solution. Watch as this awe-inspiring initiative provides strength, compassion and encouragement. She is truly a Heroic Human…
“As humans, it’s part of our duty to help one another, especially those of us who have more opportunities,” ... “When you see something and you know you have the power to help, it’s difficult to turn away — and that’s what happened in Honduras for me. I’m so thankful for the many mentors I’ve had, especially strong women mentors, who’ve guided and taught me throughout the years. I hope I can do the same for these women in Central America to make a positive difference in their lives.”
- Katherine Najera
We honour the efforts of Waves4Water. These Heroic Humans truly embody the spirit of our movement. We are sharing their story to inspire others and to acknowledge their efforts in helping those in need. Let’s support Waves4Water in all of their Heroic endeavors. If you’d like to help, visit their website below.
Heroic Humans is a social impact movement that provides a gathering space for inspiration, celebration and empowerment. We aim to foster connections among heroic people and groups, helping to establish a broader reach and more profound influence on their individual communities. We care about authentic connections and the power behind all people and passions. Let’s join forces and recognize those who make a difference.
Heroism comes in all forms. Whether it’s someone who lights you up, inspires you or others, or pours your favorite cup of coffee; everyone has their own story to tell and a life to change.
With your help, we can uncover raw emotion and vulnerability, overcome adverse conditions, and applaud human empowerment in all its forms.
Submit your Heroic Human and share their impact with us. We’d love to get to know them!
HEROISM LIVES HERE