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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 6 June 2013

The #LawrenceHeights Headline You Won't See Tomorrow:

Thursday, June 6 2013
LAWRENCE HEIGHTS -  The students, staff and parents of Flemington Public School were joined by a special guest at this evening's Shine Bright Like a Diamond Talent Night.  The Raptors' mascot set the crowd on fire with a dazzling entrance and spirited contribution to the post-show Awards of Merit presentation.  One of the students turned the tables on the Raptor, surprising the mascot with a back flip of his own.  This led to a crowd-pleasing Raptor-Vs-Student dance-off.
The performing students played to a packed house of family, friends and supporters, wowing the audience with songs, dances and even a magic show.  Each performance was encouraged by the crowd with enthusiastic claps and shouts of support.  The Gangnam Style routine brought everyone to their feet, a perfect blending of audience and performers.  This, folks, was community done right.
Not that this support was mere charity - some true gems took to the stage, showing off remarkable physical and vocal discipline.  Asked what training they'd received to craft their fantastic singing voices, a set of twin sisters replied "we just love singing so we practise all the time."  One participant kept the crowd entertained through some technical difficulties with an improv stand-up routine (you can never go wrong with egg jokes).
Encouraged by the support and inspired by the visit of a Toronto celebrity, these talented students beamed as they left the school, adding "rock star" to their list of potential career paths.
You won't read this story in any paper, but it did happen and it was magical.  I'm no performance critic, but I know talent when I see it - there were some real diamonds in the rough on that stage, needing only a little polish and a bit of encouragement to shine to their maximum potential.
There are probably countless positive stories of this sort playing out in communities like Lawrence Heights, Rexdale and St. Jamestown every day that never hit the news stands.  Instead, Toronto only sees these neighbourhoods through the lens of body bags and police tape.
It doesn't have to be that way.  These kids and their accomplishments can be promoted by local papers, radio stations and through social media platforms like Twitter.  There's a funny thing that happens when you reinforce the positive - it sparks even more positive behaviour as those being recognized enjoy that powerful feeling you get when admired for what you can do, not discounted for who you are seen as.
There's nothing I would like more than to see this headline become a reality one day, with some of these talented kids being the celebrities setting home-community crowds on fire.
It can happen.  It should happen.  I encourage any media folk who read this piece to reach out to these communities and be part of making sure it does happen:

The Lawrence Heights Inter-Organization Network

Positive Change

Flemington Public School


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