Posing for my photoshoot!

Well, today was the first full day of the pageant, and I can already tell it’s going to be a great week! Last night was the welcome party, where we got to meet all the other delegates and have a rundown of the week and the day ahead. The room was buzzing with excitement while everyone went around introducing themselves and making new friends! It was so nice to finally meet the girls I’ve been following on social media for the past few months and knowing how close we’re going to be by the end of the week. Later, we were given goody bags full of gifts from our amazing sponsors, including some makeup from MAC Cosmetics! I don’t usually splurge on expensive makeup, so it was a huge treat. We then went back to our rooms and got some much-needed sleep for the next day.

A healthy and tasty meal!

This morning, we were up bright and early for breakfast, soon after that, we were escorted to the hair and makeup rooms to prepare for our photo shoot, video shoot, and interview! I went through fairly quickly and was the first to finish both my photo and video shoot. While I waited in my room to be called to my interview, I was given an absolutely delicious lunch from Clean Meals! It was the perfect portion size for me, and it was under 500 calories! When I heard it all food was locally sourced and containing hormone free proteins, I was in love. Anyone who’s talked to me for the last month or so know that I have been eating super healthy and staying away from processed foods, so this was perfect. During my preparation for Miss Teenage Canada, I’ve found a love for being healthy, and while I do indulge in a treat once in a while, a healthy lifestyle is still so important. For lunch, I had pasta and beans, and as I write this I am currently eating their roast beef and potatoes.

After everyone was finished up their photo shoots and interviews, we began rehearsals, which lasted for a few hours, in which we managed to finish the opening number! I love the routine we were given, but after that my feet are pretty sore. Now, we’re all back in our rooms to relax, unwind, and prepare for tomorrow! I’m already feeling tired, but there’s still four days left to go!

Thank you so much to Clean Meals for providing our delicious lunches and dinners and to all the other sponsors of Miss Teenage Canada 2018! Stay tuned for more updates!

Til Next Time

Aleria

 

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When I was first crowned

Tomorrow is officially the beginning of the 2018 Miss Teenage Canada pageant week! This day came by so quickly, it feels like yesterday I was walking into the Miss Teenage Ontario pageant with high hopes and ready to face the world. Now here I am, finishing up my packing for my second go at Miss Teenage Canada. I’m so excited to meet all the other contestants and to get to know everyone over the week. I’ve got to see them on social media attending events and promoting their platforms, and I finally get to meet the incredible girls who hold these titles, and of course, reunite with the Ontario girls! I’m also especially excited to meet my roommate, hopefully, whoever it is doesn’t mind how cold I like to keep the room!

Without those behind the scenes, I wouldn’t be where I am!

And now, with the pageant one day away, this means that I have a number of thank you’s to make to those who have helped me get to where I am, my generous sponsors, and of course everyone who has supported me through this process. First and foremost, I would not be who I am, where I am, and what I am without the many blessings that God has given me. I am amazed every day by the people He has brought into my life and the opportunities that are created for me, and I know I owe it to Him. Second, my parents. I would not be going to this pageant at all if it weren’t for the incredible amount of fundraising, promoting, and sponsor-finding my dad is capable of. He’s usually behind the scenes, but he is the one who’s been there to help me spread my message and get me to Toronto. Whenever I have a new venture or project or hobby, he’s always been the first one to say “Okay, how can I help?”, along with my stepmom and her family and the support they’ve given me. And of course, my mom, who accompanies me to events, drives me everywhere, is the person I go to when I am nervous and is always there to give opinions on a walk, an interview answer, or an outfit. She tells people she isn’t a pageant mom, but trust me, she is. Third, my boyfriend Neil. How he willingly manages to put up with my stress and craziness and mood swings and busy life and have a smile on while doing it is beyond me. He’s always there to accompany me to the gym, to pageant things, events, dress shopping, and while he may not love it, he has never once complained, and I’m so thankful for him.

Paul and I, the owner of Anytime Fitness Brantford!

Now, my fantastic sponsors! I’ve been lucky to have a couple of great sponsors who’ve supported me over the last few months. Anytime Fitness Brantford has been my official fitness sponsor, and I can now say with total honesty that I like the gym! I used to dread going to the gym because I was always nervous about the atmosphere, and the fact that I wasn’t very strong or fit compared to some of the people I saw, but Anytime Fitness has given me such a welcoming environment where I’ve been able to get stronger and healthier. I’ve gained so much confidence and I feel ready to walk the stage with it! The Six Nations Marketplace has also been so supportive of all my endeavors, and have been so gracious in including me in events and even holding a fundraiser for me! I’ve always advocated in supporting local business, and they’ve been so helpful, and I cannot thank them enough! Of course, a thank you goes out to Six Nations Band Council for their generous donation to WE Charity. With their help, along with my high tea and other donations, I’ve been able to raise over $2000, which surpasses my original goal of $1500!

And finally, last but not least, a huge thank you goes out to everyone who has made a donation, who has bought a ticket, who has shared a post, read a blog, or liked a page. Everyone who has been there to support me through this journey in all of the little things. It’s the small gestures that add up, and I’ve been so blessed to have had so many people behind me in my run for Miss Teenage Canada. Pageant week starts tomorrow, so make sure you watch my social media’s for updates on events and the competition! Thank you so much for reading!

Til Next Time

Aleria

Psalm 13:6

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Only part of the display of tea and food!

On Sunday, August 5th, I was honoured to have been able to host a high tea “tea party” in support of WE Charity at The Golden Teapot at Glenhyrst Gardens. We had a fantastic turnout, and it was so great to have been able to thank some of my supporters in person and talk to everyone about my journey to Miss Teenage Canada. The venue, The Golden Teapot, could not have been more perfect! Located at Glenhyrst Art Gallery, it was surrounded by beautiful gardens and art pieces. Everyone seemed to love the gorgeous display of food and tea, it was almost too pretty to eat! The flower shaped sandwiches were especially good, if I do say so myself. I mean, I know I went up for seconds maybe once or twice. The hostess, Linda, was also incredibly kind and accommodating throughout the entire event which I was so thankful for. After high stress levels among my parents and I for the last few weeks, getting everything ready and advertising, it was nice to be able to relax and enjoy the tea itself.

With the ambassadors, Miss, Miss Teen, Miss Mini, Little Miss, and Miss Preteen.

We also had a few special guests attend. I was so excited to have the 2017 Six Nations ambassadors attend! I started my pageant journey competing in Miss Preteen Six Nations, later winning Miss Teen Six Nations when I was 13. It was a great year and such an honour to be an ambassador for the community I am proud to call home. Kyleigh, Miss Six Nations, was so kind to organize it so all the ambassadors could make an appearance at the tea. She will also be competing at the CNE Ambassador Pageant the same day as the Miss Teenage Canada finals, which is a funny coincidence. Kyleigh is a fantastic role model and ambassador, and I know she’ll make Six Nations so proud! I’ll be anxiously awaiting the results during finals night, that I know for sure!

Crowns and Tea!

Overall, it was a great afternoon, and I can’t express how blessed and thankful I am for everyone’s support. I will be accepting donations for WE Charity until this Saturday, so if you couldn’t make it today and are still interested in donating, feel free to contact me at my Facebook page, Miss Teenage Ontario 2018, or my email, [email protected] To everyone who took the time to attend my fundraiser or have already donated, THANK YOU! I am so excited to say I have currently raised a little over $2000, and I could not have done it without the support I have been so thankful to have received. There are only 9 days until Miss Teenage Canada begins, and I cannot wait! I have appointments booked all week and I have been very busy with planning, events, practicing, working out, and preparing for university on top of all the pageant stuff! The upcoming weeks will be very busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you so much for reading!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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I am so excited to announce a mini-campaign I will be starting in support of parliamentary motion M-174, sponsored by MP Charlie Angus. A few months ago, I had the incredible opportunity to be on a panel at the Town Hall Meeting in support of the implementation of a national suicide prevention plan in Canada, alongside Charlie Angus and hosted by Alex Felsky, Grand Erie District School Board Trustee. M-174 calls on the government to implement a national, evidence-based action plan to prevent suicide. Charlie Angus’ website declares:

“We need action to address the issue of suicide everywhere in Canada and for all of those affected – we need flexible, responsive solutions on reserve and in the North, in the LGBTQ community, among older workers, and for the families left behind by suicide.”

At the panel, speaking about the need of a suicide prevention plan in Canada.

This is a cause that not only I am proud to be supporting but am genuinely passionate about as many of you already know. This motion has been endorsed by numerous associations, including the CMA (Canadian Medical Association), the CNA (Canadian Nurses Association), and the CASP (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention).  I will be starting a letter writing mini-campaign in support of this motion, and my current goal is to get 15 letters mailed! However, the more the better! To participate, first, you must figure out who your MP is. If you are in my area, Brantford-Brant and Six Nations, our MP is Phil McColeman. If you are from somewhere else and are not sure who your MP is, enter your postal code at this website. After, write a letter to your MP expressing your support, and asking them to support it as well. You can find a template letter here. Feel free to add any personal stories, and your own connection to mental health and it’s importance to you. After you are finished, you can either email or mail your letter to your MP. This information can also be found on the parliament website. You can send mail to any member of parliament postage free. After you are done, let me know and I can add your name to the list of supporters! My email is [email protected], and you can also message my Facebook page.

M-174 Not One More

That, in the opinion of the House the government should:

(a) establish a national suicide prevention action plan, including among its provisions

(i) commitment to the actions and resources required to establish culturally appropriate community-based suicide prevention programs as articulated by representative organizations of the Inuit, First Nations, and Métis peoples,

(ii) establishment of national guidelines for best practices in suicide prevention based on evidence of effectiveness in a Canadian context,

(iii) the creation of a national public health monitoring program for the prevention of suicide and identification of groups at elevated risk,

(iv) creation of programs to identify, and to attempt to fill, gaps in knowledge relating to suicide and its prevention, including timely and accurate statistical data,

(v) development of tools to promote responsible and safe reporting of suicide and its prevention by media,

(vi) establishment of national standards for the training of persons engaged in suicide prevention, whose contact with potentially vulnerable populations provides an opportunity to identify at-risk individuals and direct them to appropriate assessment and treatment, and

(vii) creation of a national online hub providing essential information and guides to accessing services, in English, French, selected Indigenous languages, and other languages spoken widely in Canada for suicidal individuals, their families and friends, people bereaved by a loved one’s suicide, workplaces and other stakeholders concerned with suicide prevention;

(viii) conducting within 18 months comprehensive analyses of:

(1) high-risk groups of people, and the risk factors specific to each such group,

(2) the degree to which child sexual abuse and other forms of childhood abuse and neglect have an impact on suicidal behaviour,

(3) the barriers to Canadians accessing appropriate and adequate health, wellness and recovery services, including substance use, addiction and bereavement services,

(4) the funding arrangements required to provide the treatment, education, professional training and other supports required to prevent suicide and assist those bereaved by a loved one’s suicide,

(5) the use of culturally appropriate suicide prevention activities and best practices,

(6) the role that social media plays with respect to suicide and suicide prevention,

(7) means to reduce stigma associated with being a consumer of mental health, bereavement and other associated services,

(8) and ways in which society can reduce access to means and methods for people to harm themselves,

(b) to report to Parliament annually on preparations for and implementation of the national action plan for suicide prevention, including data on progress over the previous year, and a comprehensive statistical overview of suicide in Canada for the same year.

I hope you will consider supporting this cause!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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A beautiful sunset at camp.

As a few of you may have noticed, I have been absent for the last two weeks! The reason for this is I was volunteering as a leader for Oneida Baptist Camp. This was my first time ever leading at camp, and it was such a fantastic experience! Many people who’ve been to camp have been going for years, so my first time leading was a little different from others. Last year was my first time at Camp Oneida when I attended their leader training camp, which is when I fell in love. All year I’ve been looking forward to leading for the first time, and it was something I’ll never forget. The first week I was leading an older age group, 13-15, and it was definitely a learning experience. I was blessed to have an incredible co-leader, and she helped me a ton when I was stressed or overtired. The second week, I was leading a group of 8-10-year-olds, and I honestly don’t know how kids have so much energy. I really envy it, but I guess having a bedtime later than 9:30 might have something to do with my energy levels.

Trying to stay in the shade with my umbrella.

Other than that, I haven’t been up to much, as that took up all my time. Before I headed off to camp, I was finishing up school and attending a couple of events. In fact, camp began on July 1st, so I woke up bright and early to participate in the Caledonia Canada Day Parade, before driving out to camp right afterward. And as many of you in my area know, Canada Day 2018 was one for the books. In terms of heat, I mean. Sitting in the back of a black truck in 40-degree heat with humidex was almost too much for me, and I’m not one who handles heat well. Without water on a mildly hot day, more often than not you’ll see me on the ground. I am known for fainting, unfortunately, but by the grace of God, I was good for the parade, and we had a couple much needed water games that evening at camp that helped everyone to cool off.

Spots are limited! Contact me for tickets!

And now, the countdown is on! Miss Teenage Canada is in a MONTH!! I’ve begun fundraising for WE Charity, and I am so excited for the events I have planned. Currently, I am advertising a high tea fundraiser I’ll be hosting on August 5th. Tickets are $35 each, and all proceeds will go straight towards WE Charity (formerly Free the Children). If you are interested in attending, you can contact me or my mother, Melissa Turner. There is also a facebook event you can find here with more information! My goal for fundraising is $1500, and the more attendees, the closer I will be to my goal! I am also accepting donations of any amount, every little bit helps! I have a few events booked for the next month, and I am hoping to add more, updates to come!

Thank you so much for following me on my journey so far. I’ve been working hard on my blogs, on training, and preparing myself for nationals. I can’t express how thankful I am for the support I’ve received over the past months, and I promise I will work hard to make everyone proud on the national stage and spread my message of hope. Stay tuned for more!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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As many of you know, June is pride month! I’ve been so excited to promote this as a titleholder, and I’ve been looking forward to it since I was crowned. However, many of you may not know the origins of pride. So in this blog, I’ll be telling you about the origins and importance of pride, why it’s important, and the pride parade I had the chance to walk in! Many don’t know that pride month started as a way to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which happened in June of 1969. Since then, it has grown into an event that spans nations, genders, sexualities, and races. It is such an important event for so many people, and I was excited to participate in this year’s events!

Stopping for a photo at the rainbow crosswalk! 

First, a little history. On June 28, 1969, a riot broke out at the Stonewall Inn, which was a known gay club in downtown Manhattan. Police would raid the club from time to time, but this time, people began to fight back. A protest broke out that ended up lasting the rest of the week. That was nearly 50 years ago now, and it was the event that began the modern day gay rights movement, which has since blossomed into a movement for the entire LGBT community. In 1970, the very first gay pride event, called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, was held to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. People gathered from across the city, marching on Sixth Avenue all the way from Greenwich Village to Central Park. Not long after, other commemorative marches in a number of cities across the USA began to be held. This, over time, transformed into the celebration we know of today. While it did start to commemorate a huge turning point in the age-old fight for equality, it is now not only this, but a celebration of being different, and more importantly, being yourself. It creates a space that welcomes differences and encourages individuality, and more importantly, tells people that being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is not something to be ashamed of.

With the organizers and supporters of Get REAL!

The Toronto Pride Parade took place on June 24th. My boyfriend and I woke up bright and early Sunday morning and hopped on the GO Train to downtown Toronto. We had a chance to walk around for a couple hours before it was time to line up for the parade. Seeing everyone dressed up and happy, celebrating pride gives me indescribable joy. I had the opportunity to go to the New York City parade back in 2014, and it was such a great experience. Being in a space where having a gender identity or orientation other than cis and straight is not only accepted but celebrated, is a life-changing experience. It gives so many people, including myself as someone who identifies as bisexual, a much-needed space to feel free to be themselves, and have it be welcomed with open arms. I loved seeing this in the faces of those in the crowds as we walked around, looking at all the vendors and booths. After a couple hours, we went to the meet up at the Get REAL booth. Get REAL (Reaching Equality at Last) is a non-profit organization that has spoken to over 150,000 students in 8 provinces and 3 states about LGBTQ+ issues and combating prejudice. The organization has been featured on Global News, CTV, Much Music, and the National Post. They have university chapters and high school after-school programs, as well as presentations and workshops for middle school students.

“Get REAL was founded in 2011, inspired by our experiences volunteering in the Welcome Week program at Western University. As older mentors to hundreds of students each year, we began noticing that we were having success talking to our first years about derogatory (homophobic, transphobic, racist, etc) language, and creating a safe space for marginalized students who were looking to express themselves safely. The reason was in our approach: we were close in age, friendly, non-judgemental, and personal — we often opened up about our own lives to build a genuine, honest, human connection. And it worked. We saw countless students changing their language within days, and countless others coming out to us and feeling more comfortable being themselves.”

I was honoured to have the opportunity to walk with them in the Toronto Pride Parade, and I was taken aback by how welcoming everyone was, especially Chris, one of the founding members of the organization! Although it quite literally “rained on our parade”, that didn’t put a damper on the occasion! The whole walk was filled with smiles and music and dancing, and I even saw a number of friends during the walk. By the end, both my boyfriend and I were sore and exhausted, but we couldn’t stop talking about how fun it was. Overall, it was a successful and exciting day, and I can’t wait for next years parade!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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In grade 10, I was brought to the hospital because I fell down a flight of stairs during class. Classic Aleria.

This is my last full week of high school ever, and as sentimental a person as I am, I’m still happy to be saying goodbye. Since it’s the second semester of my fifth year of high school, there are very few students who are in the same grade. Most of those who I graduated with are either working full time or just finished their first year of university. When I walk through the hallways, I don’t recognize anyone anymore, and I’ve honestly gotten to a point where I am past ready to leave. When I was finishing grade 12, it was much more of an emotional goodbye. It felt like I was really saying farewell to my high school experience, and this time around, it’s as if I’m too busy looking forward to be thinking about the past.

Grade 10. Braces and elastics and frizzy hair.

This doesn’t mean I won’t miss it though. When I started grade nine, I was a scared, quirky 13-year-old who came to a much bigger school than my previous one and knew absolutely no one. My middle school was one hallway with six classes, and my high school is five floors that don’t connect, countless hallways, and a million flights of stairs. I still remember my first day of school, walking around the building before classes started, trying to find my classrooms before the first bell. I wore a peach blouse and had a flower crown in my hair, and each nail was painted a different colour. Thankfully, my style and fashion have since evolved, and I only wear one polish at a time now.

My group of friends in grade 11. I love them all so much, and we made some great memories.

Each first day of school, I would walk up to the front doors, and before I walked in, I would wonder, “What will this year teach me?”. And without fail, every year something would happen that at the time I considered life altering. While I know that hindsight is 20/20, and I can see that those incidents were not the end of the world as I anticipated, I still see that I learned incredible lessons and grew as a person from each one. Once in a while, I will have moments when I wish I could have done something differently, maybe said something different, wore a different outfit, spoke a little more, spoke a little less. When I have these moments, however, I remind myself that I couldn’t change who I was. There were things I didn’t know, and I had to learn those things. I remind myself that there are still mistakes I need to make, and one day I’ll look back to myself right now, and wish that I had done something differently, but because I don’t know what I’ll know then yet, I can’t make those changes. I can just do what I hope is the right decision, and remember that life keeps moving.

Show ready in grade 11

And speaking of things moving, I have an exciting, packed summer ahead. I’ll be finishing it off by moving into residence at York University. The first week of summer, I’ll be volunteering as a leader at camp, which I am super excited for! After that, I’ll be mostly working, traveling up north to visit family, and prepping for nationals! I have a few events already scheduled in my calendar, and hopefully, there’ll be even more to add! I’m also starting my six weeks of fundraising for WE Charity (formerly Free The Children) at the end of this month, so I have some awesome fundraisers planned. I also am in the planning stages for a new campaign, so keep an eye out.

NTS Drama Festival ’18, one of my favourite high school memories.

Then in August, I have Miss Teenage Canada, of course! I’ve been super busy preparing and getting myself ready. I want to be in the best shape possible, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, so I feel my best when I walk that stage. This includes working out, practicing, eating healthy, and loads of other things. My goal for nationals is top 10, since last time around I didn’t make it to top 20, but I also want to challenge myself. After the pageant is complete, I’ll have a couple weeks to pack and say my goodbyes, since I’ll be heading off to school! It’s been a stressful few months with applications, acceptances, figuring out how to finance my education, and figuring out everything I need to do before I start. I’ll be studying theatre at York University, and it’ll take about six years since I’ll also be getting my teaching degree concurrently. I’m so excited to move out and be independent, meeting new people and having new experiences, but I know I’ll still have some bumps along the way. It’s just remembering that all of those bumps are chances to learn and grow, and taking those opportunities as they come.

So I am saying goodbye to high school this week. But who knows, maybe if I end up teaching drama, I’ll be back in high school one day. For now, though, it’s see you later. I’ve got lots I need to do, and God knows high school isn’t the end of it. It was far from the “best four (five??) years” of my life, but it’s still full of memories I’ll never forget.

Til Next Time

Aleria

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If someone you know is in immediate danger, is threatening suicide, or talking about wanting to hurt themselves, call 911 or get help from an adult you trust. All information has been gathered from various mental health resources.


Ask your guidance office for information on suicide intervention training.

Suicide happens across all groups, populations, and ages. Knowing the warning signs and knowing what to do is one of the most important ways you can help to prevent suicide before it happens. And while suicide can’t be prevented with complete certainty, there are steps we can all take to lower the risk among those around us. In this blog, I’ll be talking about signs that could indicate someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts, and what you can do in these situations, with an aim towards youth. There are many resources you can seek that offer training in these areas, and what to look for and how to react. Many communities and schools offer safeTALK and ASIST for students that will give instruction on suicide intervention skills, which can be incredibly useful and important when applied properly to crisis situations.

Let’s start with some information on contacts for crisis and non-crisis situations. In crisis situations, there are many helplines available, as well as 911. Calling 911 will give you information on next steps, and connect with immediate help if needed. I urge you to not be afraid to call 911 if you believe someone is in immediate danger. If you’re unsure, calling a helpline may be another option. Kids help phone is a good resource for children and youth. The counselor will give you next steps, and advice for resources around you. It’s also important to mention that suicide prevention does not necessarily mean preventing a suicide that is imminent. It can mean helping someone you know is in need to connect with supports. Someone can still be showing suicidal ideation while not being an immediate suicide risk, and this does not mean that getting help is any less important.

The suicide prevention ribbon.

So, what should you look for? Three basic things to look for are mood, behavior, and words. Does this person talk about being a burden, having no reason to live, wanting to die, or being in pain? It could be blunt, or small things you may notice that they say that could indicate they are thinking about suicide. Do they abuse substances, act recklessly, isolate themselves, withdraw from activities, are they giving away their possessions? These and more can all be behavioral indicators of suicidal thoughts. Do they display signs of depression, irritability, anxiety, or anger? Suicidal thoughts can come out in a number of ways, and it’s important to check in on those around you when it seems like something has changed. Sometimes, unfortunately, none of these actions can be seen from the outside, and you can miss someone struggling in front of your eyes. This is why it’s still important to check on those around you, even when things seem fine. It can never hurt to reach out.

There are certain risk factors to look out for as well, that don’t cause or predict a suicide but can make it more likely that someone will consider suicide. These can include a history of mental illness, substance use, impulsiveness, major physical or chronic illness, local clusters of suicide, lack of social support, loss of relationships, and many others. It’s important to be aware of these, and be aware that suicide never has one single cause.

So you’ve analyzed the situation, and you’ve decided to talk to the person in need. What next? First, you need to make sure that you’re the right person to approach them, as it may not be you. If you don’t think you’re capable of having these hard conversations, or you have any bias that may upset the person, you may not be the best person to approach them. In this situation, you have a number of options. Talking to a parent, guidance counselor, trusted adult, primary care doctor, or a helpline are all ways you can choose to ask for help in approaching the person involved. They will help from there. If you do decide to have the conversation, it’s important that you have a plan of action, and consider possible outcomes and how you will respond. It’s still vital that a trusted adult is aware of what is happening as youth should never handle this alone.

Start with some questions about how they’ve been feeling. You may choose to ask if they’ve been struggling with anything as an entry point, but it’s important you keep going. Listen to what they have to say, and ensure them that they can trust you. You may choose to go into direct questions, and asking if they have been thinking of killing themselves. If they do say they’ve been thinking of suicide, it’s imperative to ask further questions to evaluate immediate danger. Ask if they have a plan, or if it has just been a thought. If they do have a plan, they’re at a higher risk of being in danger. If a suicide attempt seems imminent, call a crisis center, 911, or take the person to an emergency room. Taking measures such as making sure they don’t have access to anything that could be dangerous, such as guns, drugs, knives, or other potential weapons.

Check in on those around you!

Make sure you stay calm and do not leave the person alone. Focus on listening to them, asking questions, and keeping engaged. Insisting on getting help too harshly can have negative consequences, and may cause them to panic. Don’t worry too much about saying the wrong thing, but do stay away from certain things. Avoid telling them that you know what they’re going through, but also don’t be afraid to show empathy. Acknowledge their pain, and tell them you’re there to listen. Don’t pose judgment or guilt them. Saying things like “Think of the people you’re hurting” or “Suicide is a selfish act” can worsen how they’re feeling. Avoid things like passive optimism and things like “it gets better”. This does nothing to improve the current situation and does not solve the problem at hand. However, providing a sense of hope in a meaningful and realistic way can be helpful, as long as you’re not making promises you don’t decide.

If from there, you both decide that it’s not serious enough to seek professional help, ensure that they check in with you on a decided schedule, and make sure they do. Don’t be afraid to ask how they’re feeling when they neglect to let you know, and try to have honest conversations with them. Ask them what helps them get through these tougher times, and remember it for future situations.

Don’t be afraid to seek other resources for help in these situations, and view this blog as a starting point for guiding yourself through situations like these. Always make sure you’re taking care of yourself through this process as well, self-care is extremely important, as these kinds of situations can be emotionally draining. Don’t be afraid to talk it out with someone, and check in on how you’re feeling as well. I hope you found this useful, thank you for reading!

Til Next Time

Aleria

 

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If you’re from Ontario, chances are you’ve heard about the upcoming provincial election. When I turned 18 last year, the thing I was most excited about by far was the fact I could finally vote! I’ve always been an advocate for youth being involved and letting people hear their voices, and it was my turn, so you’ll definitely see me at the polls June 7th!


This isn’t a post about who I’m voting for, who you’re voting for, or any other things like that. Women in politics, equity in politics, and youth in politics in something very important to me, since I believe that if we truly want to strive for equality, all voices should be heard. We are extremely lucky to live in a country where we have power in choosing who governs us and, that we can voice our political opinions freely. Unfortunately, there are many places that still restrict these rights for their citizens, and in many cases, restricting this from women. Even in Canada, women were not allowed to vote until the early 20th century. It boggles my mind that my parents lived in a time where women couldn’t vote just a few decades before. First Nations people could not vote in elections unless they gave up their status and treaty rights up until 1960, only then could they vote without fear of losing their rights. This is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about marginalized and oppressed communities voting. Our voices were silenced for so many years, and this is one of the ways we can reclaim our power. I also have always encouraged youth to get their voices heard, even when they are not eligible to vote yet.

The group of students who started a movement

I am not exaggerating when I say that the youth are the future. We will be the ones to inherit this world and take care of it till we pass it on to the generations after us. It makes me sad when I hear teenagers and young adults say they don’t know enough to vote, or they simply don’t care. Youth have so much power, and there are still adults today who don’t realize that, or perhaps, don’t want to. It’s evident, and we have been seeing across North America today. Thousands rallied for the March for Our Lives, started by a group of high school students. I get so excited when I see youth speaking up and taking the first steps in changing the world. I love seeing youth grow more accepting and educated, seeing them stand up for groups that they might not even be a part of. The youth who make an effort to make a difference are the ones that the coming generations will look up to, and that gives me so much hope. This is why I encourage everyone to let their voice be heard, and speak for what they believe in. Not only this but understand the importance of being knowledgeable about current events and issues in our world. Understand the importance of educating oneself. This translates to politics on a local, provincial, and national scale.

Electoral ridings in Ontario

So, how can you vote in the upcoming election? First, you must be 18 years of age and a resident of both Canada and Ontario. If you are, you’ll need to register to become a voter. Information on this can be found at the e-Registration website. Unsure who to vote for? Do your research! However, I can’t stress how important it is to ensure that the information you’re receiving is accurate and unbiased. I’m never one to say any political party is perfect, but a biased editorial or an article from a tabloid can spread misleading, and in some cases, false information. We’ve all heard about “fake news”, and unfortunately this is what happens sometimes! This can come from either side as well, it can be overly positive, or it can be overly negative, whichever benefits the side at hand. Start by looking at your ridings candidates, and what they stand for. Get out to town hall meetings, debates, and other events happening in your community. See what each candidate has to offer. Next, you can look into the provincial party leader, and read up on their opinions on current issues. Think about their platforms, and how they could affect you personally, but also don’t be afraid to think about how they will affect others. I try to look at things considering what can benefit everyone, so that’s something I’d take into consideration. If you’re looking for a starting point, here is a “cheat sheet” of sorts from Maclean’s, but make sure that you do further research on points that are important to you! And who knows, maybe you’ll even decide to not vote, as many do. If that’s the case, I still encourage youth to be educated on the issues at hand, even if they decide they don’t want to vote.

Thank you so much for reading!

Til Next Time

Aleria

Written by: Aleria Tagged with:, , , ,
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Ontario


As many of you from Six Nations may know, the last week or so has been Community Awareness Week! The festivities have come to a close today, and I am so excited for next years events! The last two weeks have been filled with fantastic events all around Six Nations. Before the week started, I had made a list of events I wanted to check out and attend, but before I had come home from provincials for the drama festival, I found myself with the flu! I was in bed for the next four days and I was still under the weather for most of the weekend. I was so disappointed because there were so many things that I wanted to go to and get involved in. Community participation is so important, and it’s apart of not only individual wellness but group wellness. A strong sense of community is vital to creating social wellbeing. This is why I was so disappointed when I got sick, but as an advocate for mental health, I realize that physical and mental health are directly related, and I need to ensure that I am healthy before I can help others. Self-care is so important, and it’s not selfish to take the time to focus on yourself and how you are feeling.

Before the parade!

Fortunately, by the next Monday, I was feeling much better, which was just in time for Bread & Cheese! If you’re from Six Nations or you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know what I’m talking about. However, if you don’t, Bread & Cheese is an annual Six Nations tradition that draws out thousands of community members. It’s our way of celebrating Victoria Day, in which everyone lines up for a piece of bread and a piece of cheese. There are always other events, like fireworks, a parade, a carnival, and various tournaments. It’s one of the biggest events in our community, and I love going. This year, I participated in the parade and was involved in the after party, hosted by myself alongside one of my absolutely fantastic sponsors, Six Nations Marketplace. The parade included various organization, businesses, and ambassadors. My incredibly supportive stepmom drove the truck while I sat in the back. The day before I had just picked up my freshly made signs, made by OH Multimedia, a local business which made a couple fantastic banners I’ll be using at events and parades!

Saying hi to the tortoises!

Afterward, I stayed and got my bread and cheese, and checked out some of the community vendors. I always love going, because I see so many people I wouldn’t see anytime else; former friends, classmates, teachers. After I had the chance to see everything, I headed over to the marketplace where my family had set up a food booth. They are so supportive of me, and I am so lucky to have people who help me to succeed and make sure everything goes as planned. At the party, there was food, bouncy castles, a petting zoo, and not to mention the incredible vendors! I was especially excited to see the petting zoo, so as soon as I had the chance I was over there in a heartbeat. There were reptiles and other small animals, as well as a baby alligator and a giant snake! My boyfriend worked at a zoo for a number of months, so as we walked around the displays, he told me about each one and their typical behaviour, as well as anecdotes about his own experiences. My favourite animals were either the tortoises or the chinchilla, but all of them were super interesting! I also have a huge soft spot for guinea pigs, so I melted when I saw the hairless cavy, which they had dubbed a “house hippo”.

While I do wish I got out more, Community Awareness Week looks like it was a huge success, and I can’t wait for next years events!

Til Next Time

Aleria

Written by: Aleria Tagged with:, , , , ,
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