Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Making it Matter

The FunFair Spring Gala, May 6, 2017 in support of Inspirations and St. Gabriel Elementary School

What happens when a group of young professionals with deep hearts and powerful minds put their resources together to create change? They Make every student Matter! And that's exactly what the dynamic duo of Deborah Athanosopoulos and Olivia Sheehy-Gennerali, and their team are doing.

Make it Matter is a new non-profit organization that funds project specific initiatives that support quality education for all learners. Their vision lies in their conviction that all learners, no matter their economic, social backgrounds, or challenges, are entitled to academic resources that will enhance their educational experience. The unique concept of MIM allows them to serve as the liaison between the Montreal community and the classrooms, where they are committed to creating a support system for administrators, educators, parents, and learners,  in need of financial assistance to ensure the success of every child's education. 

Both Deborah and Olivia have a drive to create change in their communities. And it is inspiring to see these young adults put their energy into taking charge to implement change the lives of students. 

A McGill University graduate, Deborah is always searching for new ways to inspire and be inspired. She is currently earning her Masters degree in Education. A philanthropist at heart, she believes that every child should have access to the best academic resources. "My passion for fundraising has led me to realizing a life-long dream of starting a non-profit organization. It's never too soon to try and make a difference," she states.
Co-Founders of Make it Matter Olivia and Deborah

Olivia recently achieved a Bachelors in Community, Public Affairs and Policy studies with a minor in First Peoples. She currently works with the Federal Government at Passport Canada. Next Fall,  she will begin a Graduate Diploma program at Concordia in Community Economic Development. "This program will enable me to focus on Make It Matter while allowing me to deeply develop my passion for Indigenous social justice through providing and working thoroughly on Teacher toolkits for educating, be it for teachers, educators, or corporate leaders," she shares. 

So how does this work? Every year, MIM will select at least two projects to fund that can range from classroom materials to support. Their website welcomes applicants and sponsors alike. If MIM does not specifically have the funds for a particular project, MIM is where they can go to find a suitable sponsor.

We at Inspirations are honoured to have been selected as one of Make it Matter's first grant recipients, alongside St. Gabriel Elementary School, English Montreal School Board. Funds raised will help us create a resource guide for parents that will compliment our database of special needs resources. It will go along way to helping us reach more families, teachers and caregivers. Funds given to St. Gabriel will be allocated to their Home Reading Program and Creative Arts Program.

MIM's first event is sure to be a fun one! The FunFair Spring Gala will take place on Saturday, May 6 at Kandy Art Gallery, located at 5629 Ferrier in Montreal. Hosted by prominent radio station 94.7, the event will include lively entertainment, funfair attractions, open bar, appetizers, dessert buffet, and raffle prizes. It is a great opportunity to get to know Deb, Olivia and the MIM team.

Please join us at the event! Meet the team. Get to know them, tell them about your ideas. Perhaps you'll be next year's fundraising recipient! For tickets or information, contact Olivia or visit www.makitmattertoday.org for information about their initiatives.

Thanks to Make it Matter for choosing Inspirations!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Inspirations welcomes Jay Jones-Doyle as Team Inspirations Ambassador

Jay Jones-Doyle: Ambassador, Team Inspirations

After months of planning and anticipation,Team Inspirations is ready to walk and run at the Scotia Bank Charity Challenge this weekend. Our team is 35 members strong. Some are English Montreal School Board employees, some are lovers of Inspirations. Some come from the Lester B. Pearson School Board, while others are from Laval. We've covered the island, and are not only raising funds for Inspirations, we're spreading the word about Inspirations, the work that we do to support people with special needs, and sensitizing the public to the importance of inclusion. Inspirations is the hub of special needs news in the Greater Montreal and surrounding areas, providing a voice to people with special needs and a valuable platform for collaboration and sharing of resources. 

We are proud to welcome Jay Jones-Doyle as our Team Ambassador. Jay is a columnist for Inspirations, sharing insightful life messages with each edition that inform, encourage, and inspire people with and without limitations. His contributions are a highlight of each edition. So, it was fitting that he was chosen to be Ambassador to Team Inspirations, and we are honoured that he accepted our invitation.

Jay has never been one to let barriers get in the way of his dreams and success, and is an example to many. His C.V. proves just how accomplished he already is.

Jay is the co-founder and VP Product Development of the innovative Legal Lighthouse Inc. He is also a coach, and the President of Confidence Driven Coaching, the Chief Financial Officer of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, and worked with the UN’s Business and Biodiversity program. Jay holds two advanced degrees and was named one of Quebec’s top three graduate students of 2011 as well as Concordia’s Outstanding Student of the Year. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Concordia University Alumni Association, is an accomplished motivational speaker, a championship-winning junior hockey coach, the proud father of a 12-year-old boy, and has cerebral palsy. In addition, he is an all around terrific guy!

Jay on a canoe trip in Northen Ontario where he canoed down the majority of the French River (~75k)
This is not Jay's first adventure on the race track. A few year's back, he participated in an adapted version of the Spartan Race! (check out our Fall 2015/ Winter 2016 edition to read about that). Walking 5k won't be as great a challenge for Jay, but he's up for the adventure nonetheless!

Jay will be with us at the start line as we walk our 5k on Saturday, and available to chat or for interviews after the event at the Inspirations tent in the family section on site. 

We welcome you to come out to Parc Jean Drapeau and cheer us on, meet our team, pick up your copy of Inspirations! The 10k runs begin at 9:00 a.m. The 5k begins at 11:00. The 21k is on Sunday.

Ready, set, GO Team Inspirations, GO!