Got Penny?

As part of the new budget the government just announced, the Canadian penny will no longer be produced and will soon disappear from circulation. Before that happens, I would like to offer the penny one last heroic act of awesomeness.

The CBC reported that nobody knows how many pennies are out there, but in 2011 alone, there were 1,100,000,000 pennies produced. That is $1.1 billion dollars in pennies!!

Do you have any idea how much good can be done with that many pennies?

50,000,000 pennies will build 2 homes for foster families in Attawapiskat.

100,000,000 pennies will supply 10 remote communities with playgrounds.

That sounds like a lot of pennies, but think of it this way: all of the pennies are going back to be melted down and taken out of circulation. Way more than 150,000,000. More like billions of pennies that you and I will never see again. The last penny you spend on gum or whatever you spend pennies on, will be the last time that penny will ever be used. That’s sad.

UNLESS

Every time you and I find a penny in our pockets, on the ground or as change back from the store, we give that penny one last chance to be a hero. If enough of us commit to this Great Canadian Penny Drive, I believe that we can make a HUGE difference for First Nations kids this year; 2012 the penny’s last year.

10 playgrounds in 2012? Yes!

2 new homes in Attwapiskat? Yes!

Together, we can do this! Together, we can make a difference! Help me help the penny go out a hero.

Bring your pennies in to any TD Canada Trust
TD Canada Trust for Northern Starfish Acct: 151 5213225

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Campers: important

Thank you for volunteering to help camp-out and raise $500,000 to aid the housing crisis in Attawapiskat and around James Bay. Click here to be added to a special mailing list just for campers. I will forward you regular updates about the campout and facts about the state of emergency and housing crisis, and how together we can be part of the solution.

But, right now, you need some details about what you’re about to do.
The “official” campout itself will begin March 14th at 2:00pm and run until March 16th at 4:00pm. That’s 50 hours camping outside, in the cold. Brrrr.
Each one of us will be looking for people to sponsor us for every hour we are camping. If we each find 100 sponsors at $1.00 per hour, that is $5000.00. Sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t – and you are going to have a lot of support from me, the people we are working with “Payukotayno Housing authority”, The Barnes Management Group”, local and national media, and service groups all across Canada.

Any donations received will be tax-deductable. So no-worries, everyone that needs a receipt will get one. Cheques should be made payable to “Payukotayno” (That is the name of the charity we are partnering with to build the homes)
Online donations will be accepted as well. The web-guy is just setting up a brand new site to accept donations/sponsorship for the camp-out. It should be up and running within the next week.

Camping

Ok… so for the campout itself.  Here’s what you need to know.
If you are under 18 like me, I highly recommend you have an adult camp with you. I will be sending you a form for your parents to sign that will say something like “I allow my child __________ to camp out and understand that I will be responsible for them. “ If an adult can’t stay over with you, you need to know that me or my parents can’t be responsible if anything happens.  Not that anything will happen, but I hope you know what I mean.
The police have been great, and they make sure to check on us throughout the night.

Niagara Area Campers:

(skip down to the next part if you are too far to camp in Niagara Falls)

If you are in Niagara Falls, or can get here easily, I will be camping at CAMPARKRESORTS on Lundy’s Lane. It’s an awesome spot and the owners have been really great. You are invited to set up your tent there with me there. There is a small $10.00 fee for the campsite, but if you raise over $500.00 in sponsorships we will pay that for you.
We are looking to have food, tents, entertainment and firewood donated. BUT, plan on supplying all that stuff yourself until I can confirm it, k? If you have connections to business or people who could help supply that stuff, let me know.
This next part is for people camping out-of town… all you Niagara people can skip past this next part.

Too far to camp in Niagara?

If you are too far away to camp in Niagara Falls, look for a campground or park in your area that will allow you to camp there for the 50 hours. Most people are pretty good about it, but make sure you get their permission. Also, connect with others in your area who want to camp as well. With everyone camping together, it is so much more fun and it’s all for the same cause, right? We will help connect campers with you.

You will need to supply all your own camping stuff. (Tents, sleeping bags, food, firewood). A good idea would be to contact the Scouts, or Cadets to see if they can donate winter camping gear for the 50 hours. Local restaurants like Subway, Tim Hortons and Pizza shops may consider bringing food. Check with your friends and family to see who they know and who can help you with what. If we can get some national chains on-board that will help all the camp-out campsites across Canada, we’ll do that and let you know.

Ok, everybody can read this next stuff

We’ve started promoting this year’s campout to the media already, and things should start getting pretty crazy pretty quick. I hope you’re ok with being interviewed by news people. If not, let me know. What I hope to do, is have some of you featured on interviews as well. If I know the media is setting something up and they are from your area, or I’m in your area, I would really like to have you featured for your efforts.

The two best ways to raise awareness for  your campout (and get tons of sponsors) is:
1) Social Media. Youtube is huge for this stuff. Start making some videos now, promote your idea to campout and tell everybody what  you are doing and why you are doing it. I will be featuring your videos on my website, twitter and facebook, so if you do some videos, send me the link, k?
In the registration (link attached), you will be aske to send a short bio and a picture. This is to help us support you and promote your camp-out on our website and Faceook and Twitter

2) friends and family. Talk to everyone. Your friends and family are your biggest supporters and when they find out that you are camping out in March, in the cold for 50 hours, they will tell everybody they know.
Not everybody will donate $1.00 for every hour. Some will donate more than that. Others might only be able to give $5.00 for your entire camp-out. That’s ok. People will give what they can when they find out about what you are doing and they are asked.
I think that’s it for now. I will be sending regular emails to you to keep you up-to-date. In the meantime, if you have any questions or ideas, send me an email and I’ll get back to you with whatever you need.

Thank you for being a part of this huge camp-out. We are going to make a huge difference and help change kid’s lives. You’re amazing and I am so happy that you are a part of this.

Download the registration form here
Download the Waiver here
Download the Sponsor Form Here
Share this Link to have people donate to your campout online 

If you haven’t yet, please sign up here - your name will be added to the donation site and you will receive special important emails from me

 

Any questions? email me anytime at: campout2012@northernstarfish.org
Wes Prankard
http://www.northernstarfish.org

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State of Emergency in Attawapiskat

I just read a Tweet “Attawapiskat being compared to Haiti except it’s 40 degrees colder”

Below, I’ve pasted an article by my friend MP Charlie Angus.
Attawapiskat, is home to my friends (I even have a a few families that call me their southern son) and right now they need our help.

So there’s a couple of things I am thinking about.
My annual campout: For the past two years, I have camped out the first few days of March break to raise awareness and funds for Attawapiskat and other First Nation reserves. When there are families spending the entire winter in tents, the least I can do is spend a couple of days to help.
This year I want to do it BIG. I’m thinking maybe I can get kids camping out right accross Canada. See, I can raise maybe $5,000 on my own, but if I can get even 100 kids doing the same thing; thats half a million dollars to help Attawapiskat. The same amount the government has just promised to help fix some of the homes.
How awesome would it be if a bunch of kids were able to do more than the government?

Right now, there are a lot of people hearing about Attawapiskat for the first time.  A lot of them (maybe you) are asking what they can do. Or – even better – they are starting to collect food, clothing and blankets and things to help the people. Right now, my parents and I are looking and talking to a bunch of organizations and will be posting a list and information about where to drop stuff off or where you can send money.
My dad was talking to Rosie (my friend Rob’s mom) Koosyachin. They live in Attawapiskat and do a lot to help the homeless and elders who don’t have much. She said that the most needed items are:
Warm blankets
Parkas
boots
heaters
flour
rice
non perishable food items

We are going to be updating pretty regularly. The best thing to do is watch our Facebook page http://facebook.com/northernstarfish or my Twitter http://twitter.com/northrnstarfish

Remember what I like to say: Think of an idea to change your world then put it into acton. Do something!
Now’s your chance.

Here’s the link to the Huffington Post Article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/24/attawapiskat-reserve-housing-funding_n_1112145.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#undefined

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Niagara Falls Review – June 16, 2010

Lockout hurts fundraiser

By TONY RICCIUTO Niagara Falls Review

Updated 2 days ago

For Bob Prankard, the Canada Post lockout couldn’t have come at a worse time.

His son, Wes, is in the final push to raise money to build a playground in Attawapiskat. Wes is walking a total of 1,287 kilometres, which is the distance between Niagara Falls and Attawapiskat, and is asking for 1,000 people to sponsor him for $10.

“We’ve received messages from people from as far away as Florida, saying that they’ve dropped a cheque in the mail,” said Bob. “With approximately $7,800 left to raise, this could really prove as a major challenge to his efforts.”

On Wednesday, the federal government said it plans to legislate an end to the postal strike. That came hours after Canada Post locked out workers who had been staging rotating strikes.

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are engaged in a contract dispute and each side is blaming the other for not being able to reach a settlement.

Key issues include pensions, wages as well as health and safety matters.

CUPW launched a series of 24-hour rotating strikes, which the company says has cost them millions in lost revenue. On Wednesday, workers in Niagara Falls showed up for work and found they had been locked out.

Mark Thomson, secretary-treasurer for CUPW Local 574 in Niagara Falls, said his members went to work prepared to deliver mail on Wednesday.

“They have done something that is totally irresponsible by locking out their workers who came in and wanted to work today,” said Thomson. “The lockout has trapped a lot of mail in the system, which people have paid for, and it shows a lot of disrespect for their workers and customers of Canada Post.”

While Canada Post says mail volumes are down by 50% and it has been losing money, the union argues that’s simply not the case.

“If they would let you go inside the building and see how much mail is stacked up at everybody’s desk to deliver, it’s unbelievable. We haven’t had that much mail in years,” said Thomson.

 

“That mail should have been delivered today, but it’s sitting in different postal facilities because they locked everybody out last night.”

Some people who drove past the Queen St., post office Wednesday shouted nasty remarks at mail carriers walking the picket line, while some other drivers waved their arms or honked their horns to show their support for the workers.

“This is not a case like GM where they were losing money and they needed to have concessions. Canada Post is making money. We hope the public realizes we want to go to work, but they are not allowing us to do that,” said Thomson.

Paula DeWilde is another resident who has been impacted by the strike. She has hundreds of dollars worth of medical prescription receipts that need to be mailed to her insurance company, so she can be reimbursed for money she has spent from her own pocket.

The insurance company will not accept a fax of the receipts and the only other option she has is to send them out by courier service, which costs a lot more than the mail.

She also makes purchases through Ebay at different times and a number of items that she bought recently are sitting waiting to be delivered.

“Right now, I’m very alarmed because I have items being sent to me and they are just stuck somewhere in no man’s land,” said DeWilde.

Peggy Tedder Thompson said she mailed a Father’s Day gift, paid extra for next day delivery and now it’s sitting in a mail room.

John Law, finds himself in the same situation. He wants his $8 back from Canada Post because that’s why he paid extra to have his gift delivered to his father on time.

“They took that money with no problem, are they going to give it back to me with no problem? I’m paying extra for that guarantee,” said Law.

And just because there’s a mail strike, people are being reminded they still need to pay their utility bills on time.

Margaret Battista, vice-president of customer services for Niagara Peninsula Energy, said the company has taken steps to ensure both their customers and vendors will be looked after during the strike.

Billing and pre-authorized payments will continue on schedule. Every attempt is being made to ensure that bills are delivered to commercial properties. Collection action will be adjusted to account for no mail services.

Payments can be made a number of ways, including online banking, at financial institutions, by courier or dropping it off at their office at 7447 Pin Oak Dr. or 2676 Clifford St., in Smithville.

Customers can check their website at www.npei.ca for updates and information on how to sign up for electronic billing and payments.

tricciuto@nfreview.com

 

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Canada’s Next Top Young Philanthropist

Wes Needs your help.
He is a finalist in the running to be Canada’s Next Top Young Philanthropist, and if he wins, will receive $10,000 to assist him in continuing his work.
See… Wes believes that discrimination in any form is wrong. Watch the video clip on voteforwes.ca as he describes the UN Convention of the rights of A Child.
Kids, no matter where they were born, what their parents do, what their religion is, all have basic rights. Anything else is just not fair.
Please help Wes spread this message  by taking less than 2 minutes to vote for him as Canada’s Next Top Young Philanthropist.

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An Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, INAC Minister John Duncan and the Candidates in My Area

Today is the National Day of Action for Shannen’s Dream.

Shannen Koostachin is someone I consider to be a hero, someone who every Canadian kid can look at as a role model.

If she was still alive, I think we would have been very good friends.

Shannen is from Attawapiskat, a remote First Nations reserve along James Bay. When Shannen was in grade 8, she and a few of her friends decided not to go to Toronto and Niagara Falls like every other grade 8 class before her. Instead, she went to Ottawa to ask the government for a real school. Something she had never known.

When the J.R. Nakogee Elementary School was built in 1979, there was a huge diesel spill from broken pipes right under the school. For years, right up to 2000, the kids went to class with 100,000 litres of diesel right below them. Obviously, kids were constantly sick with headaches, nosebleeds and nausea. Can you imagine having to go to school knowing that you will be inhaling diesel fumes all day and will probably have another nosebleed in class?

It wasn’t until the student’s parents pulled them all out of school and refused to send them back that the government agreed to do something.

They put up portable classrooms and promised to build a new school. That was now 11 years ago. Since then three promises to build a school have not been kept and the kids still meet in portables.

I went to school for a day in Attawapiskat and had the honour of spending a few hours talking with Shannen’s parents. What I learned was this: my parents or any of my friend’s parents would not send me to J.R. Nakogee School if they had a choice. But I guess that’s the problem. My Attawapiskat friends don’t have a choice. If they want any kind of education, they have to go to school in portables. Portables where the doors don’t close properly allowing mice and cold in. Portables that are now covered in black mould under the floors.

They use the arena for a gym. So – every time it’s time for gym class, the kids have to put their coats, boots and hats on and walk outside in the -40 degree weather. What’s worse is, after gym when they are all sweaty from running, they have to make the same walk back to their class. So – guess what? These kids still are getting sick. Just because they go to school.

Shannen Koostachin had spent her entire school life in these portables and was tired of it. She sacrificed her grade 8 year-end trip to confront the government once again and challenge them to keep their promise.

She died in a tragic car accident last year. She was 15.

I am not as old as she was. I am twelve. I can’t vote. But – I do have a voice, it’s not a big a voice as Shannen’s, but I have a voice.

And what I hope you as politicians realize is that in a couple of years my friends and I will be allowed to vote. And trust me, we will. And our voices will be even bigger.

Shannen’s Dream is a bill that was presented to the House of Commons last fall by my friend, Charlie Angus (NDP MP for Timmins/James Bay). This bill if passed, would make sure all First Nation kids have the same opportunities to an education that I have.

I don’t really understand why we need to pass a new bill to do the right thing, but if that’s what we have to do, then I guess that’s what we have to do.

I am writing this letter to encourage you to support Shannen’s Dream, Bill 571.

Discrimination in any form is wrong. Even I know that. Hopefully you will have the courage to support this bill, not because it was or wasn’t your party’s idea, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Good luck on May 2nd.

Wesley Prankard

Grade 7, Prince Phillip School

www.northernstarfish.org

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Wes’s Talk At A Gathering Of Young Adults

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You Have A Voice

Right now, I’m in Ottawa at the Unite and Ignite Conference for youth. I’m learning tons and meeting all kinds of people from all across Canada.
On Thursday night, I was honoured to be the kick-off keynote speaker. What I talked about was a pretty simple concept that a lot of adults don’t seem to get.
My message came from the theme of the movie, “Pay It Forward”

Here’s the scene I showed:

 

Now, like I said, I am in Ottawa and in fact was at Parliament yesterday. The day that we found out we’re going to have another election.
There are a lot of important ideas that will be talked about and maybe even decided in this election.
What I am going to do, and what I am asking you to do is this: Find an idea you are passionate about, then, put it into action – AND – talk to every candidate in your area to see what they will do about your idea if elected.

Shannen’s Dream is an idea I am passionate about. I have already talked with two of our candidates, Rob Nicholson and Bev Hodgson. I can also tell you that I will be speaking with them both a lot more as well as the other candidates.
Education is a right – and my friends in Attawapiskat and many other reserves are being denied their rights to the same rights that I have. That’s not fair. And it’s not right.

I can’t vote yet, but that doesn’t mean that Rob and Bev (and the other people I haven’t met yet)  won’t listen. They know that kids my age are the future and what I’m learning this week is: They are making decisions today that will affect me when I can vote.

My friends and I are becoming educatedon these things – more than my parents or grandparents were at my age. We are connected and we have a voice.

My challenge to you: It doesn’t matter if your a kid, an adult or a senior. You have a voice. Use it.

Dexterity Check! (That’s for my Unite and Ignite Peeps)

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