Do My Best

We’ve all heard it, we’ve all used it, and we’ve all said it: “Do my best.” This came true to one man I met in Portland in 2013.

In 2013, I was working on a travel blog and I happened to make my way down to Portland because of road trip my friends and I had planned. While my friends were out spending time at a mall, I decided to take some personal time, which meant working on my travel blog. I decided to interview a homeless person. I made my way downtown and saw a friendly homeless couple. We started chatting a bit but what was supposed to only be a five minute conversation turned into two hours.

We covered many topics, such as how they wished normal people looked at homeless people as human beings and not something that everyone should look down on. But the most memorable topic we covered was why they were homeless. He told me this, “I lost my job, my house burnt down and I lost everything in a week, and I’m here now, but one day I will get back on my feet because every day, I do my best, that’s all I can do. I do my best”

Before I left, I asked him one more question, “What would you do in my shoes.” He said, “Just do your best, if I were you I would do my best, that’s all you can do.”

Even thought you might already know this, the poor aren’t lazy. They are doing the best they can with what they have, just like everyone else, just like the man I spoke with.

Consider this, more than 3 billion people live off of less than $2.50 a day. They are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, they are doing their best survive just like us. But we don’t survive like they do. We have access to clean food, water and shelter. We have to survive passing test, doing our job correctly and succeed in our social life. That’s how we do our best. How about we give people a hand and do our best to help them out. Maybe it’s by doing a fundraiser, or hosting a 30 Hour Famine or doing a bake sale. If we do our best, we help change lives and eventually change the world.

So as your reading this, I want you ask yourself this question, are you doing your best to become the person you want to be? Are you doing your best to help make this world a better place? Are you doing your best?

Is Instant Even Real

Instagram. Instant Coffee. Instant Messaging. Instant Relief. Instant Satisfaction. Instant Results.
Instantaneous is a thing we advertise. We like. We idolize. We manufacture. We even consume.

I found it interesting when Starbucks went instant with VIA Coffee. It was a struggle for this profoundly successful coffee company to cater to a culture that challenged some of their core values. We’ve created a cultural demand for instant and convenient but also authentic and high quality. An oxymoron some would say.

Instant happens fast, but I’m often surprised by how short the fulfillment is. Things that happen in an instant often provide little satisfaction. These things don’t cost us much. It doesn’t require a lot of time, energy, or commitment. They often don’t produce long-lasting results. It’s a quick-to-prepare, quick-fix kind of system that we live by; an unconscious value that shapes us more than we may realize.

I find generational trends fascinating. I love following culture and behaviors through the generations from Traditionalists, to Baby Boomer’s, to Gen X’ers, to Gen Y’ers , and now moving into the Post Millennials. Understanding characteristics and qualities that define and shape past and future generations is something that intrigues me. Perhaps it’s because I am curious as well unsure of our generational values and where they come from.

I am a Gen Y’er. And I like to ask why a lot. I’m a bit like a toddler. Just trying to understand the world and how it works. So I find myself pointing and asking why to most things that I see.

Why are there children that die because of such extreme conditions of starvation and malnourishment? Why are young girls being exploited and victimized because of the demands of a sexualized world? Why are parents abandoning children they are not able to care for because of extreme poverty? Why do so many women and children have no knowledge of how to read or write, because they have no access to education? Why are children being forcibly recruited and threatened into hostilities that are beyond comprehension? Why are there people who are deprived of their basic human rights and status as a human being that has value, worth, and dignity?

Why are things the way they are? Why are my worst nightmares a real reality in our world?

Why Why Why?? Why Gen Y?

Why do we value the things we do? Why do we choose to spend our lives the way we do?

Gen Y’ers often get a bad rap in the media spotlight. Some call us Gen Y’ers the most parented generation in history. There are a lot of us. We’ve acquired the name “echo boomers” because of our size. We have labels on us including “technology-addicted, lazy, lonely, self-entitled, egotistical, overconfident, unreliable, uncommitted, and high maintenance.” One of our key markers is our “desire for instant gratification.” Something I believe trips us up.

The day I discovered this was our reputation in the media and forecast as a generation, it broke me. It aggravated my insides. I felt angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, and helpless for some time. But those feelings didn’t last long. I realized there was something I could do about this. That I didn’t have to accept things the way they are. Change can happen. And it’s something I believe in. It’s something I am committed to. I hope this gets to you too, and I hope you do something about it.

I have 2 deeply interconnected passions. A passion to see a generation of young people discover what it means to live life in the full, giving their lives away on behalf of others. And a passion to see justice brought to the places of injustice, so all people can experience life in the full. I love World Vision Youth because it is a place where these dots connect. I believe there is good in the world. And I believe we can be the good.

Change doesn’t happen VIA Instant.

I challenge Gen Y to commit to change anyway.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi

Join us! Come along with! Connect with us as we build a movement of change together!

Child Labour Free Gifts

Check out this article on how you can give child labour free gifts for Valentine’s Day!

Child Labour Free Gifts

Before anything else…

Before anything else, we are human.

All humans have basic needs. However not all of humanity has their basic needs met.

I live in a country which provides me freely with anything I could possibly need, not to mention anything I want. I am so thankful, yet I feel so undeserving. I can’t seem to understand why I was born to such luxuries when a woman who is my equal over land and seas lays hungry, motionless, last breaths filling her lungs as she slowly inhales and exhales. Hunger.
To me, that is not right.

Someone once told me: “When we admit our passions, we are free.” I believe this to be true because it’s from this point we can move and lead from a place of passion.
I’ve been dreaming about what the world would look like if we began to become a people who desire change within justice so deeply that we became that change.
By simply listening to the heart, we can understand that we have been created with a purpose. Our lives are too short to simply live to survive so follow the silly ideas and shift nations.

Today I had the pleasure of listening to Ruth Roberts share her heart. She is the founder of the 30 Hour Famine. She is a woman who believes in change so deeply, she was moved to be the change she wanted to see. She and some friends saw a television clip of a famine in Ethiopia, at first she thought it was a silly idea to host a famine in order to experience what her equals were experiencing around the world but regardless of how an idea sounds, it’s always worth sharing.
That year, she raised $25.00 to help end world hunger. It made a difference.
Today the 30 Hour Famine raises an unbelievable amount of money annually to see the end of world hunger. It makes a difference.

It all started with a ‘silly idea’.

You my friend are not living for the sake of living, you’re living because there’s a passion inside of you that you can change the world with. Be the change you want to see in the world, admit your passions, and challenge the status quo with your brilliance!

Please join me in standing for the end of world hunger, sign up to make a difference. Find more information here: famine.ca

Black History Month

Black History Month: Your Leadership Changes the World
Every February in Canada, youth all over the country take a moment to admire and celebrate the special contributions that the African and Caribbean community has made – and continue to make, to contemporary society – and I love it!

“Why do I love it” you ask? Well, while ‘yes’ I was raised in a Jamaican home, and ‘yes’ I am also grandchild to a Cuban grandparent, Black History month always serves as more than a simple celebration of my cultural roots:

It is a powerful reminder that it only takes one person – someone who thinks outside the box, often starkly different from everyone else – to ultimately impact the course of history and change the way we engage our world forever.

There is also another reason.

For each of these innovators, they were, at some point in their journey, a young person! In fact, they were all young people who had a deep desire for change, and for combining their talents and skills with their passion for innovation.

And I love that.

So I have a question: have you ever pondered who created the street light?

Or maybe who created the elevator?

What about the major pioneer of neurosurgery?

In celebration of Black History month, let’s take a moment to admire and celebrate the contributions of men and women who dared to dream differently, and who saw possibilities amongst the seemingly impossible.

Patricia Bath (1942 – current): Invented Laser Eye Surgery
Garrett Morgan (1877 – 1963): Invented the Gas Mask and the Traffic Light
Benjamin Carson (1951 – current): Pioneer of Neurosurgery
Lyda Newman (Born 1985): Invented the Modern Hair Brush
Alexander Miles (1867 – ): Invented the Modern Elevator
Frederick M. Jones (1893 – 1961): Invented the Air Conditioner

What are YOU doing to change the world? Let me know! natasha_armstrong@worldvision.ca

Brianna Locke

Born in BC, but spent the last 20 years floating around the Great Lakes, Brianna is switching fresh water to salt water. Brianna has a curious mind and passionate heart and is motivated by the injustices that plague our planet. A graduate from Lakehead University and the University of Toronto, and using neither degree appropriately, Brianna is actively seeking students and youth who are interested in standing up and speaking out, joining World Vision to create a positive change. Brianna likes music, fresh air & backpacks; her celebrity look-alike is Grumpy Cat. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King Jr.