Sunday, February 27, 2011

Come out to ROCK THE GLOBE this Friday!

The Toronto Region teams are throwing a benefit concert to raise money for the development projects they will be working on in the Philippines and Guatemala! 
Come out to "ROCK THE GLOBE" featuring Slightly LeftDrop Dead Pin-UpsElos Arma and Everlea 

When?: Friday. March 4th
Where?: The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West) in Toronto. 

Doors open at 9 and cover is 10$.

 Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling Natalie at 905 252 7009 or Ashley at 647 688 4789

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Break By: Dave Skene

      This March 18-27 I will be taking a group of First Nations youth to Modesto, California for their spring break. There we will be working with our old friend Chris Whitler who runs YWAM Modesto. This is our first trip of this sort. The youth are mostly from the Tsartlip community on Vancouver Island; an Indigenous community Global Youth Network has been working with for the past three years.

      While in Modesto, they will be helping YWAM Modesto with their work with the homeless. We will also be visiting the Native American community that is close to Modesto as well as a Native American educational centre in San Francisco.

      The purpose of this trip is to expose the youth to volunteerism and to see how they can make a difference in their own community. At present we have six males who have signed up, which is surprising as usually all our teams are predominately female.  We are excited to have the opportunity to be involved in mentoring these youth to become leaders of change in their own communities.

      I am trying to raise $3,000 dollars to help subsidize the travel for these youth, as many of them don’t have the resources to be able to pay for the trip themselves. Tsartlip is a community with high unemployment so most of the parents can not afford to send their kids on a trip like this. The kids in our group are doing their own fundraisers and have raised $400 so far, but they still need a lot of help.  I am looking for help from family, friends and Global alumni. If you can contribute any amount toward helping these kids go to Modesto there are a number of options to get your support to Global.

If you would like to donate on-line just go to the Global website, click on ‘Donate Now’ in the bottom right corner and under Fund/Designation select ‘2. Aboriginal Program’

If you would like to send in a cheque, please mail it to:

Global Youth Network, Toronto (National Office)
P.O. Box 92515
152 Carlton St.
Toronto, ON M5A 2K1
***If you are mailing a donation, please include a note stating that it is for the Spring Break Aboriginal Program.

If you would like to talk to me more about this give me a call at (778)238-7026 or e-mail me at

Thank you for considering this opportunity,

Dave Skene

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tibet, It's a Global Issue By: Nicole Forbes

This morning I received a disheartening message.

A dear friend of mine was hit and killed by a car in Florida during his Walk for Tibet. 

Jigme Norbu was a close friend of mine who I met on his passing from Burlington to Toronto. I was blessed to have Jigme stop into my meditation centre to speak of his Walk for Tibet. After his inspiring words, I stayed behind to talk with him and a great friendship grew from there. 

Following the footsteps of his father Takster Rinpoche and uncle His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jigme placed all his efforts into civil rights activism and spread global awareness of the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Tibet.

I want to share with you some of his words about Global...

"Global Youth network is great. Great for society, great for the world and great for one self. Only we can make a difference and it starts with one self and especially with the younger generation. You all the youth will destin our future for a better understanding and world to live in.... I am so proud of you and to be associated with you and your organization." 
-Jigme Norbu

I made a promise to Jigme that I would walk alongside him, and now I promise to walk for him and his cause.

I just got off the phone with Jigme Uden, a friend of mine from Minneapolis and a very close friend to Jigme Norbu. A Walk for Tibet and candle vigil in remembrance of Jigme is being planned. Rather than travel to the States, it is my hope to bring Walk for Tibet to Southern Ontario. For every step Jigme took for our brothers and sisters in suffering, let us take time to root ourselves, remembering the power of our actions.

On this day will you walk alongside me?

Keep Jigme in your hearts and stay inspired.
May your soul be free Jigme, rest in peace.

Much love and warmth,
Om mani padme hum.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some thoughts from volunteer Joel Badali...

It seemed like only weeks ago that conflict in Egypt was unheard of to me, yet here I was for the second time at a rally for Egypt in downtown Toronto.  I turn to my Egyptian friend and ask her again, “So we’re here to show solidarity with the protesters in Egypt right?” “No, not quite.  We’re also here to send a message to the American and Canadian governments,” she retorts.

At this point it had become obvious that I was taking part in a rally, or a protest -- or whatever they’re called lately-- but I hadn’t the slightest clue what I was doing there.  Amid the chants of “One, two, three, four; Kick Mubarak out the door” I was probably one of the least informed people in the crowd and I have still only scratched at the surface.  From what I gathered, this Mubarak was not a well-liked man.  The principles of his regime were not liked by the people in the crowd, and his values were, to say the least, incongruent with those of the West.  Last week alone, non-violent protesters were attacked by Mubarak supporters on camels and horses threatening to silence the people’s uprising.  Canadian news reporters were implicated directly in the violence and shared their stories with the world.  Governments of major influence in Europe were quick to denounce the violence and coercive tactics employed by Mubarak, but the U.S. and Canadian administration were slammed for their responses. 

A revelation for a small-town student such as myself, conflicts are often multi-dimensional and express themselves on levels as powerful as the military and entrenched as faith. Some have called out the U.S. government for disingenuous pleas of non-violence.  Clearly Obama doesn’t share the same political doctrine as Mubarak, but he seems hesitant to compromise his relationship with the Egyptian government.  Others are empathetic to the balancing act the Obama administration is performing.  Given our connection to U.S. and the alliance of the American and Egyptian armies, it is indeed a fine line for American and even Canadian officials to not sever these ties.  Egypt is notably America’s most important ally in the Middle East, and its army supports the sovereignty of Israel.  One way or the other, it looks like capitalism doesn’t always favour democracy, at least not with the apprehension to oil insecurity, military insecurities and conflicts between faiths.

These conflicts are much too deep for me to grasp in my passive approach to participation, especially in the two weeks that I have been following the people’s uprising.  When asked by family and friends about these issues, from the rallies to the safety of my friend’s family, I am usually vague at best.  As for my friend, she managed only last week to contact her mother via a Skype-to-cell call after phone lines and internet were cut out.  Both her mother and grandmother were joining the protests in Tahrir Square the following morning.   

So what was I doing, amid a crowd of strangers, chanting alongside them in bursts of “Five, six, seven, eight, Let Egyptians choose their fate”?  From what I understood, people were there for many reasons, some dating past my life span, but most understandable to me was the right to freedom.  “I think I support this too” I thought, but I don’t think I would have ever come out for this without a friend.  It dawned on me that supporting my friend was microcosmically the very essence of the people coming together in Dundas Square, or Queens Park, or anywhere in the world staging rallies.  These were groups of people coming together to support like-minded people in Egypt, whether it be for democracy, social justice, or friendship.

-Joel Badali

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Global Youth Network: International! By: Dave Skene

In 2006, my wife Liz and I spent six weeks in East Africa setting up contacts for our work with Global Youth Network. The first weeks of our trip were spent in Kenya. Our plan was to visit an orphanage that some of the students of Global had helped set up in Nakuru, then to travel further east to Ungunja to visit a contact we had heard about from the Working Centre in Kitchener, Ontario. The orphanage in Nakuru was in a small village in the White mountains which is a tea growing region in Kenya.

On one of the days, Liz and I went down to the town of Nakuru to look around. In the centre of town was a little open market with a mix of different hardware and tourist crafts. As we were looking through the market, two young men called us over to their stall and asked us if we were from Canada. When we replied “yes”, they asked if we worked for Global Youth Network and if we were volunteering at the orphanage. Again, we replied “yes”. They told us that they would meet us at the orphanage after they finished work to talk to us about something.

That evening the two young men met us at the orphanage and told us how the Canadian University students that Global has been sending over the past few years had challenged them. They told us that they had never heard of volunteering until they met these teams and now they spend one evening a week helping out at the orphanage. This got me thinking about how we, as Global Youth Network, could encourage volunteerism not just in Canada, but also in the countries that we work in.

Around the same time as I was in Kenya, Solom, the director of Youth With A Mission Manaus, Brazil was moving to Canada with his new wife to work with Global. Global started working in Manaus in 1999. Solom and I had already started talking about how to develop Global in Brazil. We had the idea that the education our Canadian students received on our trips would be beneficial to anyone from any country. We thought that there must be a way to provide this opportunity for young people in poorer countries, for them to have a similar experience as the privileged Canadian students. Anyone who has traveled with Global knows that an experience like this can be life changing.

In 2008, Liz and I packed up our stuff and moved to BC after 20 years of living in Kitchener, Ontario. Both of us had always wanted to live on the West coast and this seemed to be the time to give it a try. Our main motivation for the move was related to some of the above ideas. I wanted to give the same opportunity we were providing for University students to Canada’s First Peoples. I had been exploring this idea for a number of years and the West coast seemed to be the most promising area to begin this program. Some years before our move I had read a statement in a book on decolonization that said that the opportunity for Indigenous peoples to travel and meet other Indigenous peoples and understand their struggles and victories was a part of the decolonization process. It is with this idea that Global is now undertaking the development of a project for Aboriginal youth and young adults to connect with Indigenous peoples in other countries.

Today, a drab January day in 2011, Liz and I are back in Ontario for a few months looking after a family member. I am excited about this year and the future of Global Youth Network. It seems the three stories above have merged together to start this new year. In December, Gilad, Dawna and myself met with Aggrey, the director of Ugunja Community Resource Centre (UCRC), in Ugunja, Kenya to talk about starting Global in East Africa. In 2009, Solom moved back to Brazil as Global’s South American director with a vision of establishing Global Youth Network in Brazil and other locations in South America. This year in BC, we are hoping to take a group of Aboriginal youth on a March Break trip to Modesto California, as well as a young adult group to Sao Gabriel Brazil this summer. 2011 is the year that Global Youth Network is truly becoming GLOBAL!

Here is a list of what we are working on internationally:

• Aggrey and Dave go to Brazil to create an international partnership
• 2 Kenyan’ from UCRC in Canada from April to Sept. learning about Global
• Peace Ambassador teams - a team of East African young people traveling to their
different countries learning about peace and conflict resolution.
• Indigenous Exchange- Non Indigenous East Africans living with Indigenous peoples in
their own regions learning about their way of life traditions and struggles.

Brazil • Developing Global’s University program in the 5 Universities in Manaus, Brazil. The
teams from these universities would travel to Columbia or Guyana.
• Street Kid soccer club, running soccer camps, and creating soccer leagues for street
kids in Sao Paulo Brazil

Indigenous Program
• High School March Break trip to Modesto, California
• Summer Young Adults Amazon trip
• Summer Leadership Training Camp
• Modesto/Tsartlip youth exchange
• Indigenous exchange - Canada/Brazil/Kenya creating places for Indigenous peoples from
these countries to connect, and partner together to create change in their own

Although I am telling this story from my perspective, there are probably 100’s of perspectives through which this story could be told. Teams of University students, staff, volunteers and all our relationships with our countries have built upon each one of these stories. My job is to help bring the stories together, but there have been too many people in this story to make mention of them all. So, I don’t own this story but our Global community owns it. I would like to give some examples of how the Global Youth Network community can stay involved with these new initiatives.

The first is the simplest, we will need to raise about $25,000 this year to get everything going. We have made a commitment to start up cost with all these projects and will evaluate our financial commitment year by year as we hope to find ways to be sustainable. So we are looking for any amount of donation towards this $25,000.

The next and related action is volunteers to put on fund raising events. If you are interested in this area we are looking for some creative ideas. We are also looking for those people who can help tell this story through Facebook, blogs, and other communication styles.

We will also need volunteers that can jump in to help lead teams, do some justice and travel education, maybe spend some time on location helping to pass on Global values and philosophy.

If you are interested in contributing to the financial challenges of this program you can donate on line through CanadaHelps on our webpage or you can send cheques for any amount to:

Global Youth Network
P.O. Box 92515
152 Carlton St.
Toronto On, M5A 2K1

***If you are donating online or mail, please make mention that it is for Global’s international projects***

If you are interested in volunteering in any way with these new initiatives please email me, Dave Skene, at or phone me at (778) 238-7026. Sorry, its a BC number. Also if you have any questions, or just want to talk about all of this, give me a call or send an email.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Looking for help for Wednesday, February 9th!

Owen from the Liberation Cooperative Organization in Toronto (LCO-TOR) is looking for a volunteer to help with tabling at the U of T Scarborough Campus Development and Culture Fair this Wednesday 09 February from 11:00 to 2:30. He has to leave the event at about 12:45, so the volunteer would have to commit to the following:

•Arrive on location at UTSC no later than 12:00 (to get a sense of how everything works, etc.);
•Handle the table from 12:45-2:30;
•Take down the table;
•Transport tabling materials from UTSC to any location where he can pick them up at a time that's convenient for the volunteer.

A light lunch and coffee is provided.

Thanks for any help you folks can offer!

By the way, "RFB" has changed its name to "Liberation Cooperative Organization (LCO)". Everything else remains the same.



Owen Sheppard

Provisional Coordinator
Liberation Cooperative Organization in Toronto (LCO-TOR)
(+1) 416 856 2968