Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Live Here "Day of Action"

This is Mia K for the ILH Team writing to you.
Thank you so much for writing to I Live Here and offering to volunteer your time. We are blown away that you wrote to us and want to get involved. You are the reason why I Live Here is growing into a grassroots movement.

We never imagined that we would grow this large. We are a simple organization that doesn’t know NGO speak. We are learning. We are passionate. We do the work we do because we know it needs to get done and we know that our work is not done, but just beginning.

Right now, I Live Here is working to overhaul the Kachere Juvenile Prison, in order to give these kids a shot at a bright future. Run through our amazing team of local partners, we have a full time school, a permaculture program and prison garden, made a rammed earth kitchen made composting toilets and have a legal rights program. We run Kachere around the ideology of Permaculture.

Our next project is called, The I Live Here America Project. An online house for people to share stories of love, loneliness, the effects of the recession, living with a mental illness, being a single Mom, racisim, hope, being a new immigrant and not being able to speak the language, to being a soldier in the army abroad. There are endless possibilities here. Through the use of new media and social networking, our goal is to inspire activism through hearing stories that might have slipped through the cracks.

Here is why we are writing to you: We need your help.

We are hoping that you can join I Live Here in a pretty wild project- on June 27th 2010 wherever, whenever- connect to your community and tell them about I Live Here’s work. All over the world, people will work in solidarity with I Live Here, raising awareness, connecting to strangers, and fundraising to make beautiful dreams a reality. We urge you to come up with a cool idea that can raise money for I Live Here and get others involved in your work.

Here is the plan:

Before June 27th, create your own fundraisng plan where you have a set goal in mind. For example, if you get one hundred of your friends, co-workers, school mates to attend your event, charging twenty dollars for admission, you will have made $2,000.00 for I Live Here!! That’s pretty awesome.

Here are some ideas that we had for individual fundraisers:

-Private dinner/lunch party
- Sell home made foods
-Make cool neckalces
-Make home made-cards sets and letter kits
-Make bath salts/body srcubs
-Phone a thon.
-Teach a group of people a skill that they would like to learn – ie, yoga class, ballet class, painting class.
-Have a show with different muscians that you love.

Once you start planning, the fun will really begin.
All the money raised on this day will go to create the I Live Here America Project, in addition to continuing to grow our Kachere Prison program.
And: All donations are tax deductible
When you think about it, twenty dollars is the price of a movie and popcorn and a drink.

We will walk you through what I Live Here does and send you a little package about I Live Here. We will also have a training sessions and answer any questions that you might have about this effort. If done right, by the end of this day, we can begin the ILH America project and continue our work in Malawi. In return, your name will appear on the ILH America Site as a founding member. The top three people who raise the most money for ILH will receive a very special prize.

It’s a big dream. We know.
Many might think that this will never work.
We say it will.

That’s how we started I Live Here.

Mia and the ILH Team

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Returning to High School for the I Live Here Projects

When I was in High school I was sure of three things.

1.People were assholes

2. All blond girls had perfect skin

3. Todd L, for sure, didn't want to be my boyfriend.

This and a steady diet of saltines and oranges, led curiously to my burgeoning interest in human rights. In attempt to propagate this, I would skip school and hang out in Kensington Market, pretending to be older than I was. I collected Greenpeace stickers and bought food for homeless people.

Even though everything totally sucked, there were a few things that were still OK about school. Like, the first day back from summer vacation, where you could wear your new clothes and hope that everything would be OK that year. The way in which the frost stuck to the baby hair on your cheekbones, melting when you opened your locker. Staying up all night, devouring a book that your teacher had recommended, that would make you feel less alone.

High school was a place in which you felt wide and revealed in its exhilarating highs and lows.

All of the above comes back, as I walk through the halls of Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute located in North Toronto. Michael Laidlaw, a teacher at Lawrence Park, had invited me. I had not seen him since I was 10, as he had been my grade-school classmate, so was rather surprised when he stood in front of me at a book signing in Toronto last year. Months later he wrote to me, saying that he would like to work with my book, I Live Here, in his classroom. Many more months later, he wrote to me announcing that he was going to have an evening to support I Live Here at his school.

I am utterly blown away by what Micheal, colleagues and students did last night. I know it was not easy. This group put together an evening with song, video, music and dance in support of I Live Here. The talent is pretty mind-blowing and shows a level of sophistication that can only be a result of study, talent and reflection. Most importantly, they did something. How many people can say they even tried?

Peirson Ross, a Graduate of Lawrence Park, played four beautiful songs about love and travel. He spoke with the thrill of reflection about his years at Lawrence Park. This guy has soul and is one of those talents that will warm many cold nights ahead.

It is terribly moving to have I Live Here be the recipient of all of this.

So: Here is my shout out and hug to each of you. I hope you all go forward with courage and will to never give up no matter how silly you think that big dream is.

Rob Mancini, Scott Morrison, Connor Whitworth, Ryan Hill, Taylor Dale, Stephanie Long, Deven Glover, Lily MacLoud, Caroline Murchie, Brigid Allemang, Nicole Correale, James Boudreau, Ben Sussina, Eric Smith, Babk Taghina, Ryan lamers, Christina Wolf, Georgina Coward, Mike Hetherington, Miles McCraw, Jackson Walker, Annie Clarke, mark Edwards, Sam Yoannou, Olivia Luyt,, Justin Manofo, Duncan O'Donnell, Rebecca Pegano, Lauren McDougall, Andrea Eksteins, Dinah Finkelstien, Melanie Fingold, Alex Coles, Sydney Milgrom, Isabel Ungar, Brodie Marks, Sonya Molyneux, Sophia Zekiros, Rachel Kurzter, Courtney Dart, Jessica Campbell, Lee Stein, Emma Boynton, Greg Giannakis, Linda Llio, Charlotte Ann, Emily Bonnell, Alex Kapo, Issac Rain, David Milliken. Drassinower, Amal Mohamed, Peirson Ross.

A very special thank you and massive hug to a wonderful teacher and risk-taker, Michael Laidlaw.

Thank you for listening and rising above it all. Thank you for lighting a little fire inside of me.
Check out
Peirson Ross. This man is a talent.