Our Youth Matter

I feel so grateful by the overwhelming response I’ve received in the past few days since launching my Class of 2021 grad sign campaign. Wow! The heartfelt messages of support and sincere words of appreciation for taking on this project again this year to honour our most deserving graduates yet is just beyond words.  

One of the organizations I wish to support in this year’s campaign through the generosity of your donations is “Phillips House”; home to North York General Hospital’s child and adolescent outpatient programs.

The redeveloped (and first of its kind in Canada) 15,000 sq. ft. Georgian-style mansion, located near the hospital has been transformed into a serene, healing space that promotes health and wellbeing. Their outpatient services and day programs focus on the treatments of mood disorders, ADHD, substance abuse, eating disorders and other mental health conditions.  

I first learned of Philips House by a mom I was introduced to online several years earlier who has since become one of it’s main contributors through her group called “The Maddie Project”. 

“The Maddie Project” is a volunteer based organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the mental health needs of children. They focus on ending the stigma surrounding adolescent depression and help to make mental health services more accessible and affordable to adolescents in need. 

“The Maddie Project” is named in loving memory of Maddie German Coulter, the daughter of the mom I spoke of above who lost her battle with depression in 2015 at the age of 14. Through the amazing commitment and support of the community they have raised over 3 million dollars to date which helped build “Maddie’s Healing Garden”, a 1.2 acre green space that now surrounds “Phillips House” and provides patients with a calming, natural setting for therapy, meditation and physical activity. 

Maddie’s story really touched my heart deeply. At the time of her death my 3 kids were all very close in age to her and it really hit home. I could feel the pain and sadness of her family, of her friends and of her community at large but as someone who struggles every day with chronic depression and understands just how unforgiving it can be, I felt her pain most. She was a young, beautiful, energetic, bright shining light with so much life ahead of her but I am grateful to “The Maddie Project” for continuing to shine her bright light on our community through healing, education, advocacy and giving hope to all the other “Maddies” out there.

I will be placing my order in a few short days so if you would still like to purchase a graduation lawn sign or make a donation to help make a difference in the life of a child or adolescent who may be feeling vulnerable and alone right now or in need of some extra support during these most difficult days still ahead please contact me today at: youthareenough@gmail.com.

Thank you again for all your kind words, continued support and encouragement throughout my campaign and throughout my journey itself. 

*Don’t forget to keep spreading the word!*

Please continue to follow my journey at: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com.  You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and my Facebook page youareenough123. 

#phillipshouse #themaddieproject #northyorkgeneralhospital #graduationday #grads #classof2021 #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #suicideprevention  #suicideawareness #checkonyourlovedones #lawnsigns #2021grads #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #payitforward 

2021 Graduate Campaign

As many of you know, last spring I created a series of lawn signs to help honour our 2020 graduates after receiving the devastating news that my daughter’s high school prom and graduation ceremony were both cancelled. 

The initiative quickly grew in abundance and at the end of 6 short weeks I had hand delivered somewhere in the ballpark of 700 signs to the front lawns (and porches) of so many deserving Graduates across the GTHA from Pre-K to Post-Graduate education. 

With the help of so many generous people in our amazing communities together we raised over $10,000 for Kids Help Phone which is why I have decided to launch my campaign again this spring. 

Our class of 2021 (including my other daughter who is just days away from earning her undergraduate degree in Communications) are all feeling the same disappointment, anger, loneliness, overwhelm and sadness as so many deserving graduates did just one year ago. 

I don’t need to tell you just how difficult this past year has been on our youth especially, many of whom are now struggling with debilitating anxiety and depression issues along with other mental health concerns due to the devastation and impact of the Pandemic. 

Our youth need to know that it’s okay to not be okay and that they are not alone which is why I have also decided this year to spread the wealth around by donating the proceeds to several youth mental health initiatives instead of just the one I did last year as the need to support our youth mental health programs is so much greater than ever before. 

I look forward to brightening up our neighborhoods soon.

#graduationday #grads #classof2021 #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #lawnsigns #2021grads #youareenough #ouryouthmatter #payitforward #strongertogether

Four Million Reasons Why

I read an article the other day whose title immediately caught my eye. It read:

4 million cries for help: Calls to Kids Help Phone soar amid pandemic.

As I continued on to read the body of the article my heart sank further. 

Since the onset of the Pandemic last March, Kids Help Phone has seen an upsurge in calls from young people. Statistics show that calls, texts and their many other online resources have more than doubled since the previous year and they are now receiving over 800 calls, texts etc. every day from all across Canada (with Ontario making up for approximately half of those calls received each day).

Callers have been as young as 5 years old with a good majority of the calls coming in between midnight and 4 am. Many of these call are related to feelings of isolation, loneliness, self/body image, virtual learning, missed milestones and an overall deterioration of their mental health. And of all the calls received by their large team of trained counsellors per day, there is at minimum, 10 calls where police are being dispatched for “active suicide rescues”. 

These stats are truly heartbreaking but I am so thankful at the same time that our youth have a safe place like Kids Help Phone to reach out to in order to help them survive a Pandemic. Knowing just how many of our young people have become so withdrawn, angry, frustrated, anxious and sad (and rightfully so) is beyond scary. 

I hear from speaking with so many concerned parents in my community (and beyond) how their kids are staying up all night gaming with friends online just to feel some sort of connection and how so many more have completely checked out from their daily routines, especially online learning. The concerns over the emotional and financial impacts that isolation and lockdowns are having on our youth are growing more and more concerning by the day and suicides among our youth are increasing at alarming rates. 

As spring quickly approaches, (at least according to Wiarton Willie, the adorable little Groundhog that is, who just yesterday predicted an early spring, yay), I had recently been giving a great deal of thought to starting another Graduation Initiative again this year for the Class of 2021. 

I will afterall in just two short months have another Graduate in my home, who as of yesterday received the disappointing news in an email from her University informing her (what we already knew in our hearts) that they will be postponing her Spring Convocation Ceremony until such time when large public gatherings can once again take place safely. 

I know how much disappointment, anger and sadness this reality caused my other daughter last spring when both her Prom and Graduation ceremony were cancelled, along with millions of other young people’s around the world but after reading the article and taking note of the imminent crisis our young people are facing due to the Pandemic I felt a great sense of pride knowing that the 10k that I along with the help of 100’s of incredibly generous and kindhearted people in and around my community helped raise and donate to Kids Help Phone last spring, that the money went to a very worthwhile cause.

I now feel as though I have at least 4 million more reasons to take on this initiative once again and who knows, maybe with the help of my amazing community we could double the amount of proceeds we raised last spring.

Services like Kids Help Phone are needed more than ever before and even though it may only be a stepping stone toward other resources or long term services for some, our young people deserve a fighting chance and are going to need all the help they can get long after the Pandemic is over because although many of the imminent issues at hand may one day dissipate, the lingering effects and fallout from the Pandemic are sadly going to affect much of our younger generations for many years to come.

If you or someone you know needs a safe and confidential place to start please call Kids Help Phone at: 1.800.668.6868 or text: 686868

#kidshelpphone #ouryouthmatter #helplines #lifelines #classof2021 #graduationday  #grads #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence 

Reaching Out For Help

**Update: here is the link to my interview** https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2021/01/29/telephone-counselling-set-up-due-to-pandemic-mental-health-issues

*Warning: May Be Triggering To Some*

I’m struggling more than usual right now and it almost feels like it’s beyond repair. 

My tears have all but dried up at this point and I feel as though I have nothing left to give of myself. My safe place no longer feels safe and I find myself looking for desperate ways to escape from these painful thoughts and feelings. 

I wish there was such a thing as a magic pill that I could swallow which would stop these desperate thoughts and feelings from taking control of me instead of wanting to end my life forever.  

I haven’t been able to shake these desperate thoughts and feelings for the better part of a week now. I’ve tried escaping them by going for walks at unreasonable hours, writing and most importantly trying to lean on others for support, including my Therapist, but I feel like such a burden right now which has made it that much more difficult to do.  

But I also know that reaching out for help is so important, especially as I desperately try to hold on in order to survive right now. This feeling is also why when I was approached to do an interview today with City TV News I knew it was maybe a sign. 

The interview was about a new telephone Helpline being set up in York Region to provide counselling for those suffering, specifically through Covid related issues due to restrictions, isolation etc. I knew it was something I needed to do for both myself and the many others who are feeling desperate and scared right now. I knew I needed to continue to be that voice and let others like me find hope and strength in knowing that reaching out for support is more than okay, in fact it’s beyond okay. 

I had put the link to this new service (which is free) on a blog the other day titled “Going To Therapy is Cool” @https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/going-to-therapy-is-cool and feel free to check out my Interview on City TV at 5 or 6pm tonight. 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”~Maya Angelou 

World Mental Health Day

Today, October 10th, 2020 is World Mental Health Day. For over 7+ months now our entire world has been met with the most unimaginable challenges and tragic losses and moving forward, probably for many years to come, there is going to be an even greater substantial need to have more and more Psychological and Mental Health supports put in place that are more readily and easily accessible to everyone.

So this year’s goal for World Mental Health Day comes as no big surprise as they turn their focus to ensuring that there is a sizeable investment made in Mental Health programs, Research and Education both on a National and International level which as many of us know firsthand is dangerously underfunded.

But just this past week, right here in Toronto I felt that first glimmer of hope unfolding toward that goal as CAMH (Center For Addictions and Mental Health), together with many community leaders (including the Premier of Ontario) unveiled their two, brand new State of the Art buildings at this historic landmark.

They will be opening to the public next month and it will include 235 inpatient beds and 600,000 square feet of safe space to allow for healing and recovery.

BRAVO to everyone involved for taking this critical step forward in creating this incredible safe and inclusive space for our community and beyond.

I myself have personally benefitted from many of their world renowned community outreach programs and resources and I am hopeful that this redevelopment will help benefit many others in the near future too.

Please remember that you are not alone ❤

#worldmentalhealthday #mentalhealthishealth #camh #mentalillnessawarenessweek #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok @catherinezahn @camhnews @fordnation @celliottability

Another Happy Graduate

When I receive pictures like these ones it completely warms my heart. Today a group of amazing Teachers and EA’s surprised some of their “Awesome Grads” from Our Lady of Victory School in Toronto with a small Graduation ceremony outside their homes toting presents, balloons and a “Class of 2020” Graduation lawn sign.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a smile is worth a million more.

#graduationday #grads #classof2020 #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #smiles #togetherapart #wereallinthistogether #mentalhealth #youareenough #youarenotalone #bekind #kindnessmatters #thankyou @kidshelpphone @boorola

Thankful and Blessed

Today I was so honored to receive an amazing and much appreciated nomination from my very dear friend Sheri Epstein and my very new friend Belora Cotnareanu whom I am so blessed to have both of these strong and supportive ladies in my life. I was nominated in a group that was formed just a couple of months ago called “Creative Cooking During Corona” by  Cheryl Obrant who’s love of food and community has since brought together almost 10,000 like-minded individuals who share recipes and build each other up! See below:

CELEBRATING WOMEN  #top10

“Is there someone in your life, or even yourself, who has really done something unique and special during these past few months??
Stepped up in an incredible way, given back to others, come up with a unique or innovative business idea……Overcome challenges or adversities and deserves to be Spotlighted and recognized???
TODAY WE FEATURE THE 10th OF OUR #TOP10 a double nomination by Sheri Epstein and Belora Cotnareanu – thank you ladies and we share with you the amazing Kim Newman Fluxgold

Here is the story shared by Sheri and supported by Belora

Kim Fluxgold has suffered from severely debilitating depression for the past 6-7 years. She has tried many things to help her “get better” nothing has made a difference. Although her depression has often made her feel like giving up she doesn’t!

Each day she tries to cope with the challenges of daily life of being a wife and a mother, which in itself is difficult enough. But… on top of that she has made a commitment to helping others who are suffering like she is. Kim writes a blog entitled, You Are Enough, and she even authored and published a book for children, “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go” to help parents explain depression to young children.

Then the shut down happened and Kim became very concerned for all the grade 12 students who were losing out on the things that mark the end of high school. As a mother of a grade 12 student (as I am also) she knew that this shut down wasn’t just about losing out on part-time jobs and march break plans, but also losing out on prom, graduation, summer plans, moving into residence, frosh week, etc.

As well, she was and is very worried that all this loss could cause many of our children profound sadness, feelings of grief, and depression. Kim wanted to do something to show our graduates –all our graduates – that we are  proud of them and that we honour them.
So Kim designed these wonderful lawn signs and all proceeds from the signs are being donated to Kids Help Phone, which is seeing an increase in calls since the shut down.

Kim did all the advertising for the signs, had them made, and then delivered each one personally (with her family members helping with driving and schlepping) to each grad.

This has put many miles on her car as she has travelled all around the GTA putting smiles on grads’ faces. To date she has raised about $10,000 for Kids Help Phone. I would say that this is pretty amazing for anyone to do but for someone who struggles each day with depression this is AWESOME!

Kim is most deserving any and all accolades that she gets (even if she often doesn’t feel that she is worthy of them).

WHAT AN AMAZING STORY!!!!!!!!!  SO PROUD OF YOU KIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

#womensupportingwomen #empowerment #bekind #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #blessed






Signed, Sealed & Delivered


While on route today delivering more lawn signs I made an extra special stop to the home of one of the Managers of Kids Help Phone to drop off an envelope with a cheque in it for just under $8000. 
Like so many others right now, the staff at Kids Help Phone are adjusting to a new way of life by having to work from home (and for the foreseeable future) in order to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of Covid-19 but I didn’t want to have to wait several more months for Kids Help Phone to reap the benefits of the 100’s of generous donations I’ve received and so the kind young gentleman (who I’ve been in constant contact with since the start of my “Class of 2020” Graduate Initiative) offered to have me drop it off to him to ensure it got into the right hands now.

We spoke for a little bit outside his home (and 2 meters apart!) and he shared with me some of his goals he is working towards right now for our youth during Covid-19 and beyond and how much donations like this can help turn these goals into a reality. 

I told him that I will have another cheque for him in a couple of weeks once I wrap up my campaign which is officially winding down this weekend as my mental health is taking a toll right now from it, but as of this evening I am very close to doubling my original goal of $5000 and ya that’s pretty cool with me.

*Feel free to reach out to me before Sunday night to honour a “Class of 2020” Graduate! And if you or anyone you know is feeling sad or angry or frustrated or scared please reach out to Kids Help Phone 24/7. They are now servicing all children, youth, frontline  workers and even adults.  

#kidsmentalhealthmatters #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #courage #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #kindnessmatters #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #suicide #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #togetherapart #staysafe #stayhome @kidshelpphone @bellletstalk 

How Can I Say No?


I received another shipment of “Class of 2020” lawn signs (over 200 to be somewhat exact). As last week wrapped up and I could barely see straight anymore and was feeling extremely vulnerable and overwhelmed I went to bed that night with a promise to myself that I had taken my last order. I tried reminding myself that delivering close to 600 lawn signs over the course of one month was an incredible feat (with several drives that were close to an hour North, South, East and West of the City) and I even tried to convince myself that I should be very proud of what I have accomplished by raising over $8000 for Kids Help Phone to date; and then before I knew it, morning had come.

You see, I have a very hard time feeling like anything I ever do is good enough, worthy enough or just plain old enough. And I also have a very hard time saying no, I want to say no, and I often need to say no but the guilt of saying no can far outweigh my ability to set healthy boundaries even if it means that I’m compromising my own mental and physical health for it.

I went to bed that night having set several healthy boundaries in my head. My plan was clear as day, I was not going to take anymore orders; no matter what!!! I needed to focus my energy instead on wrapping up my project and on the upcoming delivery, which included mapping out a very clear and concise plan as to how Rich and I were going to conquer the current deliveries with as little conflict as possible. I had also been preparing those who inquired about Grad signs last week and even part of the week prior (before I knew that I was going to appear on the evening news) that if they wanted to place an order they needed to confirm with me by Sunday evening because I would no longer be accepting orders after that (month end).

I know we can’t always please everyone and that creating healthy boundaries can help ease some feelings of guilt but when I woke up Monday morning and my inbox already had another dozen or so messages from parents and loved ones of a “Class of 2020” Graduate wanting to lift their spirits I just couldn’t say no. 

Each sign I have sold has come with its own unique story and I have had the privilege of hearing many of these stories about so many AWESOME “Class of 2020” Graduates and many stories have also included how much Kids Help Phone has played an important role in their lives. 

I wish that when I do say no that I can do so without guilt of course but also without feeling like I have to always apologize for saying no, or explain myself for saying no or feel like I’m being judged for saying no or that I’m letting others down for saying no and besides all that; didn’t Nancy Reagan teach us that it’s okay to “Just Say No!”?

#sayno #youareenough #justsayno #healthyboundaries #finalorder #nostringsattached #ichooseme #guiltfree #noshame #noapologies #graduationday #grads #classof2020 #ouryouthmatter #youarenotalone  #endthestigmatogether #strongertogether #kindness @kidshelpphone @bellletstalk 

A Mitzvah

I have a really hard time accepting help from others, that is everyone except for maybe Rich. What does that exactly mean though; well it means that if I allow someone to help me or do something nice for me then that would mean that I’m weak and incapable of doing it myself, right? And wouldn’t it also mean that I’m a failure too?

I know that most people only offer their help without any ulterior motives in mind and that for every 1 person whose willingness to help others may have ill intentions in mind I also know that there are ten more people who are wanting to show their support or lend a helping hand because they genuinely want to help and it actually gives them great joy when doing so.

In the Jewish faith this would be considered a “Mitzvah” or in the English translation it is considered to be a “good deed” to help someone with a conscious act or emphasis on kindness and empathy.

Throughout my journey I have had no shortage of kindness and empathy or heartfelt sentiments being offered up to me and my family at any given time but it’s always hard for me to let others help me and most of the time I honestly can’t even explain the reason why. 

I know my illness has a lot to do with it as I am constantly telling myself that I’m weak, I’m incapable, I’m a failure, I’m unworthy, I’m undeserving and I’m useless. I feel as though I have no control over my life whatsoever and then to allow others to help me feels like I am giving up complete control all together and making me feel even more vulnerable. Oh and my favourite of course is the guilty feeling I get when someone does something kind for me. 

Over the last few weeks and even more so this week I have recieved an abundance of kindness from loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers, offering to help me in whatever capacity they can with my Initiative. Maybe now would be the perfect time for me to embrace the moment and give others the opportunity to feel the same way I feel every time I brighten up a young person’s day!!

#mitzvah #kindness #kindnessmatters #empathy #joy #helpinghands #youareenough #noshame #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone 

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