Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Proud to be Me Fun Day

June 1, 2015, was our inaugural Proud to be Me Fun Day. 150 children from around the city took part in an awesome day comprised of youth empowerment workshops, guest speakers and fun play at Funhaven (be sure to check out the video below).

As the 150 children gathered first thing in the morning, I noticed a sea of grey t-shirts that all said Proud to be Me on the front. All children had smiles on their faces, excited to start their day. As I watched them, my hope was that they would leave at the end of the day realizing how special and awesome they all were and could walk out owning what it said on their shirts and say “I am Proud to be Me.”

The day was kicked off with speaker extraordinaire, Master Phil Nguyen. He energized the group with his talk about the 9 treasures to self-confidence, self-esteem and strength of character (from his book Bully Busters and Beyond). His talk was lively combining his taekwon-do skills and knowledge with an empowering message that left the kids inspired and ready for the day ahead.

The day was filled with empowering workshops, free play (on awesome Funhaven games), lunch and snacks, laser tag along with a large dose of inspiration. Kids learn best by having fun so we made sure to mix the fun in with the mindfulness. 

During the various workshops children learned much from different facilitators (thank you to Master Phil who helped me with the following descriptions since he had a chance to check them all out).

Author Amanda Bernardo and illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor of Little Voice, taught children to listen to their Little Voice to guide them, encourage them, and inspire them to be happy and successful.

Josée Lindsay (myself), author of Super Sparkencouraged children to accept themselves, dream big, be kind to one another and discover their inner superhero.

Drama teacher Jennifer Laale inspired children to have confidence and build life skills through improv and drama so they can be their best. 

Artist Kate Ryckman brought out the creativity and sense of self-expression in children through a fun art project. 

Ann Jarvis helped children learn how to be more present and live fully through mindfulness. 

Helen Georgaklis from Kids Write Network empowered children to express themselves and develop leadership skills through the process of writing and becoming authors.  

Yoga teacher Jenn Leblanc helped children connect to their body, mind and spirit as they flowed through yoga poses and breathing techniques.

And the day came to a close beautifully with an inspirational talk from former NFL player Mark Hatfield. Through his personal and very entertaining story we all learned to persevere and never give up, to put a game plan for success in place and go after our dreams. 

The inaugural Proud to be Me Fun Day was a success. You could feel the positive energy flowing all day. Children had fun, were inspired and made new friends. 

We’d like to thank all of the 150 participants who came and shared their day with us. It was all about them and nothing makes us happier here at PTBM than making kids feel good about themselves. I think we did indeed create a day where all were able to accept themselves and leave with their heads held high, able to say...I am proud to be me!

Thank you to our many guests, workshop facilitators, volunteers, sponsors and team members for helping us with the day. We could not have done it without you!

Stay tuned for our blog in August where we will feature workshops for schools associated with PTBM as well as information on how to apply for grants for your school.

On behalf of PTBM, thank you for your support. 

Josée Lindsay is an author, an inspirational speaker and a member of the Proud to be Me Board of Directors. To find out more visit:

Check out some of the day's highlights!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Proud to be Me and the Women Behind It

Board members Josée Lindsay and Cindy Cutts, councillor Allan Hubley, board members Dianna Ashworth and Trie Donovan

Hello, and welcome to our Proud to be Me blog where we will be letting you know what we are doing in our community, give you information about our upcoming events and workshops but most important, we hope to share stories, tools and information that can be uplifting, inspiring and help spread some positivity around our community and beyond.

I’m Josée Lindsay. I was recently invited to become a board member as well as write the PTBM blog. In this first blog, I want to take this opportunity to share Proud to be Me’s mission as well as give you an inside look at the woman behind the organization. 

The Proud to be Me Foundation was established in 2011. Our mission is to create a community where everyone is able to realize their full potential and can confidently say “I am Proud to be Me” by embracing both their own and others’ individuality.

Our vision for the future is a society in which empathy, acceptance, responsibility and opportunity are combined to benefit the community at large. The ultimate goal would see our mission spread without boundaries. PTBM will hold various events, contests and initiatives throughout the year to help build a stronger community for all of us. 

As the newest member of the board, I see how hard the PTBM team works (and might I add for free, it is all volunteer work). I am very inspired by them, their extreme dedication and want to share with you why they do what they do for PTBM.

Cindy Cutts is the founding member and the Executive Director of Proud to be Me. Here is her answer when asked why she started Proud to be Me:

“I started Proud to be Me because I wanted to make a difference and help others in my community. I wanted my children and family to be proud of me. In the short time on this journey of PTBM, I have seen that we are making a difference and that there is a need for an organization like PTBM. There is nothing like seeing a child or adult with a look of pride and feeling good about themselves. Holding onto that feeling and not letting others take it away is an amazing tool to have. We hope to one day have everyone be Proud to be Me.”

Trie Donovan is the Director of Media Relations and Promotions. Here is her answer when asked why she joined PTBM:

“I have been friends with Cindy for three years and watched as her vision for Proud to be Me unfolded. I couldn't wait to be a part of it. I want to give my three children as many positive experiences as possible by educating them and empowering them to be the best they can be. I was bullied as a young girl and was very lucky to have loving parents who helped me get through rough times.  I have a need and desire to help others. Growing up, my parents always taught us to give back and be a part of charities. I believe we can enrich the lives of others by giving, whether it's giving our time, resources or money and getting so much more in return. We are meant to live to the fullest and what we have inside of us is much stronger than any of our fears. I want to help empower others so that they can live a life of confidence and joy. I believe we can accomplish that with our mission at Proud to be Me.”

Dianna Ashworth is the Director of Communications and Events. Here is her answer when asked why she joined PTBM:

I joined Proud to be Me when I saw the opportunity to have an impact in schools by offering choices to our youth. I think character development supports children to be their best self. I am inspired by the innovative ways educators are using our school grants to better their school community.”

I am the fourth member and Director of Education and Workshops. Here is why I joined PTBM:

“I joined Proud to be Me because I know that being able to accept and love yourself is the foundation of all the good things we want for our children and our community. PTBM shares my philosophy which is that kindness, compassion, empathy starts with oneself. Once you ignite your light and can confidently say, “I am proud to be me”, you have the power to shine your light onto others and make a real difference in the world. My two boys were bullied at school so I have first-hand experience on how devastating it can be for a child. I have now dedicated my time to empowering children and do so through books, meditations and school presentations. Joining PTBM was a natural extension to what I believe in and by joining forces we can have a positive impact on more children. I could not be more grateful to work with such an amazing team.”

As you can see we all say why we are part of Proud to be Me in different ways but it really comes down to the same thing. We are all loving mothers who not only want the best for our own children but have a desire to serve children, youth and adults in our community and beyond. As Gandhi once said beautifully “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And that is what we intend to do at Proud to be Me. We will shine a beam of acceptance, compassion, kindness and positivity in our community and know that others will join in along the way. Together we can create a community where all are accepted. It’s not just a utopian dream, it is possible and we hope you come along with us for the ride.

Stay tuned for out next blog which will describe the activities, fun and inspiration from our next  big event, our inaugural Proud to be Me Fun Day which will be taking place on June 1st!  150 children from around the city will take part in a day comprised of youth empowerment workshops, guest speakers, like Master Phil & retired NFL player Mark Hatfield, as well as a few guests from City Hall. Our day will be loaded with entertainment, fun yet mindful workshops and a bit of free play at Funhaven.

On behalf of Proud to be Me, thank you for your support!


Josée Lindsay is an author, an inspirational speaker and a member of the Proud to be Me Board of Directors. To find out more visit: