Smj magazine issue#9 fall 2015

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15 2 0 .9 e r No o b ue c t ss O ll I Fa


Youth Fest Canada

Lifestyle High Performance Farahri

BUSINESS Your Health Is Your Wealth FALL 2015


$4.99 CANADA


Rachel Parent

Building A Legacy, One Cause At A Time FEATURES:

The Woman, The Brand, The Business AFRICAN FASHION WEEK TORONTO


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SMJ Magazine Inspiring Stories & Content

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2015 MEDIA

Business Profiles

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6. From The Desk of Shelley Jarrett


14. The Different Faces of Sheldon Neil At Youth Fest Andrew Terry Pasieka 17. The Potters House ComesTo Youth Andrew Terry Pasieka 20. Gifts of A Singer At Youth Andrew Terry Pasieka 26. Roxanne Robinson: It’s About Second Chances Andrew Terry Pasieka 46. Talking About A Andrew Terry Pasieka 48. One Man’s Special Andrew Terry Pasieka

26 7. Beauty Barbara Onwumere 12. Stictly Men’s Fashion at Claris Manglicmot & Andrew Terry Pasieka 22. HIgh Performance Andrew Terry Pasieka 38. A Positive Look At Mental Illness/Pt Shelley Jarrett


42. Dancing As Therapy Chemagne Martin 44. Inspirational Josephine Casey

28. A Day in the Sheralyn L. Roman 32. Monsanto: The Other Side of the GMO’s ...edited by Andrew Terry Pasieka


36. Your Health Is Your Dr. Lisa Ramsackal 50. Not Your Ordinary Andrew Terry Pasieka 52. Simply Following Her Own Cassandra London 53. SMJ Magazine and KiDz Andrew Terry Paseika

features 30


30. Rachel Parent: Building A Legacy One Cause At A Time Andrew Terry Pasieka 56. The Woman, The Brand, The Shelly Jarrett 8. An Overview of African Fashion Week Claris Manglicmot 10. Co-Founders of African Fashion Week Claris Manglicmot 3


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16 Years Old And Can’t Miss...

Lifestyle A Different Kind of Island Life Fun...


Report on the Spirit-Preneur Conference SPRING 2014 $4.99 CANADA


Founder & Publisher Shelley Jarrett



To A Voice

Editor-in-Chief Andrew Terry Pasieka

HO W LID IN A TE Y ISSU R 20 E #7 2015 14

Creative Director/Layout Sheri L. Lake

Photographer Lubin Tasevski

My Day MY WAY My Style WINTER 2015 $4.99 CANADA

Fashion & Design Editor Claris Minas Manglicmot


Jane Daylis-Hinch


Wedding Guru

Staff Reporters Caroline Dinnall FRONT COVER Photo: Rachel Parent Layout: Sheri Lake

Contributors Shelley Jarrett Sheralyn Roman Andrew Terry Pasieka Cassandra London Barbara Onwumere Chemagne Martin Claris Minas Manglicmot Aniga R Jospehine Casey Vicky Munzadi Dr. Lisa Ramsackal Publicity LIM Media Group Inc. Website Contact SMJ Magazine is a division of Seventh House Publishing Arts. Fall Issue 2015 No. 9

Chemagne Martin

Chemagne Martin has been a dancer and yoga practitioner, developing a style with a love for movement for over 20 years. In 2005 Chemagne established her company Chemagne Dance, to teach the art of belly dance. In 2014, Chemagne launched her instructional DVD, Chemagne Belly Dance for Beginners Vol. 1 and was nominated for Best Traditional Dance Artist by the Black Canadian Awards Association. In 2015, Chemagne was recognized by the CIWBE as Canada’s 100 Black Women To Watch.

Dr. Lisa Ramsackal

Claris Minas Manglicmot

Mississauga Chiropractor and Registered Acupuncturist Dr. Lisa Ramsackal is dedicated to providing patients with the highest level of care to achieve and maintain healthy active life styles. She has a Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, and obtained her Doctorate of Chiropractic and a 2 year Chiropractic Rehabilitation Fellowship Program from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Dr. Ramsackal’s passion for holistic health care also led her to becoming a Registered Acupuncturist and Certified Personal Trainer.

Claris is a jewelry hobbyist designer. She is currently managing designers and talents on consultancy basis. She owns EM Productions which produces unique and quality events, shows and films that highlight the multiculturalism of Canada. She has been a healthy home cooking coach for over a decade. Her energy and entreprenuerial spirit led her first venture in the sale and distribution of healthy all-in-one cooking tools in Canada, the Philippines, Brunei and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Lisa combines her passion for health and wellness promotion and education through community and corporate involvement, various media appearances, and hosts a weekly health and wellness TV segment.

Claris obtained a bachelor’s degree from Mindanao State University in Hospitality, graduated cum laude and was a leadership awardee. She also completed Business and Public Relations Administration with the London School of Public Relations with distinctions. She now resides in Canada with her family. Fall 2015



We are profiling ‘2’ breakout singers, the internationally known Farahri, and gospel stylist Roxanne Robinson . There are ‘2’ book reviews, on works by Makini Smith, and Christopher Healy.

Well summer came and went and was hot indeed. For me I worked non-stop. Projects kept coming and there was no time for vacation. I am not one to complain, because the planning was tight and my goals had to be accomplished. As the nights are getting cooler I am reminded that we should appreciate the four seasons we have here in Canada. Even though this is Issue No. 9, the number ‘2’ is prominent throughout. SMJ Magazine is featuring someone else on the front cover for a 2nd time. Rachel Parent is an advocate for GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). We wanted to explore the topic and give it the proper attention it deserved, and because Rachel is a remarkable young woman in her own right. We are featuring ‘2’ events in particular in this issue, African Fashion Week Toronto (AFWT), and Youth Fest Canada. We finally have our ‘2nd’ editor on staff. Claris M. Manglicmot has agreed to become our Fashion & Design Editor, and has written on ‘2’ shows in this issue, the aforementioned AFWT and TOM, Toronto Men’s Fashion Week. We welcome ‘2’ contributors to the magazine, both in health, but in diverse areas: Dr. Lisa Ramsackal, an acupuncturist and chiropractor, and Chemagne Martin, a dance therapist.

Finally, I wanted to expand on the story on myself written in the previous issue on being one of the One Hundred Black Women to Watch in Canada. THE WOMAN, THE BRAND, THE BUSINESSES is like a part ‘2’ of my story…….. Heading towards our next issue, we want our readers to watch for more news about our mainstream TV extension of this publication known as SMJ Live! as the show moves closer to production in 2016. Has SMJ been challenging? Of course it has. Has it involved sacrifice? Of course it has. The way I see it, there have been many companies that have gone out of business just this year, from large retailers to city magazines. We have had disappointments in every issue, but we have been able to stay consistently original in our content, and we feel blessed to be doing excellent work. My formula for success is simple. I would encourage anyone thinking about going into business for yourself to follow these rules. Do not sell yourself short; do not spend time worrying about what your competitors are doing. Don’t copy content or style just because someone tells you legally you can. Take pride in your craft and don’t take advantage. Stay focused on what matters, have a spiritual anchor. You cannot exist in this natural world without it. Give back to your community, even starting with kids. In this issue, that’s what we did. Go to Photo By: Nathalie Atanda Redwood studio


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BeautySecrets by Barbara Onwumere

You can make the fall season just as fabulous as the rest of the year. Remember what is unique about autumn, but don’t forget what is unique about you. The weather is changing. So should your fashion, plus your make-up and hair. It should be warm and bright, but also beautiful for you! Your hair and make-up needs to co-ordinate with the fall looks you are incorporating. Earthy colors are everywhere in clothing stores, magazines and make-up counters. Look for fall shades of orange, red and brown that add warmth to your skin tone. You want to be able to glow. Your make-up and hair should accentuate the warm shades of your fashion colors. Add fashion accessory items such as trench coats, cardigans, short boots, scarves, purses, etc. in these colors to your wardrobe. You can update your make-up in the same way as well. Choose browns, earthy greens and burnt orange for your eyes anytime. Create a smoky eye look for your evening adventures. Rich, earth tone lipsticks full of


red and brown are a welcome new addition to your make-up collection. Hair color can be vibrant with rich, deep reds, browns and copper tones. Don’t be afraid to change your hair to fall shades, keeping in mind of how you altered your wardrobe. They should be complimentary. Choose a darker level of hair color to add warmth and richness to your hair. This look is very flattering and in step with the changing season. Alternatively, you can use just a pop of fall color to brighten how you are currently wearing your hair. Great techniques such as peek-a-boo, highlights and hombre suit any look. Treat your hair to oil treatments, conditioners and masks every two weeks to keep your hair looking healthy, shiny and to avoid split ends. This new season still has many warm, sunny days, but the evenings are definitely drier and colder . It’s October. Fall is here. Enjoy the changing season by changing in your fashion and beauty routine.

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An Overview of


The recent African Fashion Week Toronto 2015 was held over four days this past August. It was not just a glamorous series of fashion shows but an opportunity to see and be seen for all those who love and are passionate about fashion and culture. The whole package was a breath-taking swath of color: the designers, their creative lines, the fabulous models, the intense production teams, the swarm of media. The building buzz of the crowds around the Daniel Spectrum in eastern Toronto is evidence that this is an event on the rise. The Friday saw competition among student designers and high fashion designers categories. The students didn’t look entirely out of place among the A-listers. All the designs are so stunning, nothing looked like the work of beginners. The winner for student category was model turned designer, Kadeem Faustin and his line Gervacy. The fashion show closer for the night was Zongkeh Wakha, who won the student designer competition at the first AFWT. She has grown with her designs and her ZNAK line has been a presence in each of the three years of AFWT.


Most are from Africa or from the USA, but one who stood out was Kaela Kay, who is based in Canada Kaela Kay Collections is a forward thinking clothing line that transforms bold and extravagant prints into sexy, feminine and modern clothes, and with an African flare. Kaela Kay’s success is due in part to the unique and ultramodern coupling of style and prints. The attention to intricate detail and creative symbolism catapult Kaela Kay into the realm of luxurious fashion. One of the main overseas attractions at AFWT was not based in Africa. The name Adebayo Jones is synonymous with exquisite fashion. The London-based fashion designer and style consultant has long been associated with glamour, elegance, opulence, style and he has continued to build an international following for his fashion label over the last two decades.

More important is the reason that ZNAK returns each year. According to Zongkeh, “This is becoming a great place to attract buyers and network with other designers.”

Multi-award winning Jones completed a humanities degree at university in 1985, returned to his first love – fashion design – and enrolled in a leading fashion college in London to acquire the requisite skills for his craft. The ‘KING OF COUTURE,’ as he is widely known and referred to in the fashion world and media, Adebayo Jones believes details will set your work apart.

Saturday was the super runway for all the professional fashion designers and the featured established designers.

His work speaks for itself. Renowned for creating his own fabrics and presenting the most lavish and

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luxurious collections of gowns, his new bridge couture prêt a porter collection also reflects the style and the elegance that has defined his career over the years. It is for this reason that the luxury label – Adebayo Jones – has come to be widely embraced by the fashion community and public at large. The Sunday red carpet was full packed with celebrities and socialites. Ms. Andria Thompson and myself covered the ‘glam of the red’ for SMJ Magazine and SMJ Live! We enjoyed being a part of the closeness that the fashion community is noted for. We are happy to declare AFWT a roaring success. It is a tribute to this fashion show AFWT did not only center on glamour but showcased the real art, culture and essence of dressing up. Couture and exquisite displays of clothing with a lot of touching stories and meaning behind their designs. SMJ Magazine and SMJ Live! can hardly wait for African Fashion Week Toronto 2016. The video of the SMJ red carpet can be viewed at: youtube_gdata_player Follow Adebayo Jones at: For more on African Fashion Week Toronto, go to : Photo Credits: Aniga R & Vicky Munzadi

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Shelley Jarrett, SMJ Magazine publisher and I were honored to have a late night talk with the founders of AFWT together after the events of the day were over. Here are the comments of African Fashion Week Toronto founders, Anita Aboagye and Isaac Ansah. Co-Founder and General Manager Anita Aboagye is literally the ‘jill of all trades!’ She is a recording artist, previous Miss Ghana Canada winner, African jewelry designer, makeup artist, and hairstylist. Most importantly, she is the Fashion Director of African Fashion Week Toronto. Co-Founder and Chief of Operations Isaac Ansah is a local visionary who makes sure his clients and associates are continuously benefiting from his marketing and management assets. He is the Founder of Imagine Management & Marketing, Blue Ice Fashion. At African Fashion Week Toronto he is the Project Manager, and as such, he had to duck out for part of our interview time to supervise the team loading out for the closing of this day and loading in for the next day. We started the talk with Anita on why and how she and Isaac started AFWT. Anita said she always loved fashion as a child but since she is short she was certain she could not be a model. But she knew she wanted to be involved some way. She has been quoted that fashion and Africa are like bread and butter. “ It is like getting up in the


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morning and brushing your teeth.” With the support of her mother they partnered and conceptualized House of Nasa Designs which will be launched on 2016. I asked her how she bases her decisions as to who among Africans can participate in the AFWT. I am surprised by her answer. AFWT is not limited to Africans only but to any designers who will use and feature designs that has African influence. One of the main reasons she started AFWT was the lack of African prints and designs in Canadian stores. Both Shelley and I are not African by ethnicity but love African fashion, arts and culture. If AFWT does nothing else but satisfy this demand in Canada, it will more than serve its purpose. I presumed that coming up with a itinerary like this every year is a big challenge. Anita replied that the struggle has nothing to do with the standards they want to achieve. The struggles are to be able to get designers to Canada given the visa and the financing requirements. To bring designers from third world to Canada is very costly, not to mention the currency exchange, which is very challenging. Some guests have difficulty in just taking care of hotel incidentals, foods, and any souvenir shopping, and that is if they are lucky enough to their airfares covered for them. AFWT cannot cover for all of them. After three years, the co-founders of AFWT cite this as this as their biggest continuing problem. Anita added that the great emotional and financial support from designers especially from “The Godfather” of African Fashion, Adebayo Jones was very touching. At this point she become emotional and teary. “You don’t get this support from a lot people”, Anita said. Adebayo Jones acts like a father to young designers who are coming along and who are going to be born into fashion. The co-founders are dedicated to promote African designs and to bring them into the limelight. They do not plan to slow down but to keep going and pursue this endeavor as a legacy. They want to help struggling, talented African designers

hidden in the Dark Continent to be discovered. The current expensive and mainstream system of fashion industry does not intimidate her in any way. She wants to make a difference. She is confident that the new generation of people will understand and believe that either they have the financial capacity or strong connections or they do not. But AFWT wants to be that connection. They have a total of 120 volunteers, comprised of models, make up artists, hairstylists and production team. Most of these volunteers have full time jobs but they put in hours for AFWT because Anita and Isaac have helped them buy into their dream. Anita sighs and concludes, she knows she is a dreamer but for her, the sky is the limit. She projected five years from now the annual AFWT will be a mainstream event in which all Canadians and the world will look forward to. “I believe that fashion started in Africa, and withAFWT in Canada, we want to take the world by storm!” Isaac pops back in for a moment to add, because of the ethnic mosaic that Canada is continually evolving into, the ultimate goal of AFWT “is to take African fashion to new cultures.” We have so much fun talking and we forgot its already past midnight. In closing I asked what can we and the community do to help the AFWT. She said she wants everyone to understand that to organize a production like AFWT is not easy financially and physically. The success of this endeavor is dependent on the sponsors, media, the general public and the community to support. She also asked everyone to support the Fashion Ready Foundation for student and struggling designers, some of whom don’t even own a sewing machine. One of the main goals of the foundation is to obtain used sewing machines and give it to deserving designers. For more information check out their link:

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STRICTLY MEN’S FASHION AT TOM By Claris Minas Manglicmot & Andrew Terry Pasieka

Fashion has always been focused on women. We dress up whenever we have the opportunity to show off our clothes, shoes and purses. Men dress up properly only for weddings and other special occasions that requires dress code but other than that jeans and sports shirts are their most identifiable clothing. The initiative of Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM) held last August 17-25 at 444 Yonge Street at College Park was to change that preconceived notion and focus on men as a fashion statement. SMJ Magazine was there to cover the event and indeed the collections for mens fashion are edgy, colorful, fun and exquisite. One designer that caught our attention is Montreal’s Ivan Lehec with his label FINEZZA. We cornered Ivan for an interview to find


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out more about his collections and his story as a designer and a designer of men’s clothing. (And with that, our magazine embarks in exciting new territory as we continue to grow and build our brand. This article was a combination of two interviews, by our new Fashion & Design Editor Claris Minas Manglicmot and by your Editor-in-Chief, and woven into one story. Claris, we must do this again!) *** SMJ: In researching for our story, we saw some files in another alphabet. Where did you grow up? IL: My Mother is Russian. She originates from Moscow. I was born in France, and lived nineteen years in Paris. Lots of our vacations were in west of France, where my father

comes from, and Russia when I was young. SMJ: What is your post-secondary background? IL: I’m not really a theoretical man. I like to learn in the field. So my educational training did not include fashion. I stopped school at 18 after my dentistry degree. It was boring for me to do the same procedures, to learn the same routines. I needed to create something, to be on my own. SMJ: We are very impressed by your collections at TOM. Please tell us more about your shows here, and your line in general. IL: Well of course we are on the runway at TOM. We will be staying in Toronto after to dress up some celebrities for TIFF.*


Back in Montreal, we have a private showroom by appointment only and we also meet clients at their office or at home. Our made to measure suits are all made in Montréal. Everything to dress the gentleman from head to toe in his every day activities all week long, all year long. (SMJ Note: *The Toronto International Film Festival. After TOM and TIFF, Ivan is going to showcase his collection in the upcoming Mastercard Toronto Fashion Week) SMJ: What did you do before you become designer? What were some experiences that inspired you towards who you are today? IL: After dentistry, I moved from Paris to Québec and worked a few years on the fringe of the fashion industry in retail sales and management. This gave me the opportunity to learn about almost every aspect of the fashion industry. Even though the marketing aspect was well developed in the stores, I found, in my opinion, a lack of personal interest in the clients needs. This gave me the desire to offer my clients a personal service like the wealthy are used to having. That’s how Finezza - Au nom de l’Homme began. SMJ: Are there any geographical or family influences growing up that determined your career path? IL: My mother is an artist in many fields and since I was a child, she taught me the love and respect of art and artistic work. That is why I’m not

a big fan of the fast, impersonal and commercial way of dressing men today. From my father I learned perseverance. Being an autodidact, there is nothing he could not do with his own hands. He never gave up and was eager to learn the best way of doing things. That’s where I learned if I have a dream I could achieve it by working hard. Emilie my wife, supports me in every aspect of my business and has given me the strength to aim higher and further. SMJ: Your fabric is imported from the mills of Scotland and Italy. How did you choose this interesting combination of fabrics? IL: I was looking for the best quality in fabrics, so I can offer best quality in suits. The best patterns, best colors. Unique choice. The higher the quality of the fabric is, the higher the quality of the collection will be. And with quality of collection, comes comfort and confidence for our clients. SMJ: Fashion is mostly centered to women. What made you decide to focus on men’s fashion? IL: You just said it. So much of what fashion is as an industry is centered around women. Yet the men also deserve to be dressed with sophisticated and quality clothing with a lot of choices in colors, textures and fabrics.

SMJ: What are the challenges you encountered to reach at this point of your career? What advise you can give to aspiring designers? IL: First of all, to reinforce the structure that we already have. Second, to offer more quality and more artisan work. My advice will be: Never give up, be honest and stay true to yourself. And most important is to surround yourself with people who think like you. SMJ: Where else you want to bring your collections? IL: We have already been in Paris. So from now, well, sky is the limit. I’m still young, so I have a lot of years ahead of me to achieve every dream I may have. *** It was nice talking to Ivan. No doubt his collections will be known around Canada and the world in no time.

For more information about Ivan and his label, FINEZZA, log in at: Thank you to my friend Lisandro Palabrica, the owner of Modeles LCP, for the photos. His models walked the FINEZZA Collection at TOM. For more information on his agency, log on to: Photo credits to: Shayne Gray Photography with a link to http://www.shaynegray. com , courtesy of TOM

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The first annual Youth Fest Canada made a triumphant first entry in Scarborough in early September. We say first annual because creator and host Sheldon Neil is adamant that there will be a second one in 2016. His goal was to build an event where youth from 12 to 18 and young adults from 18 to 25 could be empowered from both a spiritual and secular point of view. The venue was about 95% full at the height of the evening, the on stage program was well received, and on the day after the event, all the feedback to that point had been positive. There were singers, dancers, interviews, testimonials, charismatic preaching, and some ‘over-the-top’ praise and worship. A very gratified Neil said he was most proud of the attendance, where young people were coming alone and with friends, with their families or dropped off by their parents. “With so much that happens in the Toronto area on any given weekend, for us to compete so well with all the other events that would attract this age group bodes well for the future.”


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Very well spoken by a young man who is not that far removed from the market he is aiming for with Youth Fest. Yet he admits, “I’m always trying to crack their code of how do we reach them?” Working in his favor is his mantra: “I have a passion for people to experience God for whom He really is.” Sheldon Neil is modest to a fault. Those attending Youth Fest came away with that renewed experience of God, but if they had be seeing Neil for the first time, they may have wondered how many personalities resided in that lean, tall frame. Is he the mature, measured, introvert of an interviewer? Is he the passionate preacher? Is he the excitable, extrovert of a singer?


He is actually all of these, and comes by them honestly. Born and raised in Ottawa, with one older sister, young Sheldon grew up with pastors on both sides of the family. He remembers. “People were saying things like you’re going to be a minister, it’s in your blood. I always wondered if it was God calling me or was it the people telling me?” He did become an ordained minister, but left Ottawa to do it. He is a “C.O.O.L. JC” preacher, belonging to the Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There was no pulpit to confine him at Youth Fest, so when he gave his address, he used the entire stage so he could interact with his youthful audience.

Neil left Ottawa primarily to attend Ryerson University in Toronto where he had a scholarship to get his degree in broadcast journalism from the post-secondary institution considered the best in this field. He has parlayed this into three upwardly prestigious positions: first working at the C.B.C. on the George Stroumboulopoulos show, then moving to Global TV and the show Context with Lorna Dueck, and finally, preparing for the unveiling in the next few months of a high intensity half hour variety show with Daystar Media Group called Sheldon Neil Tonight. He admits sometimes he finds it hard shifting gears from preaching to interviewing, but says the hardest thing he has found about broadcast journalism is being in front of the TV camera. At Youth Fest, with only i-phones and tablets pointed his way, he conducted the featured speakers’ interviews with aplomb. Possibly his greatest interview to date is the one that was aired just this September on Global’s Context. It saw Neil interview, as he described him, “best-selling author, film producer, megachurch pastor” Bishop T.D. Jakes, on location at The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas. Neil did not do the standard ‘let’s review all your great moments and all the great things you have done,’ but instead wanted the Bishop to share his ‘dream chaser mentality,’ and describe how he was able to take these beliefs to unlock his potential and unleash his ability to reach that place of accomplishment that we can all attain with God’s help. Of course what has made Jakes unique is that he has reached that pinnacle so often and so consistently. “Yet he is just a person, like all of us,” Neil shares, and told us after the interview ended and the cameras were turned off, Bishop Jakes spent time questioning Neil, and offering nuggets of advice of various topics. This experience was certainly one reason that led Neil to ‘return’ to The Potter’s House to get his keynote speaker for Youth Fest. He had met Youth Pastor Drew Castillo in Texas when he was there for the Bishop Jakes interview, and they “just clicked.” Neil

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continues, “relationships are the currency of the Kingdom,” and the two stayed connected, so it made it easier to ask him about coming up to Canada. Neil says the two men have much in common, both recently married and with young daughters. He says of Castillo: “He has a sweet spirit, a great humility about him, a very organic minister. His attitude is that if young people don’t experience real change at a youth event, then it has been a failure.” Sheldon Neil has felt like a failure once before, and he does not hesitate to add that it led to thoughts of committing suicide. It was in Ottawa during high school after watching a particular film, when the message grabbed hold of him and wouldn’t let go. It was also at a time when he openly questioned whether his journey into the ministry following previous generations of his family was really God speaking to him. What this dark period taught him was that there is an Enemy who knows who you are as much as God does. At the end, it is the gift of the Holy Spirit, when you only pay attention to him, that you realize “this God is real and you can experience Him in a tangible way.” That is exactly what Neil did when his gift of music led him to a recording contract and a recent two week tour of the United Kingdom. Sheldon confesses,

I said, OK God, if you want me to do this too, then I’m going to do all of it. I didn’t have a backup group when I was planning the tour, I didn’t know the right people I needed to plan Youth Fest. But the tour happened and all the people you saw helping out at Youth Fest were friends. You don’t know if it’s going to work out, you don’t know if God is working on it, you just have to have a leap of faith.”

And as the third personality that is Sheldon Neil was leaping and prancing wildly all over the stage, lost in high octane praise and worship song, one can easily come to the conclusion: God’s fingerprints were all over Youth Fest Canada, in the form of Sheldon Neil’s personal trinity of interviewing intellect, ministerial mentor-ship, and all out musical exuberant expression.


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Youth Pastor Andrew (Drew) Castillo smiles when he is referred to as a traveling youth evangelist. He is just married three years, and is an Associate Pastor at The Potter’s House (TPH), Bishop T.D. Jakes’ home church in Dallas, Texas, and home to one of the three or four largest congregations in America. He can be forgiven for having plenty of reasons to stay close to ‘home,’ but in reality, he is on the road approximately three times every month, upwards of forty times per year, covering 80 to 100 days. Just arriving in Ontario a few days fresh from “four days of fun” at TPH at their sixth annual Mega Fest, Drew is here as the keynote speaker at Sheldon Neil’s first annual Youth Fest Canada. So what is his philosophy of youth ministry?

“The first thing is that the youth get to lead youth ministry. At The Potter’s House, we have a core team of youth leaders called the catalyst group, who mentor the members, bring them up in discipleship, and give them leadership insights, advise them on officiating and preaching at their services. What is the most encouraging is when the kids connect with peers and get them to join. Our first goal is grow our membership, but then to turn members into owners. A member has rights, an owner has responsibilities.”


HOUSE Comes To


FEST By Andrew Terry Pasieka

The beauty of events like Youth Fest is that even though he has been brought in to impart the Word, he knows he will leave feeling blessed, like all of his trips. Because of this, he feels his youth should be exposed to guest youth leaders just as he is when he travels. “I travel the world, but I want to bring the world to my kids.” Some of the guests are youth pastors like himself, but being an avid sports fan, some of guests are current or former star athletes. And some are former youth members who have returned to share their triumphs.

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Raised in Waco, Texas, Castillo has a Catholic background, yet one of his grandmothers was a Jehovah Witness. He has been a youth pastor for sixteen years, but only the past eleven at TPH, and the last six as the program leader. For the first five years, he was a youth pastor at a little church south of Dallas, appointed because he was already driving the truck picking up members for meetings, and dropping them off at home!! Even now, he marvels that he was able to manage the group before he was married. He says his wife is a magnet to the young ladies of the group, and because of her Masters degree in Leadership Development, has made him a better communicator. She critiques his notes before a speech, and her presence allows him to spend extra time developing the evangelism portion of the program. Every week Castillo is at some high school because “the altar call starts at hello, my name is Drew Castillo.” We would be remiss not to ask Drew Castillo about great influence and the long shadow of Bishop TD Jakes, whose presence must be felt everywhere at The Potter’s House. Castillo is properly humble, but forthright. “First of all, Bishop is just a man. He is an amazing one, it’s true, but he’s still a man. He will call me into his office from time to time just to check up on me, but in a fatherly way. He loves to chat, loves to discuss life…being with Bishop has definitely stretched who I am…I’ve become a better man, I have a close relationship with God. I didn’t know I could grow this way.” He remarks that Bishop Jakes’ vision is huge, and Pastor Castillo has been and still is constantly surprised by the breadth and depth of his leader’s plans, whether they are internal or global. That is the final reason he goes to events like this Youth Fest. No matter how small the initial plan, he now has the insight to see how God allows it to grow beyond anyone’s dreams, and it excites him. From Sheldon Neil to TD Jakes, or whenever he participates and tells the young people great stories in the Bible like the one of Zacchaeus and Jesus, as he did at Youth Fest (“young people need to climb higher to see God and to get recognized themselves”), he knows he is fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission spoken to his disciples in St. Matthew 28: 19-20. It may be a Scriptural passage we should all re-familiarize ourselves with and adhere to.


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When does a multi-awarded singer accept a gig where she uses her vocal chords to give a career testimony rather than a caressing tune? When that person is Londa Larmond, and the gig is Youth Fest Canada. She sat down with SMJ Magazine before going on stage, and declared that she has been doing a lot of mentor-ship as opposed to musicianship in 2015.



AT YOUTH FEST By Andrew Terry Pasieka


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Bowing to increasing demand from her fans, Londa started something called Excelsior Vocal Coaching this past June. Actually, I gave myself the hint. “I was referring so many people to coaches I knew that I realized maybe I should be doing this myself!” She is already closing in on ten students. With the summer she started to get a second wave of demands to coach children and youths. Larmond will add under eighteen years old next year, but two students she will not include are her two sons, ages seven and four. “They both sing, but I don’t want to put them in that exposure.” She says she will do her version of ‘home schooling!’ Larmond comes to Youth Fest to talk about the young girl “who kept pushing out others in the spotlight, who did her own solo from time to time, and then retreated quickly back in the shadows.” She is the author of two CDs about a decade apart which depict two exclusive styles: 2001’s Love Letters is Toni Braxton-smooth, R & B urbane; 2011’s Great Things is up-tempo gospel, new world African. When given the above description, she smiles in recognition. “Yes, that’s me

singing on both of them!” She goes on to say that on the first CD, the producers forced that style on her, because she was young enough (only 25 at the time) that her looks could reach younger audiences while the sound could attract the more mature audience in the genre. The second CD is more Londa Larmond. In fact, she says she was well enough into her career ten years earlier that she could have recorded the second album at the time of the first.

Putting it another way, Love Letters spoke to the trained artist inside her; Great Things spoke to the personality and heritage of the artist. “Great Things is more of who I really am—a praise & worship leader.” Londa’s musical journey took her from singing in church at age seven to the Toronto Youth Outreach Mass Choir to the Gospel Soul Sisters to Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale. She had a life-changing and careerdeveloping moment in 2000

when she was chosen to be in the re-filming of The Blues Brothers. Talk about shaping one’s destiny during the recording of the soundtrack, with the likes of Eric Clapton and Aretha Franklin!! However, Larmond points out that it was the recording of a Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale record earlier that year that was the deal maker. After the sessions were concluded, the record label approached her about stepping out from Faith Chorale and going solo. As to where life’s journey will take her, she knows the next few years will be focused on raising her boys. She also knows she doesn’t want to wait another ten years before her third album. So then, if a third album, does then a third style follow? Londa laughs. “That’s too complicated. I think it might be a blend of the first and the second!” Londa Larmond excuses herself. The audience of Youth Fest Canada is waiting.

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By Andrew Terry Pasieka

There was a time when the formula for success in the music industry consisted of great material that showcased a singer’s voice, and a great producer who captured the best out of the singer in the recording studio. Today that formula is changed. Success today is as much about the marketability of the singer as it is about the singer. Promoting the songs in the right genres. Reaching the right audience in the social media as well as electronic media. Marketing more than the singer’s songs; the singer’s star power. Such is the case with Farah Mitha, better known as international pop sensation Farahri. Whether by coincidence or design, she operates her career much like the luxury prestigious automobile whose name is an homophone to hers. Farahri is a multitalented, high-performance artist who is shifting her career into overdrive. Want proof? The woman sings in English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Swahili, and Jamaican patois. Her songs embrace the pop, rhythm ‘n blues, dance, hip-hop, Hindi pop, and reggae/ dancehall genres. She has done some


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modeling and been voted a trendsetter in fashion. She has endorsement deals with a purse designer and a Swiss watch manufacturer. She is an official ambassador for a youth organization. Oh, and one other thing, She was writing this song for Mother’s Day when she was interviewed by hosts Christine Bentley, Kate Wheeler, and Sharon Caddy for their radio show on Sirius XM. They mentioned they were looking for a theme song for the show. Farahri mentioned she was writing a song for her mother. When they realized they had the same values regarding ‘strong, independent women,’ Farahri tweaked the lyrics, and What She Said the song became the theme song for What She Said the radio show. We caught up with ‘the chanteuse of the cultures’ just as she is laying down the final tracks to her first EP/LP. Farahri is stylishly dressed down in a long black form-fitting sweater tied at the waist over a pair of chic designer ripped jeans, and is tastefully bejeweled. We are led into one of the leisure rooms of her west Toronto condo situated in trendy Liberty Village. Looking at the surrounding vibrant ‘it’ community, all indications are that this twentysomething native of Ottawa has arrived. Does she feel that sense of belonging? “I don’t think there’s a point where you ’make it.’ You just keep on growing. My goal is to be the best that I can be, and if that happens to be recognized, then all the better.” OK then, what about sharing the stage with Howie D. of the Backstreet Boys, Shaggy, and Usher,to name a few. Isn’t that ‘making it?’ Not according to Farahri. What might be for many an industry barometer for success is instead for her a personal barometer that her career is merely in an upward trajectory. She is being true to herself. From a young age, Farahri had wanted to be a singer. She soaked in a steady diet of Top 40 music on the radio and Much Music videos on the TV. But her South Asianbackground parents only allowed her to pursue singing as a hobby and not a dream. That is, until she turned eighteen. Then the young Farah set out

to prove to her family that it could be a legitimate career. As she admits, “I snuck out a few times.” Farahri’s split her childhood between Ottawa and Kingston, and moved to Toronto at age 22. Within six months, she met her current manager Roy Robinson of SUGGA-I Music Group. Any initial fears that Farahri had of the risk she had taken were quickly dispelled. What Roy Robinson discovered was a young woman who had learned English by singing Mariah Carey lyrics. Mariah was Farahri’s No. 1 influence, and Farahri was effusive in her praise. “Her lyrics are the most profound out there. Her tone is so beautiful and her versatility is so amazing.” Other influences included Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, and Christine Aguilera. On the rock side, it was Guns ‘N Roses and Metallica. Farahri developed her multi- faceted style of singing from a base of pop and rhythm ‘n blues. Her style emanates from this foundation into the other genres mentioned earlier, by virtue of the way she sings. “It’s like a piano player who uses all 88 keys,” is the way she put it. As for all those languages Farahri sings in, she says she is fluent in English and French, and can make do in Spanish. Hindi is next on her bucket list of things to learn. The Swahili is actually a village dialect mixed with East Indian called Kutchi, or Kiswahili. It is the first language of the Swahili people of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of Southeast Africa. Although only around five to fifteen million people speak Swahili as their first language, estimates of the total number of Swahili speakers vary from 60 million and up. Swahili serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A significant fraction of Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic through contact with Arabic-speaking Muslim inhabitants of the Swahili coast. It has also incorporated Hindustani words into its vocabulary during the past five centuries.

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The Jamaician patois came from manager Roy Robinson. Laughing, Farahri recalled, “When I first signed on with Roy, he refused to speak English. I was forced to learn patois by trial! Fortunately, I had an ear for it.” In the five years plus the pair have worked together, they have primarily been focused on developing Farahri’s musical style, branding her name, and solidifying a fan base. So dedicated are they to these tasks that she has only released four singles prior to starting work on this EP/LP. However, two of those singles made an impact. Her 2009 debut single, Dance the Night Away, was a pop and r ‘n b song co-written by Roy Robinson, with a Hindi interlude (“let’s dance!”) inserted by the singer herself. The song also featured a reggae section by Scarborough, Canada rapper Kareem Blake, who goes by the name of ‘Choclair,’ an artist that Robinson has worked with for years. The video was so popular that a dancehall mix version was recorded also. Her biggest hit to date was 2011’s Shake Your Body which made the Top Ten in a number of American pop/dance stations. It did not receive quite the same response in Canada because that genre is not as frequently covered here. Nevertheless, it did reach No. 5 at Z101 in Niagara. With her distinctive name, Farahri and branding have been synonymous for almost as long as her singing career. She was named one of Anokhi Magazine’s “Most Sexy and Successful People” in 2010. She performed on the runway with models in 2012 for the TV show America’s Next Top Model when it was live in Toronto. She has secured two endorsements, the first an Italian purse designer out of Michigan, Pretty by Claudine; the second Swiss diamond watch company AMA, based in Dubai, Africa, and Japan. Farahri has a simple branding prerequisite. “The moral and ethics of the organization or event have to be in line with mine. The end product, whatever it is, must be really high in order for me to be associated with it. And finally, the people behind it must have the best of intentions and have a good heart.”


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One of Farahri’s most satisfying branding endeavors is an endearing sort of endorsement. Since 2011, she has been the Official Ambassador for Toronto Youth Day, started in 2005 by Tylaine Duggan. Farahri remembered that although she was active in her teen years, she still had a lot of time on her hands. This program allows kids to pursue artistic activities and to find their purpose in life. There is also a spiritual connection, which she likes. “These young people are given a creative outlet, and everything else in their life is heightened.” But it comes back to the music. Her current studio work will culminate in the release of her EP/LP between mid-August and the end of the summer. The title of the album will be No Fear Just Play, and What She Said is the lead single. Sung entirely in English, Farahri has co-written the tracks. She is experimenting with new sounds and putting more of herself in the songs because she is a co-writer. “I want the songs to connect with me and what I am going through. I want to be a story teller.” What’s ahead for Farahri? Well, a mini-tour in the GTA and southern Ontario this fall, then some legwork Stateside late this year to secure some dates in 2016, all to promote the album. Presently she is taking acting lessons, has an agent, and hopes one day to land a voice acting gig for an animated movie. And how about Farahri in a movie? “I am intrigued to explore getting into another character and being another person without actually living that life.” She has another side of her that she calls GPOP. It stands for Global Pursuit of Positivity, and is a platform whereby she mobilizes people to move to their purpose or at least make the best use of their leisure time. Does she ever step back and just be Farah Mitha for a while? Well, she does go back home to Ottawa on a regular basis, but usually it is for no more than 24 hours. That is her only down time; she has no time for a relationship now. Then it’s back to the studio, designer wardrobe, fancy hair styling, and the bling. High performance Farahri is back!

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ROXANNE ROBINSON: It’s About Second Chances If you’ve heard her sing, the word ‘powerhouse’ comes to mind. If you’ve heard her testify, the word ‘powerful’ aptly describes the mood. Looking at Roxanne Robinson though, there’s a sweetness and a vulnerability present about her that gives one an overall impression of anything but power.

By Andrew Terry Pasieka

Perhaps that is one reason why her debut EP is simply titled Roxanne Robinson. Roxanne and producer Otis Williams agreed that the name should be pushed out before anything else. Or perhaps it’s because she co-wrote the first two tracks and self-penned the third one. Only 28, Roxanne Robinson has come a long way to get here, and gives a lot of credit to her parents for the strength of their support. Born in Jamaica, she has two brothers and three sisters who all sing. Although she has linked up with siblings to sing at different periods in her life, this is the story of the rise of a solo artist. Her earliest audiences were the family clothes. Often her mother would catch her alone with her hands raised in praise, singing at the top of her voice…while she was supposed to have her hands busy doing the laundry! Roxanne immigrated to Canada in December 2009 at age 22. Her faith was shaken in the first six months in her new home when her fiancé passed away. She somehow was able to channel it, because within another six months, she became a lead singer for a praise & worship team of one of the largest Caribbean-centered churches in the west GTA, Praise Cathedral Worship Centre. The Publisher and Editor-in-Chief were able to witness this spectacular rise first hand from our pew, just a few rows behind hers, from the first impromptu solo starting in her pew and ending up the aisle at the altar. We were among several in the church that encouraged her to try


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her talent in a competition. The Gospel Connection’s “Sounds Real Good Competition” in the summer of 2011 was the first one she entered, and made the finals.

She continued to gain confidence over the next two years, entering more competitions, starting to book gigs, and even branched out by acting and singing in two musical theater productions. However, in 2014 her story took an unexpected turn. She went through a spiritual and emotional upheaval not experienced before.

the answer came in the form of a confirmation. Her reaction? “I said ’what God? You want me to tell everyone my mess? Is that what you want me to do? You want people to judge me?” What Roxanne realized later was that she was really being told to be transparent, to be more authentic. The second verse came easily. “Second Chance” was finished, and an EP release party was held in July. A final word from Roxanne starts with a plan to have a full album released by Easter 2016. And what has her life journey taught her so far? “You don’t have to settle for less than what God has for you. I lost myself in silver and bronze when God had gold just for me!”

Roxanne was trained and working as a hair stylist, but really wanted to branch out with her music. She also does not hide the fact that she was in a relationship with someone who was not a believer. She feels she lost her identity in that person, and finally decided she had to step away from the relationship. Roxanne took about a month off from formal singing just to regroup. Just as she was getting set to return, she had a massive asthma attack. It kept her in hospital for four days, but through it all, she felt she had reached a new level in her walk with God. While Roxanne was unconscious, she sensed she was having a conversation with God. In fact, a nurse said she was singing to Him. Soon after her recovery, Roxanne had an opportunity to go to a concert but did not have the finances. She asked her friends and associates as Gospel Connection if they could help, and they did that and more: Roxanne Robinson opened for Shirley Caesar in November 2014. By this time Roxanne was already working on her EP. She starting writing her signature song “Second Chance” but was having trouble coming up with a second verse. Fellow artist Tanika Chambers and writer of “Single, Ready, and Waiting” advised her to share her testimony in the song. She prayed about it and

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A Day in the Li f e...

In Conversation with Jacob Farjou By Sheralyn Roman

Pinning down someone like Jacob Farjou for a conversation about his day is a bit like trying to contain a whirling dervish. That’s because Jacob, a registered Kinesiologist (an expert in the science behind human movement) is always on the move himself! Jacob is the owner of Trainsmart Wellness, the first and only Kinesiology based wellness clinic in the western portion of the GTA. At just 24 years of age, that’s quite an accomplishment.

We recently sat down with Jacob in a rare break between clients at his brightly painted, spotlessly clean and well equipped training clinic to talk a bit about both business and life. From an early age, Jacob knew he wanted to help others and to be his own boss. In fact, Jacob was so motivated he successfully applied to the Summer Company grant program for youth and received support through the City of Brampton. Driven to succeed, he quickly absorbed the mentoring and advice. “It was like being in business for myself but not alone, I was surrounded by supportive experts.” His company, Dynasty Training, formed in 2013, took off while he attended York University. Jacob would train clients before and after school and hit the books between classes. Upon graduation, Jacob further combined two separate


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Diplomas from Humber College in Fitness, Exercise Science and Health, together with his degree in Kinesiology. If that wasn’t enough, serving an internship with the Cardiac Rehab Department at Brampton Civic Hospital allowed him to see first hand how to help those with cardiac disease live a healthier and more active lifestyle. Armed with this extensive background and knowledge, Jacob felt an obligation to help people understand how diet and exercise can be a regular part of life and how to go about initiating such lifestyle changes safely and effectively. As he explained, he was most interested in wanting people to profit from his knowledge than in making a profit himself working for a fitness chain. His Brampton Civic experience also served as a catalyst for his decision to open Trainsmart. As the name implies, Trainsmart is about helping people to exercise ‘smartly.’ Driven, knowledgeable, Jacob zeroed in on a service that is not well known but starting to grow. As a member of the Association governing Kinesiology he is also focused on helping the industry to expand and gain credibility for the services it provides. Kinesiology describes its scope of practice as the assessment of human movement and performance and its rehabilitation and management. Together with clients, a kinesiologist seeks to maintain, rehabilitate and enhance movement or performance.. Jacob explained that understanding the dynamics behind human movement gives him a keen and knowledgeable eye into how to best help his clients. His goal is to help individuals increase mobility and live

a better, healthier lifestyle – even if that just means getting up and down the stairs easier at home. Jacob has strong faith in himself, his work ethic and in those surrounding and supporting him. He describes the importance of knowing his Dad fully believed in him along with several the help of his professors and the staff (particularly Jennifer Vivien) at the Brampton Civic. Each helped play an integral role in his success. We were struck by two comments in particular during our afternoon meeting. First, talking about hard work and failure he said this: “Failure is just another learning opportunity.” This was quickly followed by: “It’s the little victories that keep both me and my clients motivated.” “A Day in the Life of Jacob Farjou” not surprisingly begins early! He arrives around 6:30am at the Clinic conveniently located across from the soon to be completed Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness. A quick check of his emails and testing the functionality of his equipment and his training day begins. He sees most new clients up to three times per week until they are comfortable. Then they can continue to progress on their own. Asked what the future has in store, Jacob has two priorities. One is to help establish and advocate for the credibility of his chosen profession through his involvement with the College of Kinesiology of Ontario. The other is to increase a focus on what he likes to call “Pre-Hab,” the practice of helping clients and businesses identify risk factors for disease and chronic illness, then teaching them how to manage, change and even reverse their effects.

He envisions providing something termed ‘Workplace Wellness Solutions,’ where he helps to create safe, healthy “best practices” environments. Because of his past involvement in cardiac care unit, Jacob hopes to create in Trainsmart a wellness centre with a focus on cardiac care, diabetes education, and fitness training. Above all, he wants a place where individuals are empowered “with the confidence and skills to adopt a healthier lifestyle” using the “art of exercise.” Jacob explains, “I want Trainsmart to be viewed as the place where you can do it all.” As we were leaving, Jacob Farjou graciously shared some of his wisdom with me when it came to my own health concerns. Softspoken and genuine, one leaves with the sense that he really does care about his clients and their recovery, rehabilitation and future success. Even if he is always on the move!

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By Andrew Terry Pasieka

She’s been called

a ‘dragon slayer;’ a modern day

‘Joan of Arc.’ With monikers like that, it’s obvious that sixteen-year old Rachel Parent isn’t your normal teenager. At a time when the priorities of many young women her age are boys, clothes, and diets, she has acquired an unusual title: that of political activist. The cause for which she has gained this notoriety is her stance against GMOs. GMO stands for ‘genetically modified organisms.’ The thing that immediately stood out for the entire interview is that Rachel Parent has not been ‘propped up’ by a group of adults to be the face of the cause. She is a way beyond a poster child. Throughout the questioning, the depth of her knowledge and extent of her research into her subject is utterly amazing. She is nobody’s fool; a legitimate national spokesperson. It started when we asked her to further explain GMOs. “It’s when they take the DNA from one species and insert it into another to form a new trait. The two main traits are pesticide producing and herbicide resisting. The main crops that this procedure is used on are corn, canola, soy, cotton, Hawaiian papaya, squash, and zucchini.”

Rachel goes on


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to say that about 70% of all processed food is genetically modified, yet there are no regulations in place to declare what was done on the food label, so the consumer is unaware of what unknown ingredients are being ingested in their own bodies. Rachel, who was four when she had her first brush with activism, joining her parents in a protest march, first became aware of GMOs when she was twelve. She had to choose a school science project, and that was one of the topics from among the alternatives. An immediate concern as she delved into her subject was that GMOs not only had a negative impact on the environment, but on people’s health as well. GMOs in foods affect people in such a way that they are more susceptible to allergies. Each succeeding generation seems to be more prone to the condition, and with Rachel counting herself as one of the sufferers, “it really hit me hard and I knew I had to do something about it.” Rachel says that GMOs are impacting the ecosystem on every level. First, they are contaminating the soil because of the excessive use of pesticides and herbicides on the crops. Second, they are contributing to the extermination of bees and butterflies. This in turn has dangerous implications because one-third of our daily food supply is pollinated by bees and butterflies. In addition, rain forests in the Amazon are being cut back to plant GMO-injected soy. This in turn is fed to livestock in the new phenomenon called the factory farm. Their growth is partially responsible for global warming and climate change.

This dialogue was carried out smoothly and without any hesitation. Rachel Parent seriously knows her stuff! Because of her age, Rachel is also ‘seriously’ visible in the public eye, which has resulted in some high profile exposure. Like, for instance, a debate with Kevin O’Leary from Dragon’s Den. “An interesting experience,” she says. She challenged O’Leary to the debate after taking part in the March Against Monsanto, a bio-tech company which is one of the largest manufacturers of GMOs. On the program Lang & O’Leary Exchange,

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Mr. O’Leary stated “the people who stand against GMOs should stop eating” and later repeated that “we should get rid of them.” That comment did not sit well with Rachel, but even though “I couldn’t let that go,” she didn’t think that O’Leary would accept the challenge. Could the audience determine who won? Rachel didn’t measure the result the conventional way. Victory was achieved by the fact that the debate reached over five million people, and at its peak, she had two thousand emails in her inbox! Rachel is in high school, and she is grateful for the fact that she does have friends who are very supportive of her venture. She can’t spend all her time in the spotlight, because she has mundane things to think about like graduation and an increasing work load in the higher grades. How does she cope. “I just try and take it one day at a time.” However, Rachel has received more than peer support. She has interacted with brothers and sisters in arms. In 2013 she founded her own non-profit organization called Kids Right To Know, to empower youth around the world to take action on issues that they are passionate about. Funding is wholly dependent on the generosity of Canadians. Speaking of Canadians, her ultimate goal is to see mandatory labeling of GMOs right across Canada. Her rationale is matter-of-fact.

“I think it’s important for every single Canadian to simply have the right to know what’s in their food. We live in a country where we are fortunate enough to be able to vote for our elected officials, yet we can’t choose what we are putting in our mouths.” To that end, she has taken her cause in the marathon that is the current federal election campaign. For starters, she is bringing awareness to the fact that just before Parliament was dissolved, NDP MP and health critic Murray Rankin brought forth private member’s Bill 480, calling for


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mandatory GMO labeling. And she wants GMOs recognized as a campaign issue by every major party. As she points out, when she sits down to a meal, “I’m not thinking what I’m eating, I’m wondering where it came from.”


She has an organization mobilizing around her to galvanize the issue, even to the extent of taking it to the leaders. She has seen and gotten the support of Elizabeth May and the Green Party, and Tom Mulcaire and the NDP. Mulcaire even held up one of her organization’s t-shirts for a photo-op that said: “I’m not a science experiment!” The ruling Progressive Conservatives are against the labeling, Health Minister Rona Ambrose even saying in a meeting with Rachel that it wasn’t the mandate of the government to label GMOs. The Liberals appear to be on the fence. Rachel met leader Justin Trudeau in a candidate’s meeting, and asked the question point-blank. Trudeau’s take on the issue was that he could only support an individual’s right to know at this time, and nothing else. OK, this is too much. Does she ever just pinch herself to make sure this is all happening? Did she ever go back to that teacher that gave her the science assignment to ensure it’s all real? “If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be doing what I am doing I would have laughed. And no, I never went back to that teacher, though I think about her often.” Rachel Parent hasn’t had the time to go back because she has been too busy and done too much traveling. She has been involved in an environmental film festival Planet in Focus, spoken at the Toronto and Global National News GMO Series (TEDx), volunteered to help build a school in Kenya, and is part of the United Nations Youth Leaders Education Program. She has traveled across Canada, the United States,as well as Argentina, Brazil, India, and Australia. Too young to be viewed as a mentor by most, her work ethic has nonetheless been a gold standard for youth empowerment around the world. How would she advise peers who want to follow in her footsteps. Her answer is almost slogan-like: “Find your passion and take action.”

Rachel only admits to being an animal lover among non-activism interests. She has more than one pet at home, but she keeps closer to home any other interests, only stating that they are issues she wants to tackle “one cause at a time” once GMO labeling has been made mandatory. Among her career ambitions, Rachel rhymes off broadcast journalist and environmental lawyer, but talks of partisan politics and smiles when the phrase ‘future prime minister’ is suggested. She is no longer overwhelmed by the public recognition, the stiff opposition she has faced, and the security measures she and her family have had to employ to remain safe. She knows the negative comments will only grow, and the enemies will be more volatile as her causes pile up.

“If you’re doing what’s right, it doesn’t matter what other people think. I have a favorite quote from Rupert Stevens, ‘Always leave the Earth better than you found it.’” What is her final word on GMOs, on the causes yet to be championed? What is Rachel Parent’s end game? “A more educated Canada, a better future for youth in the future, because they deserve it, and a continuous provision for future generations to come. To wake up, to rise up, to stand up.” A future slogan of a future prime minister? Time will only tell.

Remember, you read it here first. Follow Rachel Parent at: (find the link that will lead you to the ‘Donate’ button) Follow her cause during the federal election campaign at #votetolabelGMOs

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Monsanto: The Other Side of the GMOs Edited By Andrew Terry Pasieka

Because we at SMJ Magazine want to stay true to our mandate of printing only good news, yet needing to pay heed to our disclaimers,

Monsanto Canada comment on March against Monsanto (5/22/2015)

we must provide our readers with balanced and responsible reporting. Therefore, we are presenting the story and the claims of Monsanto, the bio-tech company which Rachel Parent and 4000 others have been marching against. Rather than conduct long distance interviews, we were able to find enough information from their website and from Wikipedia to accomplish our objective. (The Editor-in-Chief )

Monsanto Company is a publicly traded American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, Greater St. Louis, Missouri. It is a leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed and of theherbicide glyphosate, which it markets under the Roundup brand. Founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, Monsanto initially produced food additives like saccharin and vanillin, expanded intoindustrial chemicals like sulfuric acid and PCBs in the 1920s, and by the 1940s was a major producer of plastics, including polystyrene and synthetic fibers. Monsanto was among the first to genetically modify a plant cell, as one of four groups announcing the introduction of genes into plants in 1983, and was among the first to conduct field trials of genetically modified crops, which it did in 1987. It remained one of the top 10 U.S. chemical companies until it divested most of its chemical businesses between 1997 and 2002, through a process of mergers and spin-offs that focused the company on biotechnology. Monsanto was one of the first companies to apply the biotechnology industry business model to agriculture. Monsanto’s growing movement to create a global, uniform system of plant breeders’ rights in the 1980s, came into direct conflict with customary practices of farmers to save, reuse, share and develop plant varieties. Its seed patenting model has also been criticized as biopiracy and a threat to biodiversity. Monsanto’s role in agricultural changes, biotechnology products, lobbying of government agencies, and history as a chemical company have made the company controversial.


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The 22,000 people of Monsanto, including our 300 employees across Canada, are committed to having an open dialogue about food and agriculture – we’re proud of the work we do, and we’re eager for people to know more about us. We’re also proud of our collaboration with farmers and partnering organizations that help make a more balanced meal accessible for everyone. Our goal is to help farmers do this in a more sustainable way using fewer resources and having a smaller impact on the environment. We know people have different points of view on these topics, and it’s important that they’re able to express and share them.

Monsanto Commitments Overview At the heart of Monsanto is a very clear and principled code of conduct – one we expect all employees, contractors and management to live by every day. We operate under a genuine value system—our pledge—that demonstrates integrity, respect, ethical behavior, perspective and honesty as a foundation for everything we do. A key part of fulfilling the promise of our value system is by engaging our communities in a significant and positive manner. Not only do we work hard to support the family farmer in a variety of ways, but we also: provide extensive educational programs – particularly in science and agriculture – for students around the world fund numerous research grants for graduate students work in partnership with government bodies, non-profit agencies and advocacy groups to make agriculture more sustainable Our websites or Our blog, our Facebook page and/or our Twitter Feed @MonsantoCo and @ MonsantoCda



I feel very fortunate that I have found a career that I absolutely love and am passionate about. I often get asked “Did you always know that you wanted to be a Chiropractor?” I actually did not know what a Chiropractor was until I was in University. As a child growing up I had thoughts about being a lawyer, teacher or medical doctor. As I got older I became less interested in these ‘glamour’ professions and found myself looking for something that was more “me”. I knew that I loved helping others and loved using my hands (it sounds a bit funny!). Not being the healthiest child growing up I also had a strong interest in getting and staying healthy. It was like a breath of fresh air when I stumbled upon Chiropractic one day while looking for volunteer opportunities in health care settings. Chiropractic had all the aspects of what my ideal career could offer: being in health care, being able to diagnose, and being able to do everything manually without the use of medications. It’s such an awesome feeling knowing that my hands actually made someone feel better, function better, LIVE better. During my eight years of practice, my mission as a health care provider has always been to provide patients with the highest level of care in order to achieve and maintain


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healthy active lifestyles. I believe that the only way to do this is though continued education and improving upon my skills. I started to build my treatment tool box during my Chiropractic studies. I obtained my Personal Training Certification and later pursued my Registered Acupuncturist designation. My vision and approach to care has always been more holistic, functional and patient centered; looking at the root cause of dysfunction and providing comprehensive treatment plans. They include Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Rehabilitative Care, Soft Tissue Therapy, Diet and Lifestyle Counselling. As I continue to grow in my career, providing education has become one of the most important tools in my toolbox, whether it be one-on-one with a patient in my office, at a corporate health and wellness event or speaking engagement. I can’t tell you how many times a patient has told me that they had therapy in the past but they didn’t know what was actually wrong with them or what was causing their pain or what things they could do to avoid making it worse or even what they could do to make it better. So here I am, doing what I love to do; promoting Health and Wellness through education. As a chiropractor there are many areas that I can assist and educate. As a more holistic type of practitioner I look forward to providing you with a wide range of topics and expanding your knowledge about a variety of health conditions, prevention, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. Let’s begin with one of the most common pieces of education I give to my patients, on posture. It is something that most people struggle with and is the cause of many conditions I see in my office. Poor posture is a common theme across all age groups. As more and more technologies are introduced, people are spending more time hunched over mobile devices – smart phones, tablets etc. This not only promotes poor posture but many common injuries can arise from this type of flexed sustained posture. If not corrected, the long term effects can negatively affect the body, altering your body structure. If you are like the majority of users you may have already started feeling the negative effects. Symptoms arising from poor posture include fatigue, achy muscles, pain in the neck and lower back and chronic headaches. Depending on what changes have occurred, you may even be experiencing


more severe symptoms such as numbness or tingling in the wrists, hands, fingers. What can you do to prevent occurrence or progression of symptoms? Practice good posture! Maintaining proper spinal alignment is important whether you are sitting, standing or walking. Good posture begins with keeping your shoulders back and down and head in a lengthened position. When sitting, maintaining the curve in your low back – in a slightly arched position will help to decrease strain and prevent low back pain associated with poor sitting posture. Like other healthy habits such as eating well and exercising, having great posture can have a positive impact on your life: less pain, decreased wear and tear on your joints, improved energy for daily tasks, improved spinal flexibility and function, improved nerve flow and improved lung function. Good posture can even make you LOOK and FEEL more CONFIDENT.

Here are a few simple tips to help improve your posture: 1. Take a few moments everyday day to stretch. Frequent stretching helps to reduce strain on muscles. Hold stretches for 60-90 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. If you are physically active, stretch muscles after, as they are already warmed up and will respond better. 2. Engage in exercise to strengthen muscles. Weak muscles fatigue quickly and become painful. Strengthen leg muscles, core, upper back and neck. 3. Practice good posture at all times when sitting, standing and walking: have your neck in a lengthened position, chin slightly tucked, and keep your shoulders back and down. When sitting keep your feet flat on the floor and maintain your natural low back curve. 4. Remember to adjust your posture every half hour to hour of sitting or get up and walk around to give your body a break from prolonged postures.

If pain persists for more than one week or becomes progressively worse this is an indication that there may be something more significant underlying and professional care may be required. Getting a postural assessment from a qualified professional such as a Chiropractor can help to effectively diagnose and treat problem areas and prevent pain from worsening. Good posture can help keep you healthy, pain free and functional in well into your older years. Dr.Lisa Ramsackal HBSc, DC,RAc, Chiropractor & Acupuncturist (905-997-4468)

Fall 2015




A Positive Look At

Mental illness: 5 Part Series by Shelley Jarrett

Part Three: Schizophrenia Everyone knows someone who struggles with mental health. One of the biggest myths around mental illness is that it isn’t treatable. With the right support, victims can work or volunteer, be active in their own care, and contribute to their communities. In this issue SMJ Magazine will explore Schizophrenia. WHAT IS SCHIZOPHRENIA? Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects the way you understand and interact with the world around you. At the beginning of an episode, people may feel that things around them seem different or strange. They may start to experience problems concentrating, thinking or communicating clearly, or taking part in their usual activities. At the height of the episode, people may experience breaks from reality called psychosis. These could be hallucinations (sensations, like voices, that aren’t real) and delusions (strong beliefs that aren’t true, like the belief that they have superpowers). Some people feel ‘flat’ or numb. They may also experience changes in mood, motivation, and the ability to complete tasks. After


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an episode, signs can continue for some time. People may feel restless, withdraw from others, or have a hard time concentrating. The exact course and impact of schizophrenia is unique for each person. Some people only experience one episode in their lifetime while others experience many episodes. Others experience periods of wellness between episodes while others may experience episodes that last a long time. Some people experience a psychotic episode without warning while others experience many early warning signs. No matter how someone experiences schizophrenia, researchers agree that early treatment can help reduce the impact of episodes in the future. WHO DOES IT AFFECT? Schizophrenia can affect anyone. It usually starts to affect people in the teen years, though females often start to experience the illness a little later than males. No one knows exactly what causes schizophrenia or why it can affect people so differently. Genes, the way a person’s brain develops, and life events may all play a part.


WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT? While there is no cure for schizophrenia; people can and do recover. Recovery may mean learning to reduce the impact of problems, work around challenges, or simply maintain a positive attitude towards wellness. Some people need to spend time in hospital if they experience a severe episode of psychosis. Care providers should be put in place, so once patients are discharged they help map out care and support recovery.

sleep habits, spending time on activities you enjoy, spirituality, and connecting with loved ones can make a big difference. Schizophrenia can leave people feeling very isolated and alone. At times, many people who experience schizophrenia feel uncomfortable around others. But many also worry about what others will think of them. The right relationships can be supportive and healing. Your support team can help you connect with support groups.

MEDICATION Medication called anti-psychotics may help reduce the severity of symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, and may eliminate these symptoms altogether for many people. Continue medication after recovery should be done with caution,, though the benefit would be a reduction in the risk of relapse (when symptoms come back). All medications can cause side effects—some of which can be uncomfortable or difficult. It’s best to have ongoing, open conversations about medication with a doctor so that everyone understands how a medication is affecting you, what can be done, and what other options you may have. COUNSELING AND SUPPORTS Counseling can help with many problems like low mood, anxiety, and relationships. There are also therapies to help reduce the impact of delusions and hallucinations. Schizophrenia can affect people’s goals around education, work, and independent living. Professionals like occupational therapists and social workers can help with daily living, social skills, employment or volunteer training, and community activities. They can also connect with community supports like home care, housing, and income assistance. A big part of managing schizophrenia is relapse prevention. You can learn what might trigger an episode and learn to recognize early warning signs of an episode. The goal is to learn when to seek extra support, which may help reduce the impact or length of the episode. Self-care is important for everyone. Small steps like eating well, getting regular exercise, building healthy

HOW CAN I HELP A LOVED ONE? Supporting a loved one can be hard. It can be difficult to understand what they are experiencing, and their behavior may be confusing at times. The good news is that schizophrenia is treatable—and love and support can go a long way. Here are some tips for helping a loved one: • If a loved one has trouble following conversations, choose a quiet space and speaking calmly and clearly. • It’s best to avoid arguing with delusions or hallucinations. A more helpful strategy is to focus on the feelings that delusions or hallucinations bring up. • Ask your loved one how you can help. This may be a simple as helping with day-to-day tasks. • Talk about dealing with emergencies when your loved one is feeling well and decide how you can contribute. Write it down in a crisis plan.

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• Learn more about support services for care providers through your loved one’s care team or territorial health services, or community organizations. • Depending on the barriers that your loved one experiences, planning for the future with tools like a Registered Disability Savings Plan can bring peace of mind. • Set your own boundaries, and seek support for yourself when you need it. Think about joining a support group for loved ones and seeking counseling for the entire family. 8% of adults will wind up being diagnosed with clinical depression in their lifetime. Juxtaposed against this, 20% of Canadians will personally experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. In addition, 1% of the Canadian population is diagnosed with bipolar, or manic depression.

Contact a community organization like the Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about support and resources in your area. Also your local faith community can be helpful. Canadian Mental Health Association was founded in 1918, The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a national charity that helps maintain and improve mental health for all Canadians. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA helps people access the community resources they need to build resilience and support.

For additional resources visit website: or “Your mental illness is not your identity. Your chemistry is not your character” Brian Warren Disclaimer: We realize that we have only touched on the basic issues of this disease. But SMJ Magazine wants to allow people to see the warning signs and to stay on the sunny side of life. ( The Publisher)


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Years ago, had someone told me that I was to become a belly dancer, I would have questioned their foresight. Seeing where I am today, I no longer need to speculate if the dream had merit, and where it was going to lead me was inevitable.

Yes, it all started with a dream. To set the stage I must take you back to 1998. One night I dreamed a woman laughing hysterically as she danced and played the finger cymbals. It was such a vivid image that it woke me up. I asked myself, was that woman really me? Am I destined to belly dance?

me first was how dancers could tell stories and express emotions through their bodies. I continue to dance because it’s through movement where I can truly express myself without any boundaries or limitations. In the realm of the dancer I can be imaginative and creative.

Other than televised clips and striking images on social media, I knew nothing of the art form. I challenged myself to take a class. I was hooked, captivated by my first class, and so began my journey. Belly dancing has allowed me to learn a lot about myself. The inner strength I have acquired from dancing most visually translates into the physical realm. My body has become more toned, and my everyday movements more fluid.

So why would one dance? Most people think about dance as a performing art that is pleasing to the eye; a form of entertainment. My journey, from dream to dancer, was initially about the art. Communicating emotions through movement encourages creativity, imagination, and self- expression. Dance can provide a place for one to express feelings of joy, excitement, happiness, anger, or pain. Audiences are impressed and appreciate the technique and musicality of dancers when they perform on stage, at banquet halls or some other venue. But dance goes beyond its aesthetics. Dance can be a powerful therapy tool that is great for the mind, body and soul. Dance has the ability to heal and provide a supportive and encouraging environment for people who suffer from emotional stress, and psychological disorders (eg. depression). It has proven to offer many physical and emotional benefits like decreasing anxiety, and improving psychological well-being. Dancing also improves balance, coordination, mobility, and spatial awareness. Dance increases muscular strength, flexibility, and a person’s fitness levels. It can also help

It was because of the complexity of movement that this dance form has served as my artistic expression. The movements can be fluid and graceful, or they can be powerful and intense. It’s a dance form that is very expressive of a woman’s femininity and sensuality. Beautiful in all its styles, it is also a dance form distinguished by its technique. Dance and physical movement have been a part of my life since I was 13 years old and started out doing jazz. Even when there were moments in my life where I stopped dancing, it found a way to creep its way back in. I have always loved dancing. I think what attracted


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with weight management; in essence, it helps the body stay young. People who dance have greater confidence and self – esteem. There are so many wonderful reasons to dance. Everything from artistic expression, to releasing negative emotions, to expressing positive feelings, to physical fitness, and an over all sense of well-being. People can use dance as a means to connect within themselves, and to share and connect with others. It has been my life blood; it is in my soul. Fall 2015



Inspirational Corner




By Josephine Casey (Author of Life’s Poetry)

It is beautiful to see the colors of Fall It is beautiful to see that old tree standing tall The leaves are beginning to turn And with it comes a new season to learn To embrace what now lies ahead To embrace what you have always desired and said As I look outside the window mesmerized by natures full colors I see various shades of red, yellow, purple, black, orange, and brown The seasonal beauty in these colors are all around High above and on the ground This autumn brings a spectacular glorious time of color Transforming the lush green foliage into vibrant reds, yellow and oranges An orange so captivating it gives warmth to the heart A yellow so calming on the leaves that are forming A shade of brown taking away any frowns An enriching red that stands bold waiting to unfold The smells of autumn sets free a special smell A smell that will tell Fall is here and it will be well A smell of fresh air that leaves no despair The temperature has dropped and the summer has stopped The humidity has decreased and now a wind has unleashed Leaving the leaves to become chill and damp It is an earthly smell that Autumn tells With Autumn Falls a new season will call And as the leaves turn I stand firm Embracing this new season ready and open to learn It is the Autumn Falls Be Inspired! Feel Inspired! Stay Inspired! This is your time...Just Shine!)


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TALKING ABOUT A WALK: A REVIEW OF Uh, oh. Another book about a woman talking about herself, women’s issues, achievements, and empowering women. But Makini Smith is a thirty-something woman who is different from most. In the Foreword, Linda Proctor, wife of Bob Proctor of You Were Born Rich fame, and author of her own Earn It and Enjoy It, introduces us to an author who is not afraid to expose her warts and admit she still has flaws. “Makini Smith bares her soul. Her honesty about life will truly impress you. This is not just another self-help book; the author is a real person. She is very much like people you know in your own family and circle of friends…you will relate to her and the challenges she faced… Makini is never a victim. You never feel sorry for her.” In her own introduction, Makini herself amplifies on these thoughts. “Shame loves secrecy. It hates it when we share our stories and reach out…Too often in life…we share photos, we share inspiring quotes, but we don’t share our full


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stories…I have learned that sharing experiences can heal us and help others at the same time.” A Walk in my Stilettos is a wellwritten book which doles out equal portions of life incidents and life insights. One moment a narrative of events; the next moment, nuggets of advice. The incidents started early. Pregnant at seventeen. Defiantly more selfanalysis than self-pity. “Being a teenage mother does not mean the end of a great future.” Soon after came twenty-one: going back to school with two pre-school daughters, after the end of an eight-anda-half year relationship,


By Andrew Terry Pasieka

MAKINI SMITH’S A WALK IN MY STILETTOS which could have broken most people. Still Makini kept the faith. “People that sit back and expect things to be handed to them or expect God to just make things happen without them doing any physical work are in for a rude awakening.” By the time she turned thirty, another eight-and-a-half year relationship went up in smoke and in a messy divorce. Makini had to start over yet again, and if that wasn’t enough, she was betrayed by a best friend. That did not deter her or her strategy. “Having the ability to say nothing or do nothing takes great strength and courage....”A Walk in my Stilettos shows Makini Smith to be very human. The end of two major relationships did not deter her; she rose up to heal herself and empower others. Yet the loss of her sister and grandmother caused her to retreat into herself, with everything, including her business, coming to a virtual standstill. How Makini recovered from the first dual setback started with changing her career from aesthetician to real estate. How she recovered from the second dual setback started with the transformation of her mind. And a mind guru, which is possibly the weakest part of the book.

It starts out innocently enough. “…mindset plays a tremendous role in earning money and success in business. The conditioning of our mind (paradigm) affects our success and our ability to earn money.” The paradigm she was referring to was the Bob Proctor way to success. She continues: “I had been told that it starts in the mind...When I made the effort to change my life and mindset...I shifted into a new paradigm...I was rich in relationships and love, but my finances were not overflowing. I was conditioned to think about money by what I had been taught growing up, what I had learned from my parents. School certainly didn’t teach me anything about money other than how to count it.” It is here that the book shifts its focus from the highs and lows of a determined young woman to that of a follower of a charismatic leader, though ironically, not in a religious way. It is strange that the church, which is so important in Makini’s life, apparently taught her nothing about money. Other than her older sister, strong leadership from the church was never mentioned in her book, nor were strong church leaders. Instead, the book veers into the

realm of a multi-level marketing manual, and does not sound like an autobiography at all. Despite this distraction, it is brief. The strength of the book is when Makini is talking about Makini. The chapter on being a single mother is one of the strongest in the book. She presents a balanced viewpoint of her role, one of overcoming and overwhelming. She is savvy enough to realize she can’t be everything nor can she be there everytime. “Being a single mother has made me a more rounded individual. It’s reminded me that it isn’t ever always about me...A mother cannot be everything a child needs, and only ignorance will allow a woman to feel that way... Children with single mothers should be exposed to positive male role models. They need to see and be told about great men so that it doesn’t destroy their perception of men.”

In the end, Makini Smith not only ‘bares her soul,’ but does so with an ‘honesty about life’ that is more impressive than not.

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His research had resulted in him documenting seventy-seven winning principles that transform people from ordinary to extra-ordinary. The youths in his class became in a sense guinea pigs; the dramatic arts course was the setting from where they were destined to have their lives transformed. Healy got excited as he saw the trends start showing, but what he did not expect was the revelations that their daily journals produced. His immediate reaction? “Wow! I need to write a book about this!”

One Man’s

SPECIAL By Andrew Terry Pasieka


What’s So Special About You? is a book that has been forty years in the making. Author Christopher Healy has spent the past four decades in the entertainment industry as an actor, mostly in theater, and to a lesser extent in front of TV cameras and film crews. He has been a director and stage manager, and over the past twenty years, he has taught acting classes for children and youths. What he noticed from his years of teaching was that many of the skills he imparted for the stage could also be applied to life in general. Delving further, he found that many of those skills were part of what made people so successful. Healy started to research the world’s most successful people in earnest to apply more of their qualities in his classes. About five years ago, he realized that the information he had gathered in his research might be the basis for something more. He decided to test his theories in a real life setting, so he began a special nine-week intensive course with twelve youths where a model for analysing and measuring success could be developed.


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Healy soon found he had a tiger by the tail, because this story had not one but two narratives. In addition to informing the reader about the seventyseven winning principles, and how one had to examine oneself to determine the extent to which one successfully was utilizing any as principle, the reader could follow the reality of how these twelve students were succeeding or failing in each one. Even though Healy was adamant that the experience of writing the book was very therapeutic, he also exclaimed it “has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” To start with, it has taken five years. During the early years, the seven survivors of the class (five dropped out during the nine weeks) were saying things like “so where’s the book?” and “hello…what’s going on?” When he finally finished, Healy sent everyone an email. No one responded. A second notice saying, “Hey, this is real. The book is finished,” finally got a stirring. The underlying premise in writing the book was that growing unpredictability and lack of security in the business world is something that artists have always dealt with. Healy wanted to enlighten and teach about life in the telling of the story. He considers the seventy-seven winning principles to be “opportunities,” that can change the reader’s life exponentially if they are dedicated to even applying a few of them to their lives. He continues on by saying that the world’s most successful people

are not necessarily the wealthiest. They know how to live comfortably if not lavishly. They understand the principle of giving, because they know divesting themselves of their abundance will bring back new abundance. The fact that they apply the winning principles on a daily basis—which really is selfdiscipline--became one of the best learning tools in the class. We asked Healy what comes after What’s So Special About You?, and he was enthusiastic about what came out of it. In the researching and the writing of the manuscript, ideas for six other books were born. The first was actually part of the manuscript. The first draft came in at around 500 pages, far too long for a self-help book. Upon further examination, Healy was able to isolate six winning principles without which the other seventy-one could be fully realized. From these six ‘foundation principles’ three categories of human achievement can be attached that can propel the most successful people into iconic status. The other ideas come from dreams, crests, ‘symbolism,’ and priming one’s mind with something beyond language. If it sounds intriguing you are right. If it sounds like another story you are right again. Only time (there’s that word!) will tell how many books are really in Christopher Healy’s mind.

Sheri L. Lake (647) 272-3624





There is a saying ‘life imitates art.’ Christopher Healy, principal author of What’s So Special About You? demonstrates that this is true by applying arts based experiential learning into real life called “Awareness Creates Change.”



YOU? By Andrew Terry Pasieka

Healy brilliantly weaves two narratives into one book. What’s So Special About You? asks the reader to discover and analyze their ‘true self,’ by applying 77 winning principles as a life-changing tool to compile a composite score of their ‘best self,’ while following a compelling nine-week odyssey of twelve young people who made the same discovery in an interactive class setting. The book was conceived within the parameters of the nine-week course for twelve students, which acted as a classroom ‘flight test simulator.’ Outwardly, these students were being trained as actors, but an internal by-product of the instruction “was an opportunity to replace negative behavioral habits that held them back from their dreams with the successful character qualities used by the world’s most successful people.” They were going to obtain these qualities, or winning principles, through this experiment, and were skillfully led by Healy, who conducted classes as a literary scientist!


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Healy observed that those qualities which typify successful people come from deep inside and cause them to rise above the masses. He continues by saying that it doesn’t matter if one is striving for success in acting, in business, or in life, it “all comes down to who you are, what you want, the choices you make, and why you make them. Your single most important factor in achieving success is the kind of person you have to become.” And who is that person? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal in 2003, it could be artists. “The arts are emerging as a role model for business and government organizations because the arts excel in areas where managers struggle the most: chaos, diversity, ambiguity, envisioning the future, and the ability to dare to break molds.” The students ultimately learned the art of acting but also discovered their inner self, how to correct their weaknesses, amplify their strengths, seek opportunities, trust their intuition, and make the right decisions quickly and consistently.

While the students were taking stock of their progress week-by-week, the reader was invited to do a self-analysis in each chapter, by scoring themselves on the winning principles that were pertinent to the chapter.

Was the class experiment a success? Five of the twelve students quit during the process, and each departure is discussed at some length. Rather than discourage the seven survivors, it spurred them on. One of the graduates, Arielle Lewis, said: “Mr. Healy has taught us that we need to be more than actors: we need to be entrepreneurs.... It’s not about thinking outside the box; it’s about living there...” Christopher Healy does not so much have a writing style as he has a writing passion. He is an insightful intellect, a caustic commentator, a teacher with a flair for frankness. He covers a lot of ground, and cares about every inch of it. Proof comes from his almost fastidious propensity to utilize photos, illustrations, or graphics adjacent to relevant text material for an illustrative point of emphasis. A little aspect, yes. Unimportant, no. By the time I finished the book, I felt that Christopher Healy had handed me the keys that unlock the 77 doors leading to success. I decided to play along and measure myself against all 77 winning principles and find out my final score. While I was not a No. 1 ideal (meaning I was not empowering), I was not a bottomingout No. 5 ideal either (neither was I self-defeating). We will leave it to the reader to figure out where our final score was. Hint: it was somewhere between the No. 2 ideal (inspiring), the No. 3 ideal (motivating), and the No. 4 ideal (encouraging). Only my Publisher knows for sure!

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By Cassandra London

It was only seven years ago when Monique Allison decided to close the chapter of her broken marriage and begin her road to self-discovery as an internationally acclaimed Relationship Clarity Coach. For the past five years, Allison has been coaching women of all ages across the globe on how to release, heal, and love again through a business she started called “Simply Bliss.”

Her vision for Simply Bliss was to use her own personal journey to connect and create a space for women to feel empowered, get clear on what they want, and move past broken relationships. Allison says it all begins with yourself. “The more you know, love and accept about yourself, the better prepared you will be to get involved in a healthy relationship.”. She runs her clarity sessions in three phases. The first session is about discovering and building a strong sense of who you are, the second session is about releasing fear and baggage. And the third is about


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helping these women create a safe space where they can be accountable for themselves and clear on what they need and desire. Seven years before Simply Bliss, Allison was in another kind of bliss. She was engaged and looking forward to marrying the man of her dreams. “I was trying to be the best version of myself in the relationship, but it was very hard to do that later on in the marriage.” Over the years, Allison grew unhappy and unsatisfied with how she was being treated. She felt it was finally time to let go when she faced infidelity in her marriage. “When I decided to release my marriage, I was an emotional wreck, embarrassed at how things ended. I felt guilty for separating my family, and I didn’t know how I was going to move on. Instinctively I knew it was for the best, but I just didn’t know how I was going to get through it all.” It was especially difficult for Allison to make this decision about her relationship because she also had a son who struggled with an extensive amount of health issues. But what could have been her downfall instead became a channeling force that allowed her to dig deep within herself and reach out to help other women facing broken relationships. She sums it up this way. “I wholeheartedly believe, having a strong sense of who you are, knowing what you stand for, and being grounded in self-acceptance before you set out to be in a relationship will better prepare you to have a happy and healthy experience once you are in one.” Currently, she is in a new happy relationship and continues to use her story to empower women to find their own ‘Simple Bliss.’ Contact: Monique Allison- “Relationship Clarity Coach”- http://www. Let’s Stay Connected:


SMJ MAGAZINE AND ‘KiDz HuB’ By Andrew Terry Pasieka

Amide the re-branding and the further diversification of our businesses, we at SMJ Magazine took part in a very interesting project this summer. We gave back to the community, but it wasn’t just the local community. We became involved in a multi-media program of a different sort. Elevenia Gray-Saniford, who heads an adolescent group in south Mississauga who have a passion for media, hosted a similar group from Jamaica called KiDz HuB under the leadership of their principal, Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith, who happens to be Elevenia’s daughter. The young people were being flown to Canada courtesy of Fly Jamaica. Our curiosity was piqued. The trip was well planned, coming as it did during both the Pan-Am Games and the Scotia Bank Caribbean

Carnival. The kids learned all about multi-media in Canada traveling all over the Golden Horseshoe in a four-week span. We at SMJ had the pleasure of playing allday chaperons for a Junior Carnival Day in Scarborough one sweltering Saturday, and then instructing them in a two-week course on writing, the print media, interviewing, and the electronic media. This page illustrate some of the fun we had together. SMJ Magazine was proud to be involved, and we hope to announce or report on other special projects with media students under 16 in upcoming issues.

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Fall 2015




The The Brand, The Business By Shelley Jarrett

In the previous issue of SMJ Magazine, I said that I am a daughter, a sister, a mother, a wife and a child of God. Not to be overlooked: a business woman and an entrepreneur.

The woman who is relentlessly in pursuit of purpose. I was born in Guyana, South America, raised in London England and immigrated to Canada as a young adult.

All the people’s skills I learned in social work I was able to transfer to sales and marketing in the financial field.

As young as five years old I remember uttering the words ‘business administration.’ I never knew what prompted me to say those words, but as a young adult I knew business was what I wanted to pursue along the way. I started off by learning how to do income taxes. I took jobs as an account payable and accounts receivable clerks. The journey had started; the path was clear but not the vision at that time.

Could I have in turn foreseen my almost 20 years experience in the financial field would prepare me for what I am doing today? It never crossed my mind! I totally loved what I was doing at the time. Twenty years ago knocking on doors and commission sales was easy. I made lots of money, but I also lost a lot of money.

I studied social work, and obtained degrees both in social work and human studies. Through life circumstances and raising twin boys, I knew that the environment that social work took me to was not one I enjoyed very much, even though I enjoyed the duties of helping others. I fell into the financial field by accident but stayed in the field on purpose because of the flexibility it allowed me in raising the boys. As I look back today, sales and marketing in the financial services gave me the boldness and confidence I now have, to step out in unfamiliar areas, areas I never dreamed of earlier in my my life.


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Understanding my season was not clear to me then as it is now. The financial market was quickly changing, and the recession in 2008-2009 hit me very hard. I had to make some very tough decisions. Money was now tight and all the security I thought I had was quickly disappearing. It was challenging financially to put my boys through post-secondary school. At the same time I wanted to do more for myself and others, but how was that going to happen? Many days I would be frustrated, angry and quite miserable with my life. I knew I wanted to do more but couldn’t figure out what it was. (I was searching for purpose.) I was losing control over my life. I needed to find out more about me, about what gifts and talents I had.


The brand that defined

who I am

I finally decided to leave the financial field altogether at the end 2010. For twenty years I taught people how to create wealth for themselves and their families through life insurance products. I felt I wanted to have a little more control over my career in creating my own wealth. The experiences I gained in sales and marketing for the past 20 years gave me the boldness and confidence to step out on my own. I completed a certificate in women entrepreneurship in the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012. SJ Image Creations, my image consulting company was created as a result of the course. The focus was to teach and train women on building their image, through workshops and mentor ship. The skills I had used in social work could be re-applied here. That was the start of my entrepreneurial journey and my branding. I created the “Confident U” workshop for women as one of the many outlets to provide simple tips on how to dress successfully and feel confident when presenting themselves in competitive job markets as well as business meetings. I started getting involved in heading community events and business ventures. I also wrote several articles and blogs about image building and self-esteem. With the explosion of social media and internet marketing it was imperative that I maintain my position on the cutting edge of change. I am motivated and inspired by my followers on social media and elsewhere. Social media has worked well for me. I love the energy and the people I inspire and the mutual love that is shared. My branding has been governed by a desire to always reach a larger audience in a greater platform. That is why I branched out into magazine publishing in 2013, and now into electronic media (television)

heading into 2016. I was able to take advantage of various marketing strategies, partnerships and collaborations using other networks to broaden my brand and my consumer base. It is because of my regular increasing presence in the media and giving back to the community and because of the alliances that I have formed that I am ready to share some of my experiences with others and help them reach their goals and dreams. Requests for speaking engagements and appearances have resulted. I have been featured in several outside media outlets and magazines, appeared on CBC and Rogers TV several times. I received a Canada Glass Award in 2013 for outstanding entrepreneur of the year. In September 2013, I was a Keynote speaker in Ottawa at the “Women in the Media” event for the Network of Black Business and Professional women. I along with SMJ Magazine were nominated for two MARTY Awards at the 21st annual celebration May 2015 at the Living Arts Centre. Later in May, I was also selected to be part of a panelist “Making it in the Media” and was honored as one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada by “Infinite” Canadian International Black Women Event. Thanks to God’s grace and favor in my life, I am doing what I was created to do. I feel my work has just started and my branding will continue to evolve. I want to use these platforms that I have been blessed with, to transform lives and do my part to further the kingdom.

Fall 2015



I want to leave a legacy not only as a business woman and entrepreneur but as an innovative world changer. Whatever I do moving forward should be something others want to aspire to.


businesses are a foundation of that legacy.

I started my image consulting business in 2012. The primary objective was to help women dress for success in the workplace. I have been able to accomplish this through workshops, networking conferences, and speaking engagements.

There are so many more business ideas on my mind. There are still lots of worlds to conquer. Places to go, people to meet and lives to change. As the Scripture says: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.....”

About a year after forming SJ Image Creations, I started my next venture, which was to launch an online magazine focusing on image lifestyle and business. SMJ Magazine was formed out of an inspiration I got in the middle of winter of 2013, hence the magazine was born and was launched June 2013. It took on a life of its own, quickly gained momentum and popularity with followers and readers. It gave me the media platform I desired.

As a business woman I would encourage you to surround yourself with people who would support what you are doing. Stay away from people that would put you down or your business down. With the help of my husband who is also my business partner in two of my companies and a few people who believe in me and my vision (my team), I can say I have found my calling.

My next inspiration followed in 2014. I realized that all the success we can have as entrepreneurs can be limited if we fail to align our spirit with our mind and body, to take advantage of the ‘supernatural’ signs and intuition which come our way, and can take us to another level. So I formed Spirit-Preneur, a networking & womens’ conference under SJ Image Creations, and became a conference hostess. My most recent business inspiration is SMJ LIVE!, an extension of the magazine coming to you via mainstream television in 2016. I also have discovered an interest in the performing arts, and have a keen eye for fashion and styling. These are my secondary gifts, but they are important in their own way. I have already used these talents in businesses in a supporting role.


FALL 2015

Your personal life is the foundation of what you are doing, if your personal life is a mess then your business life will be a mess. If your personal finances are a mess then your business finances will be a mess. Try to find balance and be the best you can be everyday. Do your home work, be very good at your craft and know the law and rules around your business. I describe myself as a problem-solver, who uses my open, friendly and quick personality to connect with people and clients. My constant goal is to walk in my purpose everyday. I am so excited to discover what business will be my next inspiration. In fact, I am inspired to add something to my personal tag line.


“It’s about the rush I get when I take an idea, turn it

The recent African Fashion Week Toronto 2015 was held over four days this past August. It was not just a glamorous series of fashion shows but an opportunity to see and be seen for all those who love and are passionate about fashion and culture. The whole package was a breath-taking swath of color: the designers, their creative lines, the fabulous models, the intense production teams, the swarm of media. The building buzz of the crowds around the Daniel Spectrum in eastern Toronto is evidence that this is an event on the rise.

into reality, something others can

aspire to. I know any

success that I have does not belong to me alone, but to the


The Friday saw competition among student designers and high fashion designers categories. The students didn’t look entirely out of place among the A-listers.

to come.”

Photo: Lubin Tasevski Make-up: Robin Wright Clothes: Curvaceous Boutique Fall 2015


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