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Posted By SkatingPj

Skating Friends Support Japan

I have often said that figure skating is like a family; albeit a wacky family from time time. Just as often though are the well-meaning and generous intentions from insiders and fans alike. Two of my skating "cousins" Mario and Tanja are a part of a group of skating friends who want to support Japanese relief efforts. Thinking that it was an important cause, I asked for the details to pass along to you. Just another reason that some of the people I know make me proud to be part of this "family."

Skating Friends Support Japan

Figure skating related fundraising action for Japan kicks off with moved World Championships

Who: A group of skating friends decided to start a long-term fundraising operation with regards of the close connection between figure skating and Japan.

What: All the funds that are collected on the internet platform will be used directly for victims of the disaster areas in Japan, through the Lions Club International.

Why: The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 were scheduled to take part in Tokyo, Japan, in March. As a result of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, the championships were postponed and moved to Moscow, Russia (April 25 to May 1). Figure skating is a very popular sport in Japan and figure skaters all over the World love competing and performing in Japan.

As with everything else - do what you can. Every little bit helps.

Posted By SkatingPj

My house is quiet and I find myself on the couch in my family room with my two dogs; laptop on my lap.  For a person who is comfortable among people, if you don't know me well, you might find it suprising that I enjoy my own company. In fact, when I am trying to wrestle words or ideas into some kind of creative order - I prefer it. 

The program on the TV in the background is on the newly launched OWN network and is Oprah Winfrey's story in her own words.  Oprah and I have a funny connection. Her show is as old as my second child and there were plenty of times when getting to her 4pm time slot meant that I was closing in on making it through another exhausting day of motherhood. I have written pieces about how "My Life Is Better Than Oprah's" talking about experiences like going to the Olympics and my rink-side seat that she wouldn't have been able to buy regardless of how much money she has. I have talked about knowing my best friend Debbie for over 40 years which would trump her friendhsip with Gayle any day. I do go on don't I?? :)

Today there are nuggets that have come out of her program that have made me stop and think. The primary one being about identifying your purpose, if not, you run the risk of just wandering through your life.  I think I have it figured out: I like to think I am a storyteller. You as the reader, get to choose what you want to keep and what you want to reject. It's not up to me to do anything except tell you the story.

I am smiling  because today I reached a goal: over one hundred thousands fingers from different places around the world have clicked on this blog to check out the stories I have been telling. I am surprised. I am delighted. I am humbled. 

Aside from 100,000 hits in just over a year, my other goal was to try and tell stories you might not otherwise know. One of those stories was the one from last week about the project in the slums of Nairobi. I am doing what I can to support them and wanted to know how you were helping make things better in your part of the world. Thank you to Twitter pals Made_in_Canada3 who thinks that they will also donate a lesson fee to charity, Swetarijoshu who was grateful to still have Japan relief efforts front and center and LyricoM whoi is going to donate their Worlds ticket refund to Japanese relief. On my blog, click on the 3 comments that were left from people who must know they are making a difference. 'Thank yous' as well to my email pals who shared their stories.

I am always saying to the young people who surround me on and off the ice that the choices in their lives are theirs. If you let someone else determine what you are going to do and be, then you also let them determine the outcomes in your life.

A very long time ago, a trusted "friend" said to me: "What could you ever write that anyone would want to read?" Fortunately, she said it in a strange Turkish (maybe Shwabish??)  dialect that I couldn't fully understand (or myabe I just had my fingers in my ears??) Secondly, it never occurred to me to think about any readers - I was simply and joyfully focused on the writing. That said - I cannot thank you enough for making this dream come true.


Next up - more skating stories :)


Don't forget if you can help Japanese relief efforts here are a couple of places to start: and




Posted By SkatingPj

...and I'll cry if I want to?  Naww...that's not right! Truth be told - it was my birthday - yesterday - and we did have a party. Did I cry? I didn't want to.

My family wanted to know what I "wanted" for my birthday. Truth is, I want for very little. I have a family, great friends, no visible roots (this week), my health and new orthotics (so my feet don't hurt as much.) You see the situation - I have no complaints.

I decided that what I 'wanted' for my birthday is enough time left to be able to make a difference.

Where to start? I know I am not much of a joiner. I am also a person who prefers to target projects directly than through a national or international organization.

My younger daughter arrived back home from 2 months in Kenya, on April Fool's day, where she volunteered at a program called the Tusemezane ("Let's Talk" in Swahili) program. In this program, disadvantaged children have the chance to go to school. In Kenya, school from Grade 1 to Grade 8 is free - BUT- in order to get into school a child has to go through pre-school which isn't free. In this program, run by 3 women, children of any age get the chance to go through pre-school so that they might enter "free" school in the Fall.

Before Amanda left, my oldest friend (she is much older than I) Debbie brought letters from children in 2 suburban Toronto schools to be distributed to the children in this program. At my party, Debbie collected the letters that the Kenyan children had written back. Many of the letters included carefully drawn pictures on paper Amanda bought with crayons and pencils I had sent from Canada.

I know it's small - but for these children this school represents a chance that they wouldn't have otherwise to enter into education, not to mention a safe place where they can spend their days. This program will close if they can't come up with enough money to build a toilet.

Amanda told me about this program over the phone during one of our many conversations while she was away and the passion that I hear in her voice about wanting to help is my real birthday gift. I told her I wanted to write about the love and the charity of these three women in their own community. I am truly humbled by the efforts of Anne, Maggie and Lucy.

I am starting by pledging the fee from one lesson from every one of my skaters in the Spring to the Tusemezane program.  I will offer my skaters' parents the chance to match my one lesson fee donation with one of their own.

My reason for sharing this story is I want to challenge my readers to come up with one simple act of kindness or charity this week. There doesn't need to be a tax receipt to do the right thing and I think everyone gets to choose how to make the world a better place.

I would love to hear via the comments below what one thing you were able to do in your part of the world to make it a better place and I will keep you posted about this program in Kenya.


In the meantime - people in Japan are still struggling - if you want to help - here are a couple of places to check out:


Artistry Skin Care and Cosmetics Canada has set up a link through their parent company Amway, where they are matching donations: Here is the link to check it out:





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