This is It!

Overture, curtains, and lights – this is it the night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing our parts for we know every part by heart – at least we hope!

It’s been 2 weeks since Thomson and I bounded into the Magill house here in Hamilton and what a couple of weeks it has been. There are 13 Academy students (all girls) along with three road team assistants (2 girls, 1 boy), and two bands (6 boys). If you lost count that’s 22 people in total. We have 2 kitchens and 3 bathrooms, which makes the morning routine quite an interesting one. All of the Academy students are amazing women from right across the country and together we make a really dynamic team of young people ready to create change.

Our first night together before we tackle the grocery store

The staff here in Hamilton didn’t wait to start to get us involved in everything LiveDifferent. On the first day together we were teamed up and put to the challenge of an epic photo scavenger hunt. Throughout the afternoon we ran around the downtown of Hamilton looking to make new friends, dance the hokey pokey with children, and complete random acts of kindness. We made complete fools of ourselves but it was an amazing time and a great way to be introduced to all the culture Hamilton has to offer.

Scavenger hunt item – fit all your team members under a bench

Later in the week the co-founder of LiveDifferent, Christal Earle, sat all of us down and encouraged each of us to share what life event had brought us to this program. After crying our way through almost two jumbo boxes of Kleenex we had all spilt our guts. You could tell very quickly the dynamic of the group change – these ladies were no longer friends, they were family. No matter what each of us had or hadn’t been through we all came together to support, encourage, and empathize. No one was left out, no one felt alone. It was a tough day but we got through it – together.

Working on stories with the ladies.

Most of my time over the past two weeks has been spent at a local church in Burlington that used to be a popular nightclub. Although it’s a little rough around the edges it has become our second home here. We spend hours each day setting up and tearing down stage sets, learning all the parts the make up a show, and practicing speeches. All of the storytellers have written and memorized their story and the show is looking amazing. Jamie, Johnny, and staff have worked really hard on all the videos that are in this year’s production and they have all turned out really great. I can’t wait to get the students’ reaction to them on Tuesday (that’s right – we start our GTA tour on Tuesday). I’ve been amazed and impressed these past few days as I’ve watched my fellow students really strive towards excellence and because of that make huge leaps and bounds in everything that they’re doing.

Our stage all set up ready to begin rehearsal.

As I sit here tonight listening to kids play in the backyard next door, the chatter of giggly girls from downstairs, and airplanes overhead, I can’t help but feel different then I did when I sat on my own back deck in Barrie just two weeks ago. With the help and support of these girls I’ve gained the courage to share publicly parts of my story that I have spoken to very few people about. I think for the first time in a long time I’m starting to recognize why I was put on this earth and that there is much more to my story.

Last night with the Mexico girls at a local hangout spot

Stay tuned for so many more exciting adventures!


Michelle & Thomson – LiveDifferent Academy Volunteer and Awesome Seeing-Eye Dog, Team 1, Fall 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 10th, 2013