There and Back Again, A Jordyn’s Tale

“Hey everyone, I’m Jordyn and I’m from Victoria BC. I’ve just been over at our back table setting up all of the awesome videos for the show, and the video that you guys just saw was about LiveDifferent’s Hero Holiday Program.” This is the beginning to my segment of Team One’s awesome Live Different Presentation that I’ve been a part of for 4 months! It’s crazy to think that I’ll only be getting on stage and saying these words for another 5 shows. Our team has been through a lot together this tour. We’ve travelled all the way across eastern Canada, far over the misty mountains cold, bouncing along poorly constructed rural roads, conquering the giant island of strange accents and folk music, braving the abysmal temperatures of our nations capital, and making an uncountable amount of new friends along the way. It’s been a long journey (there and back again) but it seems like just yesterday that we were gearing up to leave our volunteer-packed house in Hamilton. 
Our last weekend of tour was a very eventful one! We were staying with a few families in Ottawa and Montreal. Friday was a day off for us so we spent the day in downtown Ottawa, where it was bone-chillingly cold. As soon as we stepped off of the bus, we realized that we wouldn’t be doing much sightseeing due to the ridiculously freezing temperatures. Saturday, we left our billets in Ottawa, brushed up on our Français, and headed for the heart of Montreal, where we spent the day. Sunday, a few of us hopped on the bus with our amazing billet, Genviève and her two kids for a wintery outing. Arriving at the snowy park, we frolicked in the fluffy snow towards a big ole hill and ran to the top. For the first time in years, I got the chance to experience the simple pleasure of sliding down a snowy hill on not but a thin sheet of plastic. You see in Victoria, it snows maybe once a year if we’re lucky, so this was a nice treat. That is, until our insufficient footwear caused us to lose feeling in our extremities, and we headed back to the bus, seeking warmth. When we got home one of my fellow students, Michelle, made us dinner! The catch to her meal was that we had to eat it blindfolded. We struggled to get food on our forks as we got to experience just a little taste of what Michelle goes through every day. It was a very eye opening experience. 
During our 4 months on the road, each of us students are required to spend one day burdened with the responsibilities of our fearless leaders. We have to arrange the details for our show by speaking with a representative from the school and making sure that the day goes smoothly. My leader day was at the start of December, and I knew going into it that it would be a long day. We had 2 shows booked at different schools and on top of that, we had multiple schools coming to watch each show; I knew it was going to be a stressful day. The first show went really well. I was so proud of our team for our record setups and teardowns, and for their constant encouragements. After the first show, most of the stress of the day disappeared. We ate lunch on the go, and drove over to the second school of the day, where we rocked another presentation. When it was all over, I was proud of what we had  accomplished and happy that the shows were such successes! 
Leader for a day plays an important part in the Academy program. It allows us as students to see what our amazing road team leaders do every day, and it forces us to take on a leadership role within our team. Being leader for a day was one of the many ways that tour has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and gain confidence in myself. On top of this experience, there have been many aspects of tour that have challenged me and helped me to grow as a person. Although I’m sad that tour is almost over, I’m so grateful to have been able to have such an incredible experience, and to be able to share it with such amazing people.
Jordyn, LiveDifferent Acdemy Student, 2013/2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: January 24th, 2014

Music and motivation – The Telegram

RocketRocketShip releasing new album, embarking on national motivational tour for students.

Fresh from their most roller-coaster year yet, the members of RocketRocketShip are about to embark on a Canadian tour to let high school students know how to deal with ups and downs of their own. Read more here:


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: January 21st, 2014

Young Corner Brookers gave up Christmas to help Dominican Republic poor – The Western Star

CORNER BROOK — If any of them had any reticence about giving up their usual Christmas, five young people from Corner Brook certainly have no regrets now. Read more here:

Author: LiveDifferent


The House that Love Built

Down a dusty street in an outback town in Baja California Mexico, a man named Salvador bought a piece of dry, sandy property. He worked hard to pay for it, and he worked even harder to make that piece of property into something that would be a place of welcome and shade from the hot desert sun. Over the 30 plus years that he has owned that property Salvador has loved his garden and the people in his life. 

Salvador’s first wife died many years after he bought the property. The two of them never had any children together, but always there was the garden. Salvador poured his love and resources into that garden and made an oasis around the little rickety tin and cardboard house he had on that property. 

After his wife died, life began to move on, and he focused on work and his property. 

Until he met Maria. 

Maria had been widowed years earlier as well, and she was in a predicament. Her children lived far away and she didn’t actually have a home to call her own. The two of them met at a seniors event in the town hosted by a local woman named Gina. Gina works and lives to serve the people of her community and her heart holds a special place for the senior citizens within it, ensuring that they have their rights maintained, that their voices are heard, and that they have access to as much as she can help them get from the government. Gina is a light of leadership and hope in a place that sometimes lacks both, and her fingerprint can be found on so many of the families we work with in the area. Maria had been staying with Gina at the time, and as fate would have it, the houses were across the street from each other. 

Soon Salvador and Maria could be seen out together, grinning from ear to ear, clearly enamoured and in love. Theirs was a love born out of wisdom and kindness, and was like a gift earned after many hard years of struggle and loneliness. They were married at the age of 70 and 74, and when we met them last week, they had just recently celebrated their fourth anniversary. 

On the first morning we were on their property and working on what would become they beautiful new home, I stood in the doorway of Maria’s old “kitchen”. In reality, you wouldn’t have even recognized it as such: it had an open clay baking hole, a wooden tortilla press and a cardboard and chipboard countertop that was broken and rickety. Her walls were made of cardboard and a had a rusty tin roof over it to keep the elements out. I had been walking by with a paint brush in my hand and I could smell her tortillas baking. I tucked my head in to say how good it smelled and I was met with her beautiful smile and kind eyes as she held out a fresh, hot tortilla to me to sample. It was delicious. Maria loves to serve others and make them feel at home and she succeeded in every way possible with each of us in a special and unique way.

During our time with them, Salvador was torn between two things: making sure we made the house to his liking (he told us he fully approved!) and to keeping an eye on Maria, answering her every beck and call. He loves her with his words, his actions, and his service. She gives him the same and we were all witnesses to it during our time with them. Every night we would sit and talk about how beautiful it was to watch them together, encouraged by their love and commitment to each other.

As we handed the keys to them on our final day, each of our team had the chance to tell them of our wishes and blessings for their new home. Their previous homes may have only looked like a dry stack of wood, tin and cardboard, but it was the only one they had and it was filled with love, warmth, memories, and kindness. This new home we built them doesn’t hold those memories, but it holds hope and that hope is built on the same substance that their lives have been built on for all this time. It was built with love in mind, and I am confident it will see much love over the years ahead. 

I have heard it said that when you find love the second time around it can be even sweeter. Perhaps it is true.

There is something very beautiful, freeing, and hopeful in that statement. Who knows? Perhaps we are born for one true love, perhaps we are born for more. Whatever the eternal truth is, I know that we are born for what love provides for us. Without it we lack depth, meaning and connection. With it, we soar to limitless heights and depths of our humanity, and it is always worth it. 

Perhaps tonight Salvador will sit in his rocking chair on his new front porch, looking out at his garden and thanking the heavens above that inside that warm, cozy house is a woman who loves him. And I hope that together they will sleep knowing that they are not forgotten.

Christal – LiveDifferent Co-Founder

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: January 20th, 2014

What it means to LiveDifferent

Today I had the opportunity to talk to Olga, the mother for one of the families we are building for. She has been living in a wooden house that is in very bad condition, very close to a polluted river, with her daughter Yocasta, 15 years old, and her grandson, David, 7 years old (who she has raised like a son since he was born.) She described that every time it rains, the river overflows and seeps into their home, and it is one of the many hard obstacles she has to go through everyday. When this happens, she and her family have to run to another neighbor’s house to be safe for the night. The next day, when the rain stops, there is so much uncertainty about coming back home, wondering whether the house has been completely destroyed, or if their belongings have all been ruined or swept away.

Olga expressed how great of an impact it will be to finally have a new and safe home for her and her family. She would feel, of course, more secure, and not have to worry about the rain anymore. Also, even though he is seven years old, David has never been in school a day in his life, so now that they will be living right next to the community school, he will finally be able to go for the first time.  Olga feels very happy and confident too because she will be living closer to Pastor Garcia and his family, as he is a leader in the community who has played an important role in her life for a long time.

She told me: “I am so thankful to God and to all of you. All these people have traveled from such far places,  just to help us, working so hard, giving their money and their time, without anything we can give in exchange”. I interrupted her and said: ” You know Olga, there is a lot you and your family are giving us: it is the joy to see you so excited, the feeling of being proud when we know we have made a difference in your family, and the happiness to know that from now on, you will LiveDifferent.” She smiled and we hugged each other.

On my way back to the hotel, I thought, ‘they’re not the only ones that are “living different” because we (my family) are too.’ After this experience, the way we can see life and the appreciation for what we have and how we are able to live our lives is incredible. It is a privilege for me to have realized that I also “LiveDifferent.”

Eliana, volunteer, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday, Christmas Public Trip, 2013/2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: January 3rd, 2014