In Their Own Words

The warm fabric of unity

My name is Leisha Toory (she/her), and I am a Political Science undergraduate at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. I also a proud menstrual equity advocate and the founder of the Period Priority Project that thrives to make a difference with each donation so that there is one less person who must worry about affordability, accessibility and safety of menstrual products. Since May 6, 2022, more than 7,000 menstrual products have been distributed to Newfoundland and Labrador and the Yukon.

Upon scrolling through the brilliant Community Connections Volunteer Newsletter in early June 2021, I came across donation requests for new colouring books, crayons and puzzles for new families who are arriving and, as per protocols, will need to isolate for 14 days. The ANC settlement team commendably ideated this initiative to help families with children pass the time.

With a view to brighten up the families’ 14 days, I enthusiastically emailed the Association for New Canadians settlement team to convey my initiative to send along my handmade cards of kindness along with the donations they receive; the ANC happily responded in the affirmative.

During these uncertain times, we have all seen pain, heartbreak, horror, vulnerability. Instinctively, I would prioritize protection from these times of uncertainty and isolate into my safe space. However, I have learned that by cocooning myself, I have experienced the loss of community connections.

Realization dawned upon me that it is a privilege to be alive, to love, and true prosperity lies in dedicating the gratitude of the fullness of life to help others when we have the capacity, the ability and the opportunities to do so. I challenged myself to wholeheartedly practice one act of kindness every day by being a volunteer.

My family’s warm parenting in the cold pandemic was my inspiration for the kindness cards. I came to St. John’s in January 2020 alone. Nonetheless, my family would have recourse for frequent happy video calls, and cute kindness messages all throughout the day with the view to establish calmness, positively address the emotions arising from the constant exposure to terrifying global news and provide reassurance and hope.

By doing so, my family wove the warm fabric of familial unity which helped build resilience. I aimed to grow this fabric of unity to reach the many families that are arriving in St. John’s by using the very foundation of this unity: kindness messages.

Kindness, love, compassion are the pillars of community connections. Expressing kindness, especially during the harshest times, is not only the right thing to do, but also is what everyone needs to receive to powerfully combat the overwhelming emotions.

With my 100 hand-made kindness cards, I hoped to cheer up 100 hearts, to lighten up 100 smiles and to brighten up 100 hopes for a sunnier today and tomorrow. After all, it takes a single ray of sunshine to brighten up the whole world, so let’s team up, let’s be kind, let’s love and let us all make a sunny difference in the community!

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Leisha Toory

Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, Newfoundland

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