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November 2011

Self-Healing through Spoken and Written Words

November 28, 2011 | Jorge | Comments (0)

It is discomforting to know how many people suffer from events that have happened in the past.  Some choose to internalize the sufferings for reasons known only to the victim, while others are outspoken advocates representing the thousands or millions of people that share similar experiences.

After tehranAfter reading Marina Nemat’s sophomore publication, After Tehran: a Life Reclaimed, I asked myself the question of whether someone carrying excess emotional baggage interacts noticeably  different with others.  In this clearly written memoir, Nemat puts her conscious out there for the world to interpret.  We learn through Nemat’s experience that you can never maintain peace through the act of silence - the disobedient child could tell you how painful the silent treatment can be.  Instead what you get is a perpetual feeling of self-sabatoge, a feeling that can even haunt you during your sleep.  Marina Nemat’s work is a first-hand account of how busy the mind can be when caught in distress. 

From a psychological point of view, a substantial number of people carry excess emotional baggage around with them.  The condition is commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder.  It affects around 57 in every 100,000 Canadians a year, one of the highest in the world!  Symptoms of PTSD include hyper vigilance, flashbacks or nightmares, anger and difficulties falling asleep.  So how can these issues be resolved?  The psychiatrist may prescribe medications that target individual symptoms, but is it really solving the crux of the issue?

Marking HumanityI have met people that have been touched by Marina Nemat indicating their amazement with how incredibly ‘normal’ and likeable she is.  In fact, some believe that it’s through her oral and written discussions that she finds self-healing and empowerment.  The power of writing and speaking as a therapeutic tool has been heavily practiced by active holocaust survivors as well.  In Marking Humanity, editor Shlomit Kriger has noted the significance of written word as an instrument to help “people express themselves, become empowered and heal.”


On the topic of survivors and empowered educators, we have two feature programs this week, which we all can learn from.

On Tuesday November 29th at 7 pm we invite Marina Nemat to speak on her latest work, After Tehran.

On Wednesday November 30th at 7 pm we invite editor Shlomit Kriger and featured holocaust survivors to share their stories.

Developing Humanity through Philanthropic Donations

November 5, 2011 | Jorge | Comments (1)

By now, most of Human-evolutionus agree that human evolution is real and that change is inevitable.  What most of us may disagree about is how or by what means evolution takes place.  This is outside the purview of this article, but what is important is the question about the ways in which humanity can develop.

Here is another reality check – our livelihood is very much affected by the economy of things whether we like it or not.  For this reason, some of the wealthiest people on earth have donated millions and in some cases billions of dollars to fund programs or projects that have a special humanitarian impact.

George Soros
George Soros, one of the world’s leading economic thinkers, has donated around $8 billion dollars in his life time.  His life-time accomplishments are astounding; first helping overcome communism in central Europe, later helping to eradicate ‘blood diamonds’ in troubled African societies, helping build communities in the roughest areas in Haiti and much more (order The Philanthropy of George Soros for more).  Amazingly, there are other business magnates that have donated even more than Soros including the prominent Bill Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).  The foundation has raised a staggering $31 Billion USD. 

On the local scale and much closer to home, business magnates also support their local communities.  Although these philanthropic donations do not have global humanitarian influence, they still create a positive impact on our local communities.

What actuaFoundation-logolly inspired me to write this article is the generous donation from Murray Frum and the Frum Family of $100,000 CAD issued to the Toronto Public Library Foundation for interior improvements of the Barbara Frum Library. The in-kind gift will help the library respond to the growing needs of the community. Some features that will be phased in during the next four years include two new service zones for early literacy and computer learning. 

Preparing children for reading and writing before they enter school is indeed an important part of human evolution.  Experts say the first three tender years of a child’s life sets the stage for future learning – literacy begins day one.  Providing people with information technology and teaching those that are not familiar with it, is increasingly important.  Government, business and cultural information is found extensively online and even TPL continues to augment online collections. It’s becoming necessary to effectively navigate the online-electronic landscape, and we’re excited about equipping the library with an improved facility to do so.

A special thanks to The Frum Family for their generous donation in supporting local human development!


Teen Reads

November 4, 2011 | Claire A | Comments (0)

The success of teen novels such as The Hunger Games and Twilight helped propel YA Fiction into mainstream culture.  Not only are these novels grabbing the attention of teens but adults as well.  Being the Teen Librarian, I am constantly reading new and popular titles.  I often get asked for suggestions and the problem is that there are so many good titles to choose from.  Regardless of whether you are a reluctant reader or someone who can't put a book down, there is always something at the library to try out.  Here are some of my favourite YA books.  

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