Tag Archives: girls action foundation

Another year, another successful National Day of Action

20 Fév

On the 15th of February, the young ladies from F.A.C.E participated in a second National Day of Action, organized by the Girls’ Action Foundation. Last year, the girls had participated in a lunch-discussion with ex homeless men who had stayed at the Benedict Labre House, and members of the NGO Action Femmes Handicapées Montréal. Then, they had conducted a safety audit walk in a down-town neighbourhood, all of which had inspired the themes covered in their Nomad Box.

This year, the girls undertook a project which had taken ground in their minds quite some time ago. During their initiation to the principles of urbanisme, citizen initiatives and public art to make cities safer and more inclusive for girls, the murale concept stuck with them. In Montreal, we are pretty spoiled in that department: a beautiful murale instantly uplifts any dull / ugly space (just saying it like it is!). This, in turn, increases the number of people using that space, and more people, means usually means more safety.

Ok, so a murale… What does that entail exactly?

The girls in the Student Bistro, during one if their planning meetings.

The girls in the Student Bistro, during one if their planning meetings.

This is how they came to identify a space in their school which they had previously avoided due to its seediness. Lucky for us, this space happened to have plenty of walls (!!!), some of them already being repainted in the original pleasant yellow-greenish tinge. The girls organized several planing, conception, and organisation réunions as the Murale Committee, and managed to convince the school administration to grant them a wall. And so they needed a theme.

The original planning calendar, or project management 101

The original planning calendar, or project management 101

Ok, so a theme… So many to choose from…

Because this year’s National Day of Action theme was the transmission of culture, tradition or experience from generation to generation, we asked the girls what legacy they wished to leave to the next generation of F.A.C.E students. They decided they wanted to paint quotes which had inspired them and call their murale « the fountain of words » (because the wall was right above fountains, it called for some fancy wordplay 🙂

The initial design

The initial design

Once they had chosen their quotes, we realized that they were all the words of famous men. So we felt it would be important to broach the subject with the girls. Indeed, modern history teaches us, amongst other things, that the contribution of women to the world we live in have very rarely been recognized. This sad fact makes finding women’s quotes a little bit, well, daunting.

Finally, with a bit of help and a lot of Google, the inspiring quotes chosen by the girls were representative of all of society (I believe we do comprise of half of humanity, after all..) From Maya Angelou to Janis Joplin, the girls illustrated the words which made their soul sing.

Ze wall

Ze wall

Oh the concentration..

Oh the concentration..

Hard at work

Hard at work


Almost done!

Almost done!

We will be back at F.A.C.E on February 21st, as the girls will put the finishing touches on their murale. Pictures will soon follow.

What are YOU doing for Valentine’s day?

14 Jan

For the second year in a row, My City, My Safety! will be participating in the Girls’ Action Foundation’s National Day of Action on the 14th and 15th of February 2013 (2013… Weird!)

This time around, two groups are participating in this initiative which aims to celebrate the engagement of young canadian girls and women within their communities, the important role they play, and to encourage them to continue reclaiming their space in society: the civic duty mediators from St-Luc and the F.A.C.E girls 🙂

This year, the Foundation suggested the theme of community history, whether it is a historically significant event related to the cultural heritage of the youth involved and transmitted from generation to generation, stories about their own generation or the testimony of people of all ages who are models for the other members of their community. For more information, please follow this link:  www.girlsactionfoundation.ca


Last week, we met up with the F.A.C.E girls to discuss their action project for the 15th of February.

Full on brainstorm mode

Full on brainstorm mode

Their plan is to paint a mural in the student bistro, a big and uninviting local that is not, for the time being, very welcoming… The idea came from their implication in My City, My Safety! last year, and the use of safety audits to evaluate different spots in relation to the feeling of safety and inclusion they inspire.

The bistro

The bistro

We are waiting with our fingers crossed for the schools’ approval… In the meantime, the girls are collecting inspirational quotes they wish to transmit to the future generations of F.A.C.E students, including quotes from famous and pioneer women throughout the ages.

Information on the civic duty mediators’ project will soon follow…  

My City, My Safety and the Girls Action Foundation celebrate Valentine’s Day

21 Fév

Last Tuesday, for Valentine’s day, F.A.C.E participants and My City, My Safety! were selected to participate in the Girls’ Action Foundation National Day of Action. For the 8th consecutive year, the Girls Action Foundation is « flipping the script on sending chocolate and shining light on girls and young women who are making an impact in their communities instead ». The first step has been to contribute to the collective love letter with a Vox pop video, expressing why they are participating in this initiative. The video is available on the blog.

For the actual day of action to work within the context of My City, My Safety!, we began by having lunch at Women in Cities International’s partner’s offices, Action femmes handicapées Montréal, with whom a project had been conducted to shed light on the obstacles women with a handicap face in Montreal.

Lunch was served by the Maison Benedict Labre which accomodates homeless men and women in Griffintown. The goal of this lunchtime discussion was to demystify homelessness and to create a dialogue, since the presence of homeless people, especially in metro stations, had been flagged by girls and women as a factor of insecurity during safety audit walks.

Bruno and Richard, two ex homeless men, candidly answered the questions the girls had prepared. It was interesting for everyone present to hear Richard’s stories of street life insecurity, and his passion for long walks along the Canal Lachine with his dog. As for Bruno, he spoke in great length about his love/hate relationship with Montreal Police: A necessary evil, when it comes to homeless men’s perception.

Two representatives from the Conseil jeunesse Montréal and Projet Montreal came as observers, to express their support for the project and for the engagement of young citizens in the development of their city.

We then went to grab a bite on Saint Denis Street, to rest a bit before going on the next leg of the day of action. The girls taught us how to play Contact, a highly addictive word game!

Fully rested and with full bellies, we went back out into the cold for an evening safety audit walk along de Maisonneuve Boulevard, into the Emilie Gamelin Parc, and finally on Saint Catherine street all the way to the Beaudry metro station.

Clearly, the girls have become much more sensitive to the urban environment surrounding them. From dark hidden corners, to parks filled with fun installations yet made inaccessible by ice, to inspirational quotes hanging off streetlights, nothing escaped their scrutiny! It looks like we are witnessing the rise of a new generation of young urban development activists…

One of the many staircases along Maisonneuve where homeless people seek refuge, but also where drug use is rampant

Fun light and sound installation at Émilie Gamelin Park, but innaccessible due to ice...

A good lighting example on Saint Catherine Street, with fun quotations hanging off street lamps.

Light installation the girls really liked at the corner of Amherst and Saint Catherine

XXX film screening shops

An annotated map from the safety audit


Temporary installation at the Park

Expo: artists and homelessness in Émilie Gamelin Park

Graffiti boulevard Maisonneuve on the Judith Jasmin building

How an inspirational murale can liven up a "blind wall" at the intersection of Amherst and Saint-Catherine Streets


10 Fév


Filming a Love Letter

6 Fév

Our fifth workshop at F.A.C.E was reminiscent of a Canadian Idol episode… Minus the bad songs and all the drama !

To celebrate our participation in the National Day of Action of the Girls’ Action Foundation, we made a vox pop video. On February 14th, instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day (who wants any more annoying bouquets anyway ?), we’ll celebrate the young Canadian women who are engaged in initiatives to change the world, no less !

Thanks to the support of the Girls Action Foundation, My City, My Safety ! Participants will have a very busy Valentine’s day.

But let’s not ruin the surprise, and return to our fifth workshop. Indeed, we are participating in a collective Love Letter to celebrate our young Canadian activists. The love letter will be broadcasted on the National Day of Action by the foundation. So be on the lookout for our video soon enough, also on this blog….

The artist Fanie St-Michel, founder of Conscience urbaine, came to F.A.C.E on February 1st to help us make our clip.

Fanie St-Michel at work

After a quick brainstorming session, each girl chose one word to describe why she is participating in My City, My Safety ! We summoned their creative spirit (and amazing drawing skills !) to represent their word on individual pannels. Fanie then staged everything, and let the girls express themselves before the camera.

the Making Of !

We are very excited to broadcast this wonderful message to other inspiring young women who are truly Canada’s future…

Some of the creative props...