The Beatitudes Movement Art Show & Fundraiser

January Snapd Queen

Spirits were high in the 6ix this year as Torontonians gathered at the Dock on Queen for the Beatitude's Art Show & Fundraiser on Nov. 18th! With coffee, art, and live music, everyone was jamming out for a good cause! All art was on sale and proceeds went to the 100 Blessing Bag Project! This project raised money to create 100 bags for men and women who live on the streets of Toronto. Each bag includes hygienic essentials in attempt to make these men and women's lives a little bit better this winter season! The Beatitudes' Movement encourages people to put their blessings into actions and spread love around Toronto. For more information on the Beatitude's Movement check out their website at www.thebeatitudesmovement.com

Founder of the Beatitudes Movement Cari Flammia & her mom Lucia! - Photo by Allysha Howse .

Full article: Snapd Queen

Scarborough woman hands out gifts on Toronto streets to brighten lives

The Beatitudes Movement is inspired by Christian scripture

By Mike Adler - Scarborough Mirror

Cari Flammia and her mom Lucia hand out Blessing Bags to street people in the downtown area Thursday, Dec 21 - Dan Pearce/Metroland

Inspired by Christian scripture, Cari Flammia of Scarborough handed out Blessing Bags full of everyday items to homeless men and women on the streets of Toronto’s downtown. 

“I was inspired to do this because I see a need in the city and I wanted to do something that would make a small difference in the lives of those in need,” said Flammia.

“I feel it’s something that can brighten up the lives of those on the street while giving them some essential items in time for Christmas.”

Accompanied by her mom Lucia, Flammia went to Moss Park, Yonge-Dundas Square and Toronto City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 21, giving people many of the 100 Blessing Bags she had raised $1,000 to fill with such essential things as toothbrushes, toothpaste, gloves, snacks, socks, combs, and face towels, along with inspirational notes.

The bags are a project of The Beatitudes Movement which Flammia founded last year. The Movement has also collected toiletries for women’s shelters in Toronto and funds for Indigenous shelters in the city, as well as undergarments for Free The Girls, a group helping women rescued from sex trafficking.  

“I hope to plant positive seeds and also inspire others to take initiatives to do good in the world,” Flammia said this week, adding the Movement “is about recognizing the blessings we have” and spreading love in the world.

For her humanitarian efforts, Flammia was profiled this yea in the University of Toronto Scarborough’s 150 Neighbours, a collection of people from notable people from Scarborough.

More on the Blessing Bags can be found at www.thebeatitudesmovement.com/blessingbags

Full article: Scarborough Mirror

University of Toronto Scarborough's 150 Neighbours finds local heroes

Campus celebration this week wraps up 6-month project

by Mike Adler - Scarborough Mirror

If you were listing great people from Scarborough, you could start with professional athletes, entertainers and media personalities.

But 150 Neighbours, a project of the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), doesn’t stop with Orlando Franklin, Mike Myers and “Maestro” Fresh Wes Williams.

In celebrating Canada’s 150th year, UTSC wanted to recognize 150 local people or groups. They weren’t just looking for celebrities who put Scarborough on the map.

They also searched out “local heroes,” volunteers and people making positive contributions in other ways.

You’ve probably heard of Myers, Franklin and Williams. They’re all in Wikipedia.

But what about Jazmine Reyes? She’s eight, but already an organic gardener and recycling activist. And she’s in 150 Neighbours.

So are Father Fred Foley, the straight-talking pastor of St. Bartholomew Church, and Cari Flammia, who delivers “blessing bags” to shelters and undergarments to women rescued from sex trafficking.

Even people who know Scarborough “will be knocked out” by who was profiled, UTSC principal Bruce Kidd said this week.

“It turned out to be way bigger than anything we imagined,” Kidd said of 150 Neighbours, which wrapped up Tuesday with a celebration at the Meeting Place, an indoor public square on campus.

“I’ve always believed the most important heroes to have are the ones you know are accessible in their communities.”

The project found and documented people enriching Scarborough in small or large ways, said Helen Stratigos, a north Scarborough writer who did 56 of the profiles displayed at www.150neighbours.ca.

“I wanted to highlight an interesting cross-section of Scarborough, people who are often under-represented on ‘power’ lists but who are pulling so much weight to improve our communities, create opportunities for others, showcase diverse talents and ideas and bring pride to Scarborough.

“Optimism and success are inspiring. We spotlighted everyone from social workers, to artists, athletes, community organizers, scientists, visionaries, humanitarians and everyday kind and thoughtful people.”

At first, Firaaz Azeez of the Muslim Welfare Centre in Malvern was reluctant to be recognized, thinking he was “just an everyday guy.”

But he warmed to the project, and believes we need to hear more stories about average Canadians doing remarkable things.

“So many of us came from another land and made Scarborough home,” he said last week. 

Salam Rifai, a settlement counsellor and supervisor at Tesoc Multicultural Settlement Services, was also surprised to be in 150 Neighbours, but she believes Scarborough is “so rich” in many ways.

The area isn’t a whole country, “yet it has the whole world in it,” said Rifai, who feels helping newcomers to Canada here is “better than getting the Oscar.”

The project’s point “is Scarborough citizens are ambitious, and passionate, and they’re doing great things,” said Scarborough Community Renewal Organization chairperson Jennifer McKelvie, another person chosen.

Kwesi Johnson, a child and youth worker well-known in Malvern, was also profiled, and said it’s humbling to see “the body of work” all 150 Neighbours have put into the community over time. 

Full article: Inside Toronto

Everyday Abolitionist Q&A with Cari Flammia from The Beatitudes Movement

Free The Girls

Q. Where are you from and what are you passionate about? 

A. I'm Italian-Canadian, living in Toronto. I'm passionate about social justice and humanitarian work, as well as art, music, and photography.

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Q. Tell us about your heart for justice and what you decided to do about it.
A. I've always been very passionate about social justice and my heart has constantly driven me to get involved with different causes. I reached a point where I wanted to create my own initiative and this is where The Beatitudes Movement was born. Through this movement I've dedicated myself to support causes I believe in while making positive changes. 

Q. What is the Beatitudes Movement and how can others get involved?

A. The Beatitudes Movement is an initiative that encourages people to put their blessings in action.

To reach out to others and spread love in the world.

The word ‘beatitudes’ means ‘blessings’, and with this movement I organize different events where we raise funds or collect items for various charities and causes. It’s been incredible and I’ve seen people get really involved and inspired. Many people have even gone on to start their own initiatives. People have shared their musical talent or art at events, spread awareness through social media, or volunteered their time for fundraisers. Anyone can get involved by contacting us at The Beatitudes Movement though the website www.thebeatitudesmovement.com 

Q. Who are some of your heros/heroins or people you look up to in this work? 

A. One person that really stands out for me is Princess Diana. Growing up, I really looked up to her as an excellent example of someone who gave so much of herself for humanity.

More and more, I see everyday people doing incredible things.

Now, I've been especially inspired by the young people of today who are so aware of issues going on around the world, and who are eager to stand up and make a difference. 

Q. What inspired you to connect with Free The Girls? 

A. I found out about Free The Girls about 5 years ago when I was cleaning out my closet and found I had some bras I was no longer using. I tried searching for a place to donate the bras, as I didn't want to just throw them out, and I found Free The Girls online.

I fell in love with the organization, what it stands for, and the amazing work Free The Girls does to help women rescued from sex trafficking.

I decided then to do a bra drive and I collected 125 bras! It was amazing! Most recently, since starting The Beatitudes Movement, I decided to do another bra drive and make it even bigger.

With the help of the community in Toronto, we collected 432 bras.

It's an incredible feeling knowing that these bras will help provide opportunities to women for a better life. I look forward to doing more bra drives in the future to support Free The Girls. 

Q. What are some of your plans for the Beatitudes Movement in the coming year? 

A. At the moment, we are organizing a fundraiser to create 100 Blessing Bags (www.gofundme.com/100blessingbags) for the homeless in Toronto. We will be organizing an art show with live performances to raise the funds. The movement will continue to be dedicated to organizing events to support different causes within Toronto and beyond. 

Q. If you could inspire others to become everyday abolitionists too, what advice would you share? 

A. My advice to inspire others to become everyday abolitionists is to get informed about human trafficking. Some people think that human trafficking only happens in the developing world and assume it's a distant problem. Many also feel there's not much they can do. I came to realize that human trafficking happens everywhere, even in North America. 

We can all do something. 

We can educate ourselves, we can raise our voice, we can bring awareness, and we can get involved with organizations such as Free The Girls that are making a real difference and changing lives!

 

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Thank you Cari, for making an impact with your life! We're grateful for your support of Free The Girls, and for the ways you're inspiring others to become an #EverydayAbolitionist! 

Free The Girls - Blog

150 Neighbours

Cari Flammia has been named one of 150 interesting people of Scarborough who are good neighbours, community, and nation builders!


Cari Flammia credits her 24 years as a Scarborough resident to her passion for helping others.

Growing up, she was always volunteering with different youth and family initiatives throughout Scarborough. “Humanitarian work has been a real passion of mine for as long as I can remember,” she says and is so thankful to live in Scarborough where she is able to put this passion into action.

Last year Cari founded The Beatitudes Movement, an organization dedicated to humanitarian efforts. The Beatitudes Movement has collected toiletries for Toronto’s women’s shelters, undergarments for Free The Girls: Fight Human Trafficking, which helps women rescued from sex trafficking, and fundraised for Indigenous centres in Toronto as a response to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe protest. This year the Beatitudes Movement is creating Blessing Bags to distribute at homeless shelters. (www.gofundme.com/100blessingbags)

Cari is grateful to be part of the caring community that is Scarborough and says this is what makes her work possible. “Scarborough has shaped me to be the person I am. I’ve been able to thrive to make a positive difference in my community and beyond.”

“Scarborough has developed so much and this community keeps moving in a positive direction. My contribution is to continue the work I’m doing and try to inspire others and plant positive seeds.”
 

Source: 150 Neighbours

Former Child Soldier Spreads Peace Through His Toronto Cafe

City Centre Mirror - By Justin Skinner

Musician/entrepreneur Emmanuel Jal finds ways to give back

  Jal Gua Organic Cafe bra donation   Justin Skinner/Metroland   Cari Flamnia (left) and Emmanuel Jal are holding an event to collect bras for human trafficking victims in developing nations.

Jal Gua Organic Cafe bra donation

Justin Skinner/Metroland

Cari Flamnia (left) and Emmanuel Jal are holding an event to collect bras for human trafficking victims in developing nations.

Emmanuel Jal’s childhood was taken from him, but he still does all he can to ensure he can give back.

The former child soldier – he was forced to join the Sudan People’s Liberation Army at the age of seven – is making a difference through music and with his Moss Park-based Jal Gua Café. Despite the early hardships he faced, Jal manages to remain positive and to spread that positivity to those he encounters.

“I had to grow up right away,” he said of his past. “You have to learn to cook for yourself, learn to kill, learn to survive. Your father’s not there, your mother’s not there. Your gun becomes your father.”

Fortunately, Jal was one of the lucky ones who managed to escape his forced service. Along the way, he lost most of his family in the war in Sudan (now South Sudan) and saw many of his friends die of starvation and dehydration.

Eventually, British aid worker Emma McCune smuggled him to Kenya where he was finally able to start living a more normal life.

Now settled in Canada, he is spreading a message of peace and love through his activism and music, and collaborations with such stars as Alicia Keys and Nelly Furtado have brought his sound to new audiences. Often fusing hip hop with African beats, Jal’s songs are rooted in positivity.

“I write music that can make me feel better,” he said. “I feel the music you listen to, you become that, so I want to write about peace.”

Jal’s memoir, War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story and a documentary film based on his life recount his story, though he is now far more focused on his current life as a musician, poet and entrepreneur.

His café at 175 Queen St. E. offers healthy food based in part on Jal’s own dietary and health needs.

“I can’t eat a lot of things, but everything in here, I can eat,” he said.

Jal Gua Café offers more than food; it’s also an event space where many of the bookings are for philanthropic causes. An upcoming event hosted by his former music manager, longtime Scarborough resident Cari Flammia, will allow people to drop off used bras which will be donated to Free the Girls, an organization that helps women escaping from sex trafficking.

Flammia’s event is part of the Beatitudes Movement, an organization she founded when she wanted to find ways to give back.

“Four years ago, I was looking for a place to donate used bras and it’s hard to find places that will take them,” she said. “I learned about Free the Girls, which works with women rescued from the sex trade in Mozambique, Uganda and El Salvador, so I got a bunch of friends together and we collected 125 bras.”

The bra donation, slated to take place from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, will also feature live music and guest speakers. For more information on the event, visit www.facebook.com/beatitudesmove

Article: City Centre Mirror