Celebrating 150 years of being nice with ROOTS
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Canadian is that they are genuinely really nice people. They have a reputation for being warm, kind, open hearted, and welcoming. There are no restricting borders surrounding this beautiful country I choose to call home. I remember it well, September 30th 2015, when I arrived at Toronto Pearson with my life packed into two suitcases, I was welcomed with open arms. I wasn't interrogated, I wasn't judged, I wasn't denied entry, I was accepted.
This week on Gas & Gander, I'm talking about one of my favourite brands, Roots, and their partnership with WE, a global organization and youth empowerment movement founded in 1995 by human rights activists Craig and Marc Kielburger.
In celebration of Canada's 150 Year anniversary, we Canadians, immigrants, expats, and everyone in this country, we're coming together, east coast to west coast and redefining what it means to be nice thanks to the Root's Be Nice campaign.
Partnering with a charity such as WE, the Be Nice campaign is helping to provide the necessary tools in order to change the world for the greater good. We have the choice to wake up in the morning and be nice people, to really make an impact on someone's day. No act of kindness is ever wasted.
Nice is overcoming obstacles and helping to find solutions to problems at home and abroad. From Canada's first gay marriage, Newfoundland's response to 9/11, and the welcoming of Syrian refugees. Nice is Canadian. Citizenship and Immigration Canada have welcomed 40,081 Syrian refugees as of January 2017, that number has grown substantially since then thanks to the #WelcomeRefugee initiative.
From now until July 1st 2017 - Canada Day, the Roots Be Nice campaign will host a series of public-facing events online and in-store that will celebrate the very best of our home and and native land. The nice™ Fundraising Program, the Roots Search for Canada's Nicest Person, the cross-Canada Roots Pop-Up Shop and the nice™ Roots Artspace will all encourage Canadians to Be Nice in different ways.
In honor of its commitment to be nice, Roots is raising funds for WE's Indigenous Youth Empowerment Programming with the Roots nice™ button. The nice™ buttons are $3 for two, that's one for you and one for someone who inspires you with their niceness. Roots have set a minimum goal of $150,000 for this fundraising project which will empower indigenous youth to be leaders in their communities. The nice™ button is available online here and at all Roots stores across Canada. 100% of profits from these buttons will benefit the cause.
The program outcomes include increased academic achievement and engagement, strengthened sense of belonging and community, inspiration and support for youth to participate in their communities as leaders and role models, and exploration and celebration of personal and cultural identity.
Roots are also searching for Canada's Nicest Person, an initiative to identify one Canadian who will win $10,000 to be donated to a charity of their choice. Up until May 28th, Canadian residents will have the opportunity to nominate Canada's Nicest Person via social media with the hashtags #BeNice and #RootsIsCanada.
Between June 5th-18th, the top 10 Nicest Canadian finalists will be posted at www.roots.com and across Roots social media channels, where we, the public, will have an opportunity to vote for our favourite. Canada's Nicest Person will be announced on June 20th. Keep an eye on Instagram and Twitter, who will you be rooting for?
Between May 15th and June 1st, as part of the #BeNice campaign, the windows of the Roots flagship stores located in some of the country's highest traffic areas, will be transformed into free art installations, featuring the work of both emerging and internationally acclaimed Canadian artists. The flagship store at Toronto's Eaton Centre has been transformed by artist Elicser Elliot, who created three custom windows and the flagship on Robson in my very own city, Vancouver, has been taken over by Ilya Viryachev's incredible artwork.
So, come on, what are you waiting for? It's time to get up, time to make a change, paint a smile on your face and #BeNice today, tomorrow, and everyday after that. Thank you Roots Canada for reminding me that it really doesn't take a lot to make a change and as little as $3 for a nice™ button will go a long way. Join the WE Movement, take the pledge, and together WE will change the world.