Free Press
Pep talks and pieces of cake
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Pep talks and pieces of cake

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I can’t believe how quickly this week is racing by. It’s spring break, and my kid is home with me (three cheers for having the privilege of working from home). It’s a delight to have her here with me, though she watched these YouTube Kids videos on her tablet and the narration drives me a little bit bananas.

Oh well.

Today I gave a presentation. I was part of an online panel with participants from Google and two other media outlets (Shaw and QNotes.) I spent yesterday and a large part of this morning preparing my presentation about our Reader Bridge Project.

I run this project. I’m heavily involved in it, and I know it well… but that didn’t take away from the anxiety I felt about speaking out loud, in front of other people about it.

You would think that working in media and being so present online would somehow prepare me to speak in front of crowds, but no. I am usually always a wreck leading up to public speaking.

In a moment of vulnerability, right before I closed my PowerPoint presentation for the night, I sent out a tweet about how anxious I felt. It was late, and everyone was asleep, so I put my thoughts and feelings out into the void of the internet.

“I have a presentation tomorrow. I am nervous. Speaking in front of people is scary for me. Send me good vibes.”

With that I clicked off and headed to bed. Sleep didn’t come easily, even though I was exhausted.

When I woke up in the morning I checked my socials and saw that my late-night tweet had reached a few hundred people. Some of them were my online friends, and some of them were strangers. People took time out of their life to wish me luck, send me good vibes, and give me little pep talks I so desperately needed.

“You’ve got this.”

“Personalize it as much as possible. Always easier to speak about things you are connected to. It will be great. Enjoy the moment.”

“You’re strong and can accomplish anything.”

“Piece of cake. Good vibes coming at you Shelley.”

So often the internet can be a cesspool of negativity. But in moments like this, it’s so lovely to be reminded that we are not alone. That a moment of vulnerability can be met with kindness from others—both friends and strangers. Cheerleaders! Thank you for showering me with all those good vibes.

The presentation went OK. I made it through, and all the things I was nervous about didn’t happen.

Piece of cake. (More on cake later in this email!)

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Shelley Cook

Shelley Cook, Columnist

Shelley Cook


Maria Cristina de Natividad (who also goes by MC de Natividad) was recently awarded $10,000 — plus equipment rentals, training and memberships — through the BIPOC Artists Film Fund, presented by the Winnipeg Film Group and IATSE Local 856. De Natividad, who is rediscovering her Filipino heritage, will spend the funding on her film Bumalik, which means “to go back” in Tagalog.

Maria Cristina de Natividad (MC de Natividad), 34, recently received a $10,000 grant through the BIPOC Artist’s Film Fund, presented by the Winnipeg Film Group and IATSE Local 856.

This week Malak Abas wrote about the INCREDIBLE work that Velma’s House is doing in the community after a year of operation. Velma’s House in the West End is a unique, low-barrier drop-in centre for women and LGBTTQ+ people who are exploited, have an addiction, been subjected to violence or are living on the street -- a place to find many things others take for granted: a nutritious meal, rest, a shower and laundry facilities. Read about it here.

Cherie Henderson came to Velma’s House while unhoused and dealing with addiction and now serves as a volunteer and is looking forward to mentoring others in the future. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)



Janine LeGal wrote the most touching story about Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Group, which offers parents support and the chance to pay it forward. This story shines a light on the goodness and light people can put into the world during some of the darkest times families face.

Brenda Marion-Gerula (third from left) and Eddie Marion-Gerula (far right) with the volunteer-run Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Support Group wrapping gifts for a Christmas event. (Supplied)

Also, did you see the front of the Free Press today? The Southern Thunderbird Medicine Drum Group graces the front page. They drummed at yesterday’s WASAC press conference. Here's the photo:

Jets and Moose held a precursor event to their WASAC (Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre) night at Camp Manitou with an unveiling of their new WASAC Follow Your Dreams jerseys. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

And finally, that cake: Aaron Epp wrote about Dayna Olson, who volunteers in a delicious way to helps make kids’ birthday parties magical through Cakes for Kids Winnipeg. Olson and other volunteers bake birthday cakes for kids who would otherwise not get one. This story is sweet!

Dayna Olson bakes birthday cakes for children who would not otherwise get one.(Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

What I've been working on

Progress, like a song, takes a while to get in tune

During lulls in the day, when my partner has a few spare moments between online meetings and work, he picks up his acoustic guitar and strums, practising notes and chords, turning them into songs. Read More

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The Village voice

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Let’s wash our hands of germ-filled form of greeting

Wow, I take three days off and people are out there trying to bring handshakes back. Read More


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