Time to Open our Eyes

According to Children’s Mental Health Ontario, one in five children under the age of 19 in Ontario has a mental health problem. This can be disruptive to a student’s ability to learn and could impact not only them but their peers as well. Mental health issues in students can lead to poor grades, poor behavior, and even dropping out.

It can be especially hard on students, with the endless talk about Covid-19. That said 1 great tip: find ways to keep Covid-19 out of your conversations and try to establish a new “normal” as much as possible. These are unprecedented times and students may feel hopeless and helpless as the pandemic is something that is out of their control. Keep things fresh and exciting, change up how you deliver content and how you interact with students, this can help increase your ability to engage and empower our young leaders.

We recommend you visit https://smho-smso.ca/emhc/, https://cmho.org/teacher-resources/, and https://mentalhealthliteracy.org/  for ideas on how to support students when it comes to mental health and practices you can implement to help build confidence, relationships, and self-awareness. Recognizing mental health issues early and being proactive in schools will help end the stigma about having a mental health issue and ensure students get the necessary help as soon as possible!

By Sunny Dhaliwal


One of the primary consequences of poverty is the lack of access to a sufficient quantity of healthy and balanced food, which is what private charitable organizations, such as food banks, are trying to address. The fight against hunger is real. 

​This article discusses how food banks work, their impact on many individuals and families, and the unfortunate hunger cases that are continuously rising because of the Covid-19 pandemic

What is a Food Bank?

A food bank is a non-profit organization with the primary role of storing food donations from various sources and passing them on to charities (agencies) with direct access to people experiencing hunger. The goal is to supply and distribute food to hunger-relief foundations. It is also a network of programs run by volunteer agencies. Many of these organizations do a evert thing they can to relieve the hunger problem in the U.S. and beyond. 

There are numerous food banks operating in different regions in the country. They vary from small to large scale operations, depending on the number of connections throughout their network and the size of the population that is in need of assistance. Second Harvest here spans over several counties and supplies more than 100 local agencies.

How Does Food Banks Work?

The ability of food banks to provide people in need with essential food and commodities depends mostly on donations from individuals and other charitable organizations. It is truly a product of collective effort. 

Food banks collect food from several sources like: 

  • First-hand producers and farmers who donate fruits, vegetables, milk, etc. 
  • Companies in the food industry provide all kinds of products: dry, frozen, refrigerated, canned, etc. Like Walmart, Sysco, and other local grocery stores. 
  • The general public also donates money, goods, and non-perishable food. 

When the donations reach the food banks, they sort, manage, and store these food supplies in their warehouses with the greatest care for hygiene and food safety rules. The necessary equipment (facility, cold rooms, refrigerated trucks) are financed, such as operating costs by subsidies from communities, donations from companies, service clubs, and individuals.  

Fortunately, food banks are able to offer a wide variety of products and services to those who need them. People can enjoy food with all kinds of nutritious sources. This assistance aims to meet the basic needs of individuals who have difficulty eating or buying necessities to have a good quality of life. 

Distribution centers have always offered a free choice of what foods people can take with them. Thus, they leave the centers with products they have chosen from the different food categories: proteins, starches, vegetables, dairy products, etc. 

For most organizations, distribution is done weekly or monthly, i.e., people wishing to receive food aid must go to the establishment during the period scheduled for the distribution. Second Harvest themselves provides several Mobile Fresh locations throughout the month.  

Why Food Banks Are Important

The Fight on Hunger has been a lifelong issue that we will never give up fighting. But given the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, people need food aid even more. ​

More than half of households were already using aid measures like the national school meals program. The USDA said – In New York, for example, breakfast and lunch are free in schools. Despite the closure of schools since mid-March, the city has also set up distributions of free meals in front of the doors of 400 schools. And since the beginning of April, help has been open to all residents. San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties have been doing similar setups to make sure children are getting as much assistance as possible. 

The Need for Food Banks In Times of Covid-19 Pandemic

America’s food crisis was severe even before the Covid-19 pandemic. About 37 million people lived in households without sufficient resources to ensure constant access to enough food for active and healthy lives. 

The disastrous economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to leave tens of millions of people unable to purchase enough food to feed their families this holiday and probably until into the next year. 

During the quarantine/isolation period, food banks are particularly called upon to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people. Nationally, the demand for help in food banks and pantries has increased since the virus forced the economy to shut down, resulting in more than 40 million new jobless claims. We fear that the most recent escalation could create a similar lock down scenario like we saw earlier in the year. 

Because of the health crisis, hundreds of thousands of employees have been laid off. Likewise, thousands of self-employed people suddenly had to cease all their activities. Consequently, a large part of the population finds itself plunged into a situation where it can no longer meet its needs. 

Food banks have had to respond to agrowing and unforeseen demand for food aid like never before. 

Make A Difference Today!

What seems ordinary to some people may already be luxury and an essential provision for the most deprived. Food banks are the manifestation of the desire of individuals to help others and, therefore, create a better world. 

A large number of food distribution centers remain open to ensure continuity of food aid and, above all, to provide for families and assist them in their rehabilitation needs. 

If you or anyone you know wants to take part in mobilizing our objective to help reduce the hunger crisis in our country, visit us here to learn how food banks work and create an impact on the world!  

Written by: Second Harvest of the Greater Valley


Start Your New Year Off Right and Take Flight

Start your New Year off right and take flight
With the New Year starting here are some great ways to ensure that you hit the ground running and have a fantastic year!

⦁ Create a fitness plan
⦁ Find a volunteer opportunity
⦁ Create high trust relationships
⦁ Clean your desk
⦁ Write a personal mission statement or mantra
⦁ Schedule more family time
⦁ Don’t let others people’s opinions of you make you become negative
⦁ Get a new hairstyle
⦁ Write your top 10 goals to complete in 2022! Use S.M.A.R.T goals to increase your success rate
⦁ Get in touch with people in your network that you may have lost touch with
⦁ Do something that scares you! Facing your fears builds character
⦁ Find ways to de-stress
⦁ Take & complete the flightunit’s 7 Day Leadership Challenge
⦁ Start saying the flightunit slogan “Soar Above” to create a leadership mindset when responding to your daily decisions

Be sure to select at least 2 of our suggestions and commit to them and your own personal growth and success, great luck on making 2022 a special one!!

by Sunny Dhaliwal

Being a Leader During Covid-19

January 30th, 2022 will mark the world’s 2nd anniversary of COVID-19 declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Overnight, Covid has changed the way the whole world interacts with each other. Individuals, families and friends have been physically separated; the term virtual has taking on a new meaning as both workforces and academia have been forced to embrace virtual modes of communication and learning. This virus has changed many of our norms. With no foreseeable end date in sight, it is time that we start to change our perspective on our reality. Although not a new concept, change is something that we all struggle to embrace. Throughout our life one thing that is forever present is change, the more we resist it, the more difficult it will be for us to see the silver lining and be able to adjust, adapt and thrive. There are many negative and positive changes that have come out of this pandemic that we should not close our eyes to. Everyone in the world now has shared lived experienced together and this has granted us a greater sense of healthy habits, awareness of others, humanity & compassion.

The mindset of a leader is one that acknowledges that there are many routes to get to 1 destination, or simply put, there are more solutions than there are problems. In today’s social climate it is very easy to complain, get upset or be frustrated. When we allow our circumstances to control our thoughts, feelings and actions this is a clear indicator that we have given away some of our power to be happier people. We all have the ability to be better leaders within our own lives by turning our lemons into lemonade. Although it may sound nice on the ears, what does that really mean? When we encounter a new obstacle, it tells us a lot about ourselves, from the way we choose to respond, to our actions and our ability to make better future decisions to bring about greater growth and happiness. For instance, if you are late for an important event, do you get mad at yourself and put yourself in a negative headspace? Or do you focus on instant changes you can make that will push you in a positive direction and promote future growth and well being?

Today we at flightunit would like to challenge you not to wait for something to happen to inspire you to take initiative. Be bold, make some changes to improve your outlook on life by looking at the areas in your life that you can begin to make some gradual changes towards to enhance your mindset. Being a leader revolves around believing in the power of change and taking steps (big or small) in a positive direction. The more positive change(s) we can bring about in our lives, the more positive thoughts we will naturally generate and the more positive energy we will emit and feed off of as like things attract. Furthermore, it is important to never forget about “the domino effect”, simple changes can have huge impacts on us, those around us and how things play out.

Although life is not always easy we each have an undeniable light inside of us that can illuminate any room. In order for us to turn on our light we each need to recognize the power of our daily decisions and the immense role we each play in inspiring and influencing each other.

The pandemic has made us as a human race aware of our societal issues that we must come together in order to solve. These critical issues require our immediate attention; from race relations, the environment to our lack of focus on mental health. The times that we are living in will undoubtedly go down in history; the question we must ask ourselves as individual is; will we allow our circumstance define us or will we be author of how we respond to the challenges before us? How do we as a society want to be remembered? As a special group of people that made changes for the well-being of future generations or for being selfish individuals who passively watched things get worse? Everyday we each need to ask ourselves questions that inspire us to live as better leaders and versions of ourselves. On that note I would like to challenge you to incorporate the flightunit Mantra into your day in order to bring out the leader within you,

“I am a leader & I have the power to change outcomes”.

By Christoff Kyere

The Power of Teamwork

We all have heard the name Michael Jordan, the man who is arguably the greatest basketball player to ever touch a basketball. Although Jordan was an unbelievable talent it took him 7 years to truly understand the concept of teamwork to win an NBA Championship. To become a basketball “God” Michael trained relentlessly which allowed him to become the leader & captain of the Chicago Bulls Basketball team. In reflecting on Michael historic journey his true challenge was to get himself and the players around him to buy into the concept of teamwork. This process taught “MJ” the principles of teamwork as he had to learn how to both engage and work with his teammates at a high level in order to establish the best cohesive unit in basketball. As an individual he was electric, but as a team they were dominant. This transition did not come easy to Mike and required him to step outside of his comfort zone. In order for Michael Jordan to step outside of his comfort zone he had to recognize the immense benefits of teamwork which clearly outweighs that of individual accomplishments. It is important to understand that upon entering into the NBA Jordan was terrorizing the league and piling up every individual award possible. From rookie of the year, slam dunk champion, scoring champion, defensive player of the year, and MVP titles, it was evident that Michael could do everything except win an NBA Championship title.

When Phil Jackson became Jordan’s head coach he knew that in order for the Chicago Bulls to become a championship caliber team he would have to transform Jordan’s mentality from me to we. This process took about 4 years and during this period Michael had to change his approach in how he interacted with his team members. He had to become a better communicator, this consisted of being able to listen to the concerns of each player as well as, speak to the team goals and hold each player and himself accountable to a higher standard of operating. He had to be more observant so that he could see the strengths and weaknesses of each teammate. Beyond that Michael had to do some personal reflection and soul searching to understand the role he played in both supporting the growth & success of the Chicago Bulls & conversely its downfall.

Through embracing the benefits of teamwork and trusting in each of his teammates the Chicago Bulls were able to win 6 NBA Championship titles and become one of sport’s dynasties. Although Michael was able to win 6 championships the transferable skills sets acquired in becoming a team player enhanced his life forever. Michael Jordan was able to recognize that through being a catalyst to improving his teammates he was able to raise both his individual and their collective value, this helped to cement his legacy as basketball royalty. Throughout your personal journey always remember that to accomplish anything substantial in life teamwork is required or simply put “TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK”.

By Christoff Kyere

What’s on your Mind?

As a student, I feel quadmester’s are incredibly quick and at times very stressful for everyone. In one breathe it has been extremely trying but at the same time I have been able to see some benefits from this experience which include being able to dedicate my time towards two subjects instead of four.

From my perspective quadmesters are very chaotic for both students and teachers alike. From our new schedules to the amount of pressure put upon us, it can be downright overwhelming. Things are incredibly uncertain as not many people have a good idea of what is really going on, including the staff. Although the new school year has been challenging it does feel good to be back in the building. This whole situation has taught me about the need and importance of being flexible.

Moving forward, one thing that is clear is we need more strong leaders who are ready to help push us through these difficult times. Strong leaders can help to calm the tides and influence the way our school and school boards are responding. On that note if you are having troubles with the current system, don’t be afraid to act as a leader and communicate with your student peers, school administrative team & the board; ask questions in order to bring about new solutions and opportunities. It is important to make yourself heard as a leader.

Editorial of the month is by Student- Avery

Kindness & Caring is a Pathway to Greater Leadership

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)
Dr. King dedicated his life to ending racial and economic inequality. Through his journey he exemplified and embodied kindness & caring. It is clear that this theme was central to his upbringing as we see this in his character and through his messages. Furthermore it had undoubtedly allowed him to have an unprecedented level of understanding and vision of the people he led, taught and influenced. Research shows that teaching social and emotional skills like kindness, caring and peaceful problem solving in schools can have huge impacts on student’s lives and their circles. These skills not only improve our lives but can also create impactful change just as Dr. King did in advancing the call for greater equality. The teaching of Dr. King’s work inspires leadership and shows us all that when we speak and operate from a sincere place we can unify minds and hearts across the globe. That said we would like to honor Dr. King for his endless commitment and effort towards the struggle and emancipation of the oppressed. Dr. King you are a truly renowned hero and your astonishing legacy continues to live on today!

Top 16 Skills Needed in 2020 and Beyond 

  1. Tech Savviness

The days when employees could get by without possessing up-to-date technical skills are long gone. The Fourth Industrial Revolution — which refers to technologies such as autonomous vehicles, digital healthcare sensors, and facial ID recognition — is changing how we work, live, and interact with our peers. Employers want to hire candidates who are comfortable adapting to new technologies.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Forbes reports that emotional intelligence ranks high on employers’ wish list. Applicants who can recognize and respond to their own emotions and the emotions of others are in high demand, as this skill allows them to navigate the complexities of social interactions in the workplace.

3. Decision-Making

Every decision made by an employee can have an impact on the entire company. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they know how to identify and evaluate options and then make sound decisions that will positively impact company productivity, employee morale, and the team as a whole rank high on a hiring manager’s wish list.

4. Problem-Solving Capabilities

Hiring managers often ask interviewees to talk about a time when they solved a complex problem in a creative or innovative way. They ask this question to learn if an applicant can approach a dilemma from various angles and find out-of-the-box solutions. Candidates who possess refined problem-solving skills stand out from their peers.

5. Leadership

There are a variety of soft skills that help people become better leaders, including communication skills, problem-solving skills, and project management skills. Individuals who take time to work on the competencies that grow their leadership abilities may find that it’s easier to land the jobs they want.

6. Conflict Resolution

Conflict in the workplace can hinder productivity and increase employee turnover rates. This makes employees who have the ability to work through and move past disagreements with their peers valuable.

7. Written Communication Written communication encompasses everything from contracts to emails. Individuals who are unable to compose clear, concise, error-free messages are unlikely to get ahead in the workplace.

8. Verbal Communication

Strong verbal communication skills help people relay information clearly and concisely. This saves time and helps avoid the misinterpretation of messages. Hiring managers look for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively

9. Creativity

A growing number of companies are turning to technology and automation to streamline processes. However, the need for creative individuals who can help design products and solutions for tomorrow remains strong.

10. Adaptability

Technology is ever-changing, and managers want to hire people who are willing to learn. The ability to adapt to change in the workplace is more important than ever.

11. Negotiation

It’s one thing to have a great product or concept. It’s another to be able to persuade people to buy into it. Strong negotiation skills are a must-have in the workplace, regardless of whether an employee works in sales or project management.

12. Willingness to Actively Help Others

Companies understand that if they want to gain a competitive edge, they need to hire managers who can build successful teams. Team members who work together and help each other so they can succeed as a unit are valued in the workplace.

13. Collaboration

Teamwork is a critical attribute in the workplace, and it’s not unusual for hiring managers to ask about your ability to function on a team. When companies are tasked with complex projects, employees’ ability to collaborate with others becomes increasingly important.

14. People Management

The ability to manage people is arguably among the most important leadership skills that hiring managers look for, because this skill has a direct impact on productivity and morale. Individuals who possess strong people-management skills can help lead teams through workplace transitions and periods of uncertainty.

15. Critical Thinking

Critical thinkers understand that problems aren’t always black and white. They’re able to view a problem from all angles and understand how to analyze and evaluate the information they have, before they make a decision. It’s not surprising that employers look for candidates who are capable of high-level thinking about complex problems.

16. Time Management

Learning how to manage your time effectively will serve you well throughout your career. Not only will it allow you to accomplish more in less time, but strong time-management skills can help you focus and be more successful in the workplace.

By Michael Bruno

2018 Toronto Black Film Festival

After last year’s success, the 6th annual Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) has returned! If you’re looking for an event to celebrate black history month, the TBFF is a wonderful way to appreciate the works of black directors from across the globe.

From February 14th to 19th, 2018, you will have the chance to view over 60 films from 20 different countries. Don’t miss this event – it might be your only chance to see some of these films!

Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, the TBFF promotes diversity on- and off-screen and gives minorities a voice.  For more information on this special event, visit www.TorontoBlackFilm.com

5 Easy Ways to Get (and Stay) Healthy

1. Act Like You Live in a Desert: Drink a TON of Water

I know, you’ve heard this before. Then why haven’t you started doing it?

Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated, it also keeps your skin looking healthier, aids in digestion, and gives you more energy. Do your best to cut out soda, juice, and alcohol – try to stick to water (and the occasional glass of milk). For the best results, drink at least five glasses of water a day.

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Feather #1: Me, Myself, and I

We are seldom aware of the power of our own presence. The presence of a single person can alter conversations and drastically change the overall mood. It is important to understand what type of influence we currently have and want to have on others.

Me, Myself, and I is the foundation principle of our “Feather” system. We have chosen this as our first Feather to emphasize the importance of self, self-awareness, and self-development. We believe that in order to advance in life, one must commit to their personal growth. Our daily choices dictate the boundaries of our growth – they can be our road to success or our path to failure. Discovering who we are is no simple task, but when we do, we unlock the keys to our success.

Questions for Reflection:
1) What motivates me?

2) What are my thoughts and beliefs?
a) Am I confident in them?

3) Who do I surround myself with?
a) What impact are they having on me?
b) What do we have in common?

4) Where do my thoughts take me when my mind wanders?
a) Are these thoughts positive and allow me to grow or are they negative and are harmful?

5) What are the major influences on my decision-making process? (e.g. personal success, public opinion, time commitments, ego, media, etc.)
a) Does how I spend my time reflect this?
b) How do these influences enrich me as a person?

Bonus Questions:
This Feather is so important for growth and success, we have provided bonus questions that will allow for a thorough self-examination.

6) Am I honest with myself and others?
a) Can others be brutally honest with me?

7) Am I aware of my mistakes?
a) Am I learning from them?

8) Which has a greater impact on my decisions, fear or courage?

9) Am I able to forgive others?
a) Am I able to forgive myself for my thoughts and actions?
b) Can I face conflict with the goal of reaching a resolution and learning from it?

10) What do I want people to say about me when I am not around them?

Benefits of Feather #1:
There’s an English writer named John Brown who said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Everything begins and ends with us. The choice to be phenomenal or to live a disappointing life lies within our hands. We are creatures of habit – it is crucial that we develop the right habits and a growth mindset for success. With the right mindset we can become unstoppable!

Set 2 goals for yourself to aid in your growth for the current month:

Tips for success:
1) Allocate time to reflect everyday
2) Do not limit yourself

Feather #2: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health

Our physical, mental, and spiritual health play a significant role in shaping our ability to live life to the fullest. Although we are complex creatures, we are a single mind, body, and soul, and therefore everything we do impacts every aspect of our well-being. It is important to have balance to ensure that we are creating greater opportunities for growth, health, and happiness.

Questions for Reflection:
1) How physically active am I?

2) Do I take the time to learn what I am putting into my body?

3) Do I have faith in a higher power?
a) If so, how am I developing and strengthening my faith?

4) Am I aware of what causes me stress?
a) What do I do to de-stress?

5) Do I have a support system?
a) If so, who is a member of my support system?

Benefits of Feather #2:
When we acknowledge the different aspects of ourselves, we enhance our ability to live enriched lives. Other benefits of being balanced include increased self-confidence, energy levels, and happiness.

Set 2 goals for yourself to aid in your growth for the current month:

Tips for success:
1) Clarify what mind, body, and soul mean to you
2) Surround yourself with people that align with your definition of mind, body, and soul

Feather #3: My World

Our greatest life experiences are usually made by the people that we are with or the challenges that we face. Every day, we have the ability to be better people and to expand our view of the world. What we focus on is what we see. This is why all of our worlds are uniquely different. The people that we interact with can give our lives greater perspective, and the challenges that we conquer can give our lives greater meaning.

Questions for Reflection:
1) Am I making my world a better place? If so, in what way(s)?
a) If not, what should I do differently?

2) What elements make up my world (e.g. social media, music, people, culture, religion, etc.)?
a) How does each element impact my reality?

3) Are the things and people that I devote my time to helping me grow into a better person?

4) What does my ideal world look like?

5) What things do I care most about (e.g. house, people, school, environment, countries, justice, electronic devices, etc.)?
a) Do my actions and interests reflect what I care most about?

Benefits of Feather #3:
Many times in life we miss exciting opportunities and experiences because we have created too small of a world for ourselves to live in. When we expand our world, we create new opportunities and chances for greater levels of growth and gratification.

Set 2 goals for yourself to aid in your growth for the current month:

Tips for success:
1) Take on the responsibility of making your world a better place
2) Be open-minded to new ideas so that you can expand your world

Feather #4: Passion and Purpose

Passion can take a long time to discover but it is worth the pursuit. Passion is one of life’s greatest compasses. It is the driving force behind our purpose in life and has the ability to light up our soul. Passion pushes us and sparks creativity, excitement, ingenuity, and problem-solving. Passion takes on different forms and can be found in many areas of life including relationships, health, dreams, aspirations, interests, and hobbies.

Questions for Reflection:
1) What does passion mean to me?

2) What things am I most passionate about?
a) How do I show that passion?

3) Do my decisions take me out or keep me in my comfort zone?
a) Are my decisions spontaneous or planned?

4) Am I doing enough exploring to discover new passion(s)?

5) Is my passion making me happy?

Benefits of Feather #4:
When we understand what we are passionate about, we can reach greater levels of achievement. Passion gives us the strength to make the impossible possible.

Set 2 goals for yourself to aid in your growth for the current month:

Tips for success:
1) Explore and discover new areas of interests and passion
2) Work to overcome your fears in order to expand your comfort zone

Feather #5: Enlightenment

The human brain is one of the most spectacular things within the universe. When this 3 pound object is on, it has the ‘power to move mountains’ and change the world. When we open our minds to learn our ability to grow as people is limitless. When we embrace a growth mindset it permits us, and those around us to have greater capacity to achieve or as Nelson Mandela put it, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”.

1) Do I allow myself to step outside my comfort zone and try new things?

2) Am I surrounding myself with new ideas and interests/concepts?

3) Am I allowing stereotypes to define who I am? My interests?

4) On a daily basis, am I training myself for success or failure?

5) Do I have the courage to partake in conversations on new topics with my friends and/or new people?
a) In what ways might my conversations be limited?

Benefits of Feather #5:
The power of our minds is remarkable, the mind is responsible for our navigational & our breathing systems and so much more. Many leading medical journals (including the National Institute on Aging) have touched on the numerous benefits of learning and mental stimulation including renewing us and starving off diseases such Alzheimer and dementia. There are several ways to stimulate our mind such as; engaging conversation, playing a challenging game, learning to play a new instrument or learning to speak a new language, etc. These acts provide us with immeasurable returns on our lives. Below we have provided a diagram of the circle of healthy living.

The Circle of Healthy Living

Set 2 goals for yourself to aid in your growth for the current month

Tips for success:
1)Keep your mind sharp by learning something new each day

2)Constantly challenge yourself