Hi! Thanks for your interest in checking out my work. I’m a dynamic and passionate writer with experience creating high-quality print and digital content. Here I have collected just a few of my favourite pieces in various publications. I also self-publish a considerable amount of my own personal writing, which is available on my blog or on Buy Me A Coffee.
Note: These are only short excerpts; click the embedded links in the headlines to read the full pieces. Please note that I have only included content which is freely available online, under my own byline.
Fighting the Literacy Epidemic Inside Canada’s Correctional Facilities
(The Shield Journal Vol. 2, February 2022)
Canada has one of the highest education rates in the world. Despite this, one in six Canadians struggle with everyday reading and writing. This statistic climbs higher still when you examine literacy rates inside Canadian penitentiaries.
Book Clubs for Inmates is a non-profit registered charity that organizes volunteer-led book clubs within federal correctional facilities across Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.
According to BCFI’s Executive Director Tom Best, literacy can profoundly affect an inmate’s life, both while inside and outside of prison. Books can expand one’s horizons in dramatic and unexpected ways, especially when it comes to building empathy. And that, he says, is an important skill to have inside a prison.
Meet the ‘Detector Dogs’ Keeping Contraband Out of Canadian Prisons
(The Shield Journal Vol. 2, February 2022)
As the substance abuse crisis continues to rage across Canada, correctional institutions across the country are feeling the strain.
According to a 2020 report by Dalhousie University, opioid-related deaths inside correctional facilities are on a steady incline. In 2017 alone, there were 70 overdoses inside Canadian prisons. A 2016 report by CMAJ Open found that post-release, a prisoner’s risk of overdose is more than 50 times higher than the general population. This is why it’s critical to keep illegal substances from entering and circulating our prison systems in the first place.
One of the ways Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has been combating this ongoing health emergency has been through their highly successful Detector Dog Program. While these canine drug busters may be ‘pawsitively’ adorable, they play an important role in CSC’s wider National Drug Strategy.
Tips for Talking With Teens About Gender Identity
(#Youth Magazine Vol.5, November 2021)
Part of being a teen is exploring who you are. A big part of this includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
It may seem scary to broach this topic with your teen. But as kids feel more and more comfortable expressing and exploring their true selves at an early age, it’s more important than ever for your teen to understand that it’s safe for them to come to you with any questions or concerns they may have.
This article will equip you, the parent, with a basic understanding of gender identity and provide a few handy tips and tricks on how to have a constructive conversation about it with your teen.
The Bridge With A Love Story On Donevan Trail
(Lady Latitudes, May 2021)
This hidden gem nestled in Ontario’s Thousand Islands is a testament to love and community.
The first time I saw Kay’s Bridge, tucked into the landscape along Donevan Trail at the Landon Bay Centre just outside Gananoque, ON, I was almost too exhausted to notice its beauty.
I wasn’t much of a hiker back then. To make matters worse, I was being upstaged by a 90-year-old man. It was a hot day in August 2014. I was trailing behind my mom and younger brother as we hiked, trying (and failing) to hide my exhaustion.
Charlie Donevan, the trail’s namesake, was leaving all three of us in the dust.
“Come on, keep up!” he called over his shoulder, sauntering along the rocky trail like a man more than half his age. Although he must have walked this trail hundreds of times, Charlie looked at the unassuming stone bridge as if he were seeing it for the first time.
Although Kay’s Bridge was built in 2010, it represents a love story that goes back more than 50 years. A story about a man and his deep love for his family, as well as the history, the land and the community that raised him.
Building a Brighter Future: Students and educators remain optimistic about the future of Canadian policing amid #BLM criticism
(The Shield Journal, February 2021)
When 26-year-old Kimberly Tennant first applied to the Police Foundations program at St. Lawrence College, job stability was at the top of her mind. At the time, she planned on working in border services or private security; however, almost two years later, Tennant is now on her way to graduation and says her direction has changed completely.
In a turbulent time when many would assume that students would be shying away from joining the police force, Tennant says that she is more motivated than ever to join the community policing efforts in her area after graduation.
“Police are the first point of contact for people experiencing a mental health crisis, who are being victimized or who are putting others at risk and I want to be the one to help,” says Tennant. “With everything that has gone on, I want to be the person who commits to doing better.”
Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Goes Viral After Emotional Final Sign-Off
(The Shield Journal, March 2021)
On Dec. 17, 2020, Hastings-Quinte paramedic Graham Christie signed off for the final time after 50 years of dedicated service to the emergency medical community.
“4363, 79242 signing off.”
After a brief pause, the dispatcher’s voice came over the radio.
“Paramedic Graham Christie, today we celebrate your life dedication to the paramedic profession with your last shift prior to retirement,” the dispatcher said. “You started your career in June of 1969 – you have given over 50 years of paramedic service. Many paramedics were not even born yet while you were providing emergency medical care to so many patients.”
The emotional video of Christie’s final sign-off, posted on Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services (HQPS) Chief Doug Socha’s Twitter profile, has since gone viral with more than 750 likes and nearly 150 retweets.
“Graham is a great paramedic and I have worked with him a long time as a medic and then in this capacity,” says Socha. “I knew that [the video] would get a lot of attention but certainly did not expect the level it received. I think it really shows across the paramedic profession the comradery and respect others have in what he accomplished.”
‘Visionaries in rural paramedicine’: Renfrew County Paramedic Services Named Local Hero of the Year for 2020
(The Shield Journal, January 2021)
It has been an unprecedented year for paramedics and other emergency medical personnel. Not only are paramedics tasked with keeping up with the demanding tasks required of their jobs on a day-to-day basis, but they are also working tirelessly to keep our communities safe during a global pandemic.
Perhaps no one understands this struggle more than the members of the Renfrew County Paramedic Service, who were awarded the 2020 Local Hero award by the Renfrew Area Chamber of Commerce.
The award was presented by Chamber president and Renfrew town Councillor Tom Sidney on Dec. 8, 2020 at a virtual awards ceremony livestreamed on their Facebook page. This award was added to the Chamber’s roster of annual awards for the first time this year, making the Renfrew County Paramedic Services the first ever recipients.
“We’re absolutely delighted and humbled to be here tonight,” Renfrew County Paramedics Commander Amber Hultink said, while accepting the award. “The nomination was for an individual or a team, and I’m just one individual part of a very big team that has pulled together to have a big impact on the residents and visitors of Renfrew County.”
Lanark Highlands Fire Department receives community safety grant
(The Perth Courier, September 2020)
The Shield Journal awarded its first community safety grant to the Lanark Highlands Fire Department (LHFD) in the Township of Lanark Highlands on Aug. 24.
The department was awarded just over $3,000 to purchase a brand new Galaxy GX2 Automated Test System. This unit is used to detect the presence of Carbon monoxide (CO), providing the LHFD with a more efficient system to respond to CO leaks across the township.
“This is going to seriously improve the way we respond to calls of this nature,” said LHFD Fire Chief Gene Richardson, who has been with the department since April 2019. “These units have the latest technology, so it’s going to really simplify things for everyone involved.”
Canadian Fire Personnel Aid with Fighting Australia Wildfires
(The Shield Journal, January 2020)
Australia is no stranger to wildfires; however, the 2019-2020 fire season was one for the books.
When the first of the fires sparked in June 2019, although it was an early start to the season, no one could have guessed what lay ahead. With a severe drought affecting 95 per cent of the country, as well as persistent dry and warm conditions, the fires would only grow, and would continue to wreak havoc for months on end.
The last fire in Lake Clifton, Western Australia, was not fully extinguished until early May 2020. In that time, the fires burnt an estimated 46 million acres (or 186,000 square kilometres), destroyed more than 5,900 buildings and killed at least 34 people, including nine firefighters.
Additionally, the number of animals believed to have been killed as a result of the fires quickly climbed to over 1 billion, including a third of the New South Wales koala population. Areas affected included New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, and many more.
Economists estimated that the fires ultimately cost over $103 billion in damage and economic losses, making this Australia’s costliest natural disaster to date. This unprecedented fire season became known as the “Black Summer.”
iHuman Youth Society: Fostering Creativity and Self-Expression in Edmonton’s Youth
(#Youth Magazine, Vol. 2 Iss. 2) – PDF
Note: As the editor of this edition I had several stories scattered throughout this edition of the magazine. If you’re interested, take a flip through and check out my other stuff!
Bi-Furious and Proud
(Algonquin Times, March 2016)
“If anyone asks, can you just tell them you’re a lesbian?” That was what my first girlfriend asked me before she introduced me to her friends.
“Why?” I asked her, “I’m not… I’m bi.”
“Yeah, but it just sounds better,” she said, and shrugged it off. I couldn’t shrug it off.
When I first came out as bisexual to my family and friends, the most common response was “yeah, but you’re dating a guy right now, so why does it matter?” It matters because my identity does not change depending on who I’m dating at the time. Dating a woman doesn’t make me a lesbian and dating a man doesn’t make me straight. When I’m single, do I cease to exist at all?
More Than Bones
(Glue Magazine, Fall 2017) – PDF
Some people stay up late watching Netflix, studying, or even partying. When they go to sleep, 23-year-old Kathleen Axam is still awake, hunched over her desk in her home studio, gloves on, scrubbing at tiny animal skulls with a toothbrush until they’re clean and white. After they’re clean, they’ll be placed carefully inside beautifully intricate glass terrariums and sold for up to 150 dollars. Axam, an Ottawa-based artist, entrepreneur and taxidermist by trade, has built her business upon these terrariums. Her shop – Little Bones Ottawa – also offers various oddities like butterflies, puffer fish and even beaver and muskrat paws in frames.
The taxidermy industry has been around since the early 19th century, and it’s been a point of controversy since its inception. Traditionally, taxidermy was something you might see in the creepy section of museums: stuffed, dead animals. Many may cringe at the thought of it, but according to a 2015 article by Smithsonian Magazine, taxidermy is experiencing a “modern resurgence,” especially among young practitioners like Axam.
NOTE: I had two stories in this issue (pages 14-15), but this feature story can be found on pages 20-23.
Parkour leaps into the mainstream
(Glue Online, January 2017) – Includes video
Scaling 80 foot buildings, flipping through the air and jumping from rooftop to rooftop with nothing but pavement far beneath. For Ottawa’s parkour and free running community, this is what fun looks like. For a free runner, the world is literally a playground. The Oxford dictionary defines free running as a type of parkour that emphasizes acrobatic techniques and self-expression. Parkour athletes use nothing but their own hands, feet and sheer determination to get from Point A to Point B by any means necessary.
Parkour has recently been exploding in the media and has gained popularity as an extreme sport. It is still a fairly young sport in North America, says Oliver Wolf, a local free runner and a University of Ottawa graduate. According to Wolf, parkour began in Europe and only became popular in North America as of the last decade or so. Parkour gyms like Laws of Motion in Ottawa’s east end have been cropping up more and more, and during the winter that’s where you can find seasoned athletes like Nick Provost and Brandon Azzie, waiting out the snow and ice until they can take to the streets once again.
Glue had the chance to go see these guys in action, learn about parkour and find out what draws people to this exhilarating and extremely dangerous sport.
Members of Ottawa’s deaf community join Canadian Hearing Society picketers
(Ottawa South News, March 2017)
As Ottawa’s Canadian Hearing Society employees continue to walk the picket line, members of the local deaf and hard of hearing community are standing with them.
Gatineau resident Angèle Charlebois, 47, says she has been a client of the Canadian Hearing Society for many years. When she moved to Ottawa 14 years ago, the first thing Charlebois did was contact CHS Ottawa, and they were able to help her find a job within a year.
“CHS has significantly contributed to the successes I have lived in my life,” says Charlebois. She is now a federal public civil servant working at Canadian Heritage, where she helps accommodate managers and employees with disabilities. When Charlebois was around 27 years old, her hearing loss started to have a negative impact on her life. Now she wears a hearing aid and is assisted by her hearing ear dog guide, Candy.
“I consider myself an advocate for people with disabilities, both in my professional and personal life,” says Charlebois, who also does volunteer work in her community. “Going to CHS was the best thing I ever did in my life.”
NOTE: This story was reposted by the Hamilton Spectator after Metroland Ottawa closed in 2017.
Montfort Hospital launches new knowledge institute
(Ottawa Community News, March 2017)
Although it has been in operation for a little over a year already, Montfort Hospital officially launched the Institut du savoir Montfort, its knowledge institute, on March 24 at Montfort. The event included a chance to meet Steve, one of the ISM’s breathing, blinking and medically challenged simulation mannequins.
Dr. Bernard Leduc, president and CEO of Montfort, said the ISM is a unique institution in Ontario.
“It’s an institution that actually combines the research enterprise — generating new knowledge, with teaching,” said Leduc. “But the researchers are also very close with the clinicians, so we get the questions coming up from the clinical practices and make sure that they do the research to help solve a significant or relevant problem.”
The ISM will support the training of over 1,300 students and residents at Montfort Hospital.
The life and times of Steve Vai
(The Algonquin Times, October 2016)
Guitarist, composer and rock legend Steve Vai has had many notable achievements in the 25 years since the release of his album Passion and Warfare, including three Grammys. But in an interview with the Times in anticipation of his upcoming show at the Algonquin Commons Theatre on Nov. 2, Vai said his absolute greatest achievement thus far has had nothing to do with winning awards or record sales.
Vai told the Times his absolute greatest achievement has been his continuous dedication to following his own bliss, and his advice to Algonquin students is to do the same.
“Find out what you enjoy most, and put your attention on that,” Vai said over the phone from Kelowna, B.C. “Do what you want, as opposed to what someone else is telling you that you need. It’s a recipe for joy. You’ll never find authentic enthusiasm in something that’s thrust upon you with a demand.”
NOTE: Read my coverage of the show itself in a separate article available HERE.
Ontario students are worried about another university strike
(Student Life Network Blog, February 2018)
Contract staff at York University in Toronto are taking to the picket lines over precarious employment contracts. Students across Ontario now worry that this could be the start of another province-wide strike.
University students are concerned that bigger problems could be looming ahead. Especially after the province-wide college strike that forced students out of class for five weeks in October 2017. Rising tensions between universities and their unions all over Ontario have students wondering what this could mean for their academic futures.
Business Development Program helps turn dreams into reality for aspiring student entrepreneurs
(Glue Online, March 2017)
When Oliver Wolf, 24, joined the Business Development Program in 2016, it didn’t take long for President Nick Hamm to notice his performance, and more importantly, his results. Now, less than a year later, Wolf is the manager of his division and a head coach at the Business Development program in Ottawa. It’s not hard to move up in the business world if you’re willing to work hard and show great results, according to Wolf.
Many students and aspiring entrepreneurs have great business ideas, but often they lack the skills development and coaching it takes to make it happen. That’s where programs like the Business Development Program are ready to step in and help.
A few programs similar to the BDP – such as College Pro – already exist in Ottawa. These consulting companies are there to help students fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams with personal coaching and hands-on experience, but Wolf, who left College Pro to pursue better opportunities, says the BDP has certain qualities that sets them apart from the rest.
Machine Gun Kelly brings Alpha Omega Tour to Algonquin College
(Algonquin Times, December 2016)
Despite a last-minute date change and an ill-fated show in Kingston on Nov. 27, Machine Gun Kelly bounced back in full force and wowed a packed house full of rap fans at the Algonquin Commons Theatre on Dec. 5.
MGK’s recent Kingston show at the Ale House was unexpectedly cut short when he walked off the stage after audience members began brawling and behaving inappropriately, but that didn’t stop the young artist from continuing on the last leg of his Alpha Omega tour with enthusiasm.
When he stepped onstage, the room shook with chants of “MGK!” and the Cleveland native’s unrelenting energy as he jumped around the stage armed with a shotgun microphone stand fueled the crowd’s enthusiasm.
Metroland welcomes intern seeking her niche
(Metroland Ottawa East, March 2017)
It’s 9:30 a.m. on March 13, the very first day of my six-week field placement at Metroland Media. As I sit here trying to figure out how to introduce myself for my first official assignment, every single thing I know about writing columns seems to have escaped me. All that seems to be coming to mind is “Wow, cool, I have a desk!”
It’s safe to say I’m pretty excited to be here.
I’ve spent the last two years studying journalism at Algonquin College and during that time, I’ve gone from having no idea what I wanted to do with my life to being unable to imagine myself doing anything else.
Bring Us the 2021 Canada Summer Games!
(Ottawa Sportspage, February 2017) – PDF
Note: Co-written with Sarah Ferguson and Chad Ouellette