I’ve never been one for resolutions, per se. But I do find myself, quite naturally, thinking ahead about what I would like the year ahead to look like and what I’d like to see come to pass.

By many accounts, 2015 was not a good year for our planet. The events in Paris in November were one large reminder of the kinds of strife that plague our world, so the themes of my own personal wishes for the year ahead are that war would be replaced by peace and suffering would be replaced by hope and joy in as many places as possible.

To that end, another piece of news from November energizes and excites me. Thinking Forward had set a goal to be delivering our anti-bullying programming in 15 Toronto schools by the end of 2015, and with a month to spare, the number was brought to 16. That means that over 1100 students were actively encouraged in making positive life choices, and a similar number will take part again this coming year. This is all thanks to the many volunteers and donors that make this programming possible (and that could include you in 2016 – please consider clicking the ‘Get Involved’ or ‘Donate’ tabs at the top of this page to find out how you can be part of this difference-making initiative!).

How do these things relate? Can a few classrooms featuring anti-bullying education really change our world?! I truly believe they can – think of those numbers of children being taught to value others, and to work together for a stronger community. Then think of those who have come before them, and who will follow them, and all those who they will influence. And also consider that this is happening in Toronto; in most facets of culture such as music and art, fashion, new schools of thought and so on, the movement of a trend almost always begins in major cities and radiates outward. So if Toronto is moved and changed in positive directions that seek an end to bullying, these children will set new and positive momentum that could sweep a nation. As well, due to the fact our city is culturally diverse like few others in history, we are uniquely positioned to have global influence as well, as our children and their families speak into the lives of people in other places. So I’m not only happy to be supporting the work Thinking Forward does, but I’m excited for the imprint its work will have on this year, and on the years to come.