August  2018 – Hall of Power

August 2018 – Hall of Power

A group of high school seniors are challenging the stigma associated with hip hop in the Ottawa arts scene and in the general community.

In their upcoming photography exhibition, titled Hall of Power, John McCrae Secondary School’s senior photography class utilizes portraiture to shed light on the vital role that hiphop plays in giving a voice to people of all ages and genders.

The portraits highlight local hip hop artists who embody the students’ message that hiphop can be a powerful platform for discourse around mental health and female empowerment. In addition to showcasing these artists, the show hopes to bridge the gap between the local arts scene and hip hop scene, and speaks out against the disparity in funding and attention generally given to hip hop artists.

The students hope to display the show at multiple Ottawa venues in the coming months, including The Origin Arts & Community Centre, The Flavour Factory, John McCrae Secondary School, as well as at various arts festivals. They hope to leverage this platform to inspire and educate their peers about the opportunities available for young artists in the community, and to highlight the importance of the arts as a powerful avenue for social change.

To support this group of students and artists, please join us for #JustDrinks at 57 Lyndale Ave on August 21st at 6:00pm!

May 2018 – The Birth Talks Presents!

May 2018 – The Birth Talks Presents!

Around the world, about four babies are born each second of every day. The circumstances under which they are born vary drastically. Each birth story is different and unique – and does not always follow the strictly joyful narrative we tend to hear. For too long, these complex stories have remained untold, especially for women and girls from marginalized communities.

In an exciting new initiative, birth advocate and midwife-in-training Mai Ngo is teaming up with Naomi Tessler of Branch Out Theatre to give us The Birth Talk Presents!, an innovative and transformative community project that will work with women from diverse backgrounds to help them write, perform, and heal through their stories, poems, and monologues. Building on the success of Mai’s Femmy Award-winning podcast, The Birth Talks, the six-week theatre program will conclude with a public performance to share stories from women of all backgrounds, through an intersectional feminist lens that considers how race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, age and ability affect a woman’s experience of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. The performances will go beyond mainstream narratives of pregnancy to discuss loss, access, privilege, joy, pain, life transition, mourning, and – most of all – healing and resilience.

You can learn more about their project and support their crowdfunding campaign at this link

Join us to celebrate Mai, Naomi, and the women of The Birth Talks Presents! at Just Drinks on May 10 at the Happy Goat Coffee Co. on Elgin St. at 6pm!!

March 2018 – Timsle Inc.

March 2018 – Timsle Inc.

A few years ago, second-year university student Quayce Thomas found himself confused, unhealthy, and spiraling into depression and substance abuse. He was soon diagnosed with bipolar disorder following an episode of acute psychosis. Quayce was able to tackle the challenges of the condition with the help of a well-resourced and knowledgeable support network, learning together about the importance of good health, developing good routines, and being well. Quayce’s case is not unique; between the ages of 18-24, students have a heightened risk of developing a mental health condition.

Quayce’s own experience has fueled his drive to continue to learn more about mental health and the potential that cultivating a healthy lifestyle holds. Enter Timsle, the social health platform he co-founded, which combines an investment model and a social accountability network to focus on helping people build healthier, more active lifestyles and make small positive changes to their routines. The innovative online platform allows friends and family to choose categories through which they can support their loved one living with a mental health disorder. Timsle takes the focus off the struggle and frames it as a challenge for health improvement between those living with mental illness and those who care about their success.

To celebrate Quayce and learn more about Timsle, join us at JustDrinks on Tuesday, March 13, 6:30pm-8pm at Pressed Cafe on Gladstone.

January 2018 – Algonquin Aki Media Project

The Algonquin Aki Media Project aims to support the creation of media by and/or for Algonquin people [*Aki is the Algonquin/Anishinaabemowin word for land or territory]. The main focus of this project will be to raise money in order to financially support individual proposals for written or multimedia stories, and also connect successful applicants with mentorship – from Algonquin people with cultural knowledge and connections, and/or from media makers (Algonquin or otherwise) with know-how and skill-based expertise.

This project’s mission is to support the representation of Algonquin people and issues in the media, and to build community and connections around that. This includes supporting Algonquin media makers, educating and engaging non-Algonquin media makers, and providing opportunities in and beyond the media to center Algonquin interests within the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin (‘eastern Ontario’ and ‘western Quebec’). The media this project can facilitate will nourish greater overall comprehension of – and action on – what is important to Algonquin individuals and communities and the Algonquin Nation as a whole.

Come learn more about this fascinating and important project at the next JustDrinks on Wednesday, January 17, 6pm – 8pm at Impact Hub Ottawa

October 2017 – Foodsharing Ottawa

October 2017 – Foodsharing Ottawa

Canadians waste a staggering $31 billion of food each year, and it’s estimated that less than two thirds of the food that is produced worldwide is actually consumed. Waste can occur at every stage of the production process before the food gets to our table. Foodsharing Ottawa equates the lost water from food waste in North America to leaving the tap running and pouring 40 trillion litres of water down the drain.

Equally unsettling is the fact that more than half of food waste occurs after it’s purchased by us. While many regions throughout Canada and the world struggle with food insecurity, vast amounts of perfectly edible, nutritious and healthy food still end up in Canadian landfills. The financial and environmental implications of food waste are hefty, with taxpayers spending nearly $5 million a year disposing of non-composted food waste.

Foodsharing Ottawa, JustChange’s most recent grantwinner, is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization working to combat food waste and counteract its negative effects on communities and the environment. With a mission to empower people to be the change they want to see in the world by letting them participate in rescuing and sharing food, Foodsharing Ottawa has undertaken an ambitious new project to bring a community fridge to an Ottawa neighbourhood. A prime example of foodsharing, the community fridge would bring attention to the issue of food waste, help those who need the food and create a sense of community around the local area.

Join us in celebrating Foodsharing Ottawa at JustDrinks on Tuesday, November 7, 6pm-8pm at the Atomic Rooster. Let us know you’re coming!

August 2017 –  Butterfly Box

August 2017 – Butterfly Box

It is estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage or pregnancy loss in their lives. Although it is so prevalent, it’s not often talked about, leaving many families to experience their grief in isolation. The stigma surrounding pregnancy and infant loss is profound and an additional source of pain during an already devastating time. While support exists, programs are often relatively unknown and can be hard to access. And medical treatment during miscarriage and stillbirth tend to focus on physical rather than emotional treatment.

JustChange’s recent grant winner, Butterfly Box, is a platform for growing awareness and busting the stigma and taboo around pregnancy and infant loss. Butterfly Boxes contain thoughtful items and information resources and are delivered to bereaved families to support them through their grief journey. The Butterfly Boxes also engage the community in dialogue. Handwritten sympathy cards included in the box help bereaved families know their community cares about them and their experiences. Recipients of the boxes are invited to share their experiences through a story card, which will then be displayed during October 2018, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.

Butterfly Box is a partnership between Mom Friends, an organization that creates postpartum care kits for women, and Aaron’s Butterfly Run, a volunteer-led group raising money and awareness for perinatal and infant loss in Ottawa. The JustChange grant will enable Mom Friends and Aaron’s Butterfly Run to develop the first series of Butterfly Boxes to help grieving Ottawa families.

Come and celebrate Butterfly Box at JustDrinks: Heart and Crown Byward Market on September 19, 7-9pm.