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Milton Stands Strong Against Bullying

August 1, 2013
Originally published in Milton Villager magazine

By Tania MacWilliam

Recent research from the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that bullying is a potential risk factor for adolescent depression and suicide for both the bullied and the bully.

A Milton-based, youth-led grassroots anti-bullying movement wants to make a difference by raising awareness about the rate and impact of bullying.

On July 6, Milton Stands Strong Against Bullying (MSSAB) hosted an event at the Milton Fair Grounds to raise awareness of crisis resources and funds for suicide prevention training.

“[We] hope to raise awareness of bullying to prevent … children from falling victim,” said Dalton Cole, 17-year-old co-founder of MSSAB, “and [ultimately] reduce future [instances of] suicide.”

Another goal of the event was to affirm MSSAB’s message that its members will no longer be bystanders.

“We won’t tolerate [bullying] anymore,” said Yianni Kioussis, the other 17-year-old co-founder of MSSAB. “I think kids all over the community are well aware of that now.”

A committee of adult volunteers, led by youth advocate Terri Naccarato, worked tirelessly to help organize the event. The youths approached Naccarato to help out after learning of her volunteer work with the Deck Youth Centre.   

Since she believes in empowering youths by guiding their passions, she happily obliged. “I feel it’s important to listen to our kids,” said Naccarato. “When they reach out to help each other, that is big and needs to be heard.”

The event featured a martial arts demonstration by the Milton Tsunami of the Academy of Martial Arts (AMA), musical performances by local youths, and guest speakers, with Mayor Gord Krantz and MP Lisa Raitt making the opening remarks.

Following Krantz’s and Raitt’s comments was an address by Milton’s own Olympic aerial skier, Travis Gerrits. He shared how it was important for him to attend the event as a way of reciprocating the support he received from the community during his journey to the Olympics.

Gerrits later spent time posing for photographs and signing autographs. He then invited attendees to sign a Canadian flag, which he plans to bring with him to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Nelson the Giant story time, face painting, and a bouncy castle entertained children while the audience listened to musical performances and speeches.

Among speech topics were mental self-defense and the bystander effect, shared by Julie Creighton and Carrie Percival of AMA.

Another topic discussed was bullying in the LGBT community. Michelle Emson, a transformational coach and inspirational speaker, shared her personal journey from self-bullying to self-acceptance.

Speeches concluded with a keynote address called “Love Your Vibe.” Elvira Hopper, an author, life coach, and inspirational speaker, shared how youths could use the lessons shared in “Love Your Vibe” to self-protect from the emotional trauma that so often results from bullying.

Money raised at the event will fund the group’s anti-bullying initiatives, with a portion donated to established community resources such as the Deck Youth Centre and the Reach Out Centre for Kids.

The overarching goal of the event was to let youths know that there are caring people in the community, including those on the MSSAB team.

“We want to let everyone know they’re not alone,” said Cole “We stand here for them.”

 A Story of Survival

Sixteen-year-old Milton resident Lauren Saelzer courageously shared her bullying survival story as the sole youth speaker at the event.

Saelzer told listeners her tale of being bullied, how she found the inner strength to overcome her darkest moments, and how she finally chose self-love over self-harm.

Saelzer recounted the moment she took control of her life back from the clutches of darkness. After what seemed like an eternity of torment, she reached her breaking point. She said she was sitting alone one day when she decided enough was enough.

There was a voice inside my head that said I have to let go,” she said in an interview with the Milton Villager. “I don’t know what it was, but I knew I couldn’t harm myself any longer.”

Saelzer confessed that getting through the pain wasn’t easy and that it didn’t go away overnight. But once you finally [realize] that you’re worth it and that you can’t let those bullies define who you are, then you feel so much better about yourself.”

Speaking at the event was a cathartic experience, Saelzer said. “When I finally got the courage and the opportunity to speak, I decided to let it go and let everyone know.”

Since the event, Saelzer has received positive feedback from youths who relate to her journey. She is thankful knowing that she isn’t alone in her experience, something she wouldn’t have realized if she hadn’t allowed herself to be vulnerable by publicly sharing her account of bullying.

With her darkness behind her, and a newfound sense of camaraderie, she looks forward to a fulfilling future. Saelzer plans to pursue her passion for helping animals by attending a related college program.

“It’s amazing how one day can change your life,” she said.

 The Backstory

MSSAB began as a Facebook group co-founded by 17-year-olds Yianni Kioussis and Dalton Cole as a response to Kioussis being bullied. The pair felt that it was important to have a virtual space where youths could share their stories and be supported. “We created this group so teens have a place to speak up,” said Kioussis. “So they’re not scared, and so they don’t feel alone.”

The group grew to 10,000 members in just six days thanks to a passionate social media campaign led by a team of six primary members. Joining Cole and Kioussis were event coordinator Ryan Ashley, 18; web designer Branden Cole, 21; team support Cory Mottram, 17, and social media manager Aaron Zomers, 15.

The group now maintains a website that allows youths to share personal stories and offers resource information; it also has a chat feature providing anonymous peer support. To keep up to date or to get involved in future MSSAB initiatives, please visit


The next dimension in manufacturing

*Originally published in Manufacturing Automation magazine. View online version here.

Resistance is futile. 3D printing is here to stay. And if you want to reap the benefits, like reducing production costs, time and waste, it would be wise to welcome this technology with open arms.

3D printing isn’t a new technology. It’s been around as long as the Internet. But it’s been garnering more media attention in the last couple of years thanks to expanding technology. The equipment has become more affordable, efficient and accessible, making it an intriguing option for progressive manufacturers.

The idea of printing a replacement toothbrush from a desktop machine could entice home users to invest in their very own 3D printer. But hobbyist use isn’t what’s getting all the attention. Industry experts think 3D printing could revolutionize the manufacturing industry.

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing uses design information from a CAD file to build up a solid object, layer-by-layer, using plastics or powders. There are many processes that can be used to print materials made from metals, glass and even bio-materials, but the most well known process of fabrication is called fuse deposition modelling (FDM). This process uses a heated nozzle that deposits fine layers of plastic on a build platform.

From a simple aircraft bracket to a complex organ to replace a failing one, the possibilities for 3D printing are endless. And there are unique processes used to produce this wide array of products.

One 3D printer manufacturer, Stratasys, offers three types machines, using three different printing technologies. The first is Solidscape technology, which uses wax to make patterns and is often used in the dental and jewellery industry. The next is PolyJet technology, which employs an inkjet process to create objects from fine layers of photopolymers while simultaneously curing them with ultraviolet light. Finally, they employ the most common method, FDM technology.

The latter is what Jeff DeGrange, vice president of direct digital manufacturing at Stratasys, calls the holy grail when it comes to potentiality. “[FDM] can be used for making functional prototypes as well as items that would be going into manufacturing, whether it be manufacturing tools or end use parts,” he says.

Waste, cost, time reduction and customization
Incorporating 3D printing technology into the production line could reduce costs by reducing manufacturing waste. Traditional subtractive manufacturing creates objects by carving them out of blocks of material. This method leaves as much as 90 per cent excess waste materials behind, according to a report published by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) titled “3D printing and the future of manufacturing.”

On the other hand, additive manufacturing creates objects that retain all the materials used in the building process. An example of the cost savings from the report showed that by using FDM to build a specialty part, costs could be reduced from $10,000 to $600.

Not only can costs and waste be reduced, but production time can also be significantly decreased. For example, a series of parts used to create the body of the Urbee, a two-passenger hybrid car, was printed in a matter of weeks.

“[It] would have taken an estimated eight to 10 months of work for two people using a more traditional manufacturing technique,” says Vivek Srinivasan, Australia regional manager for CSC’s Leading Edge Forum and a contributor to the 3D printing report.

While cost savings, waste reduction and decrease in production time are enough incentive to consider embracing 3D printing in your production line, Jarrod Bassan, a senior consultant with CSC in Australia and a contributor to the 3D printing report, believes we will see companies using 3D printing to gain a competitive advantage through direct manufacturing.

“It will allow some manufacturers to offer customization where their competitors cannot,” says Bassan. “Or offer products that have some inherent advantage which is only possible because of printing.”

An example of customization using additive manufacturing is Invisalign, a company that makes clear orthodontic retainers that are an alternative to metal braces. Patients are provided with a series of removable, customized retainers. Each retainer gradually realigns the teeth, and is changed every two weeks for a new, customized retainer. This is something that is only possible through 3D printing.
Even airplane interiors can be customized using 3D printing technology. “You can actually make a very customized interior as far as closure panels that can then get decorative treatments to make them very customized for the pilot,” says DeGrange, who spent 20 years in the aerospace industry while working at Boeing.

Mobile warehouses and keeping manufacturing at home
If you’ve ever had an appliance break down, you know the nuisance of waiting for a repair person to come out to your home, diagnose the problem and book a return date after the faulty part has been shipped to their warehouse. DeGrange thinks 3D printing could eliminate the hassle of the wait time. With information like the model number of your appliance, the repair person can build the part that needs replacing right on the spot. “The van of the repair company could have a 3D printer and they can just download the file right there in their van and build the parts that they need to fix your dishwasher,” says DeGrange.

Then there are cars. Depending on the make, its service life can be anywhere from five to 20 years and it will eventually need spare parts. “Rather than having a big warehouse of spare parts not knowing if you have too much or not enough, you can just pull up your CAD file and print out whatever quantities you need on demand where you need it,” he says.

If a manufacturer offers 3D printed replacement parts for their products, not only can they can save on storage and transportation costs, they are also able offer their consumers convenience, and happy consumers are repeat consumers.

Another benefit DeGrange sees in 3D printing is keeping manufacturing right here in North America.  A lot of jobs are sent to low-cost countries like China, Mexico and India. “We do that for a host of reasons, but ultimately it’s cost,” he says. “And you have humans in that loop. [Additive manufacturing] is basically reducing the amount of humans in that loop.”

Thanks to 3D printing, you no longer need to rely on cheap labour. All the information to build a product is in the CAD file. “You could integrate so many things in the CAD file that typically would take minutes or hours to assemble downstream and that’s why you ship things to China. Now you can bring all that home, integrate it upstream in a CAD design,” he says.

DeGrange offers fuel injectors for jet engines as an example of how labour intensive some products are to build. To begin assembling a 42-part jet engine fuel injector, you put part one and part two in a welding station and weld them together. Then those two pieces go to another welding station and another two pieces are welded together. Now it’s a four-part piece. This continues from station to station with people welding at each one of these stations. “Now you can combine all 42 parts in a CAD design and build it with an additive process, in this case it would be a direct metal process,” says DeGrange. “It goes right from the CAD file to the machine that integrates all those parts together so you remove the need for having all the different tooling stations and all the people who would have to weld at those tooling stations.”

Potential piracy
While 3D printing is an exciting innovation, it’s not without its drawbacks. Since printing information is digital, it’s easily transferable. This means digital piracy is a possibility. However, the prognosis need not be bleak. Manufacturers can take steps to protect themselves, says Michael Weinberg, vice president of Public Knowledge, experts in copyright, telecommunications and Internet law.

We see examples of successful management of digital piracy when we examine the last 15 years of online distribution. iTunes, Netflix and Amazon customers have proven more than willing to pay for digitized content, says Weinberg, as long as there is a way for them to do so.

“The best and only real way to combat piracy is to give your customers an easy way to buy legitimate copies in the format they want,” says Weinberg.
For example, manufacturers could offer downloadable CAD files for replacement parts that would cost less—not to mention take less time—to purchase and ship the part directly.

That would be preferable over the litigious alternative, says Weinberg. While it can be helpful to register copyrights for things that are copyrightable, patent things that are patentable and trademark things that are trademarkable, Weinberg says that can’t be your only strategy.

“Suing individual users online is a strategy that failed for the music industry,” he says. “It is unlikely to start working anytime soon.”
Weinberg adds that manufacturers who choose to embrace 3D printing are much more likely to prosper in the long run.

William and Harry: Good Prince/Bad Prince?

*Link to original post here

We can’t get enough of the royals. And it’s evident in their constant media presence. Everybody’s favourite princely duo, William and Harry, have made the headlines again – but for very different reasons.

Prince charming, (William) came to the rescue of a Canadian tourist on Monday in Northern Wales, just four days after he helped to save a 16-year-old girl from drowning off the Anglesey coast, reports The Toronto Star.

Darlene Burton, 58, slipped on a rock and broke her leg while hiking near the Point Lynas lighthouse on the Anglesey coast with her husband, Lawrence Oakley. The vacationing Barrie, Ont. couple were stranded on the isolated trail – with Burton unable to move – but Oakley was able to reach a fisherman who then called for help. Then it was William to the rescue!

William has been working as a helicopter rescue pilot since his marriage to Kate last year. And while rescuing damsels in distress is part of his job, it makes the acts no less chivalrous. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’d welcome a rescue by the dashing heir any day.

His bad-boy brother, Harry, on the other hand, has made the headlines for less noble reasons. Photos of the naked prince, who evidently lost during a game of strip billiards, were captured while living it up on a Vegas vacation this past weekend, reports TMZ.

Obviously a day of mingling with celebs at a poolside party hosted by Jennifer Lopez was not naughty enough for Harry. He later brought a few ladies up to his VIP suite for a wild night of fun. Among the photos snapped were a nude Harry cupping his genitals while being embraced from behind by an apparently nude girl, and shot of the naked prince bear-hugging yet another unidentified girl who also seems to be naked.

Of the pair, who makes you swoon? Knight in shining armor, William, or playboy Harry?

Cake trends of 2012

*Link to original article here

Whether you are looking for a simple, traditional cake or a more elaborate, over-the-top confection to celebrate your wedding day, current trends influence the choice you make.

Make way for buttercream

Fondant is going out the door and buttercream is taking its place. Not only is buttercream better tasting, it is a more cost-effective option, says Zerlene Mekdeci, event coordinator at Impresario Events in Toronto.

She says: A lot of people don’t like the taste and will peel it off.

What’s old is new again

Red velvet is giving way to more traditional flavours. Consider your guests. If you have three layers, you’re safe with vanilla and chocolate as two of the three.”

Fresh flowers remain a signature wedding cake staple, especially red roses. These never go out of style, says Zerlene.

Traditional, multi-tiered cakes have been a wedding staple for years and this year is no exception.

Fashion influences cakes

Brides are embracing traditional white cake. A cake with a great deal of colouring can stain teeth.

Colour-blocking is often an inspiration for wedding cakes. Just an accent of colour can make the cake’s details pop against a white canvas.

Cake trends tend to mirror fashion trends. Brides sometimes want to match some of the elements of their dress.

Bold colours can be incorporated in the flowers or painted directly onto the dessert.

Ruffles on wedding dresses are now repeated on wedding cakes – another example of the two worlds combining.

Pocketbook friendly

Many of these trends are largely cost-driven with less work meaning lower costs. Ruffles are easier for a cake artist to do compared to intricate handwork such as embroidery.

While fresh flowers are a beautiful accent, they are also cost-effective because cake artists don’t have to make every single flower by hand with gum paste.

Gamini Hemalal of GoldenChefs and ICEGUYS in Toronto says that the budget plays a big role in making the final choice. More elaborate cakes are always available with prices ranging from $400 to $5,000, but most modern cakes are less costly because they are being kept simple.

3 Different grills for the family

*Link to web article here (Originally published in ParentsCanada, July 2012)

Perhaps influenced by cooking shows dedicated to grilling, charcoal grills have become a popular choice for home chefs looking to take their cooking talents outdoors, says Duff Dixon, president of the world’s largest BBQ store, Ontario Gas BBQ. They won’t replace your gas or electric grills but they have become a cooking staple for the avid griller. “Everyone’s got busy lifestyles. The kids are hungry, you got home late and just wanna throw a couple of burgers on the gas grill,” says Duff. “Then on the weekend, pull out a charcoal barbeque and start to do some real cooking.”


Electric grills have come a long way and are a great option for highrise living (where permitted). While they aren’t as big as gas barbeques, electric grills will allow you to cook your favourites, like hamburgers and chicken breasts.

Propane vs natural gas

Put these two side-by-side and you’ll notice no difference in temperature or performance. A natural gas grill is more convenient in that you won’t have to refi ll a propane tank. If you have a natural gas line set up in a convenient location, a natural gas grill might be right for you


A charcoal grill will cook your steaks, veggies and burgers just as well as your other grills. Choose this grill if you are looking for flavour. Try enhancing your flavours with different kinds of charcoal, varying in origin from North America to Africa to Argentina.

Sun Safety: The latest and greatest skincare products

*Link to web article here (Originally published in ParentsCanada, July 2012)

The sun provides us with warmth, enhances our mood and kills pathogens. However, overexposure to UV radiation could lead to sunburn, premature aging and skin cancers. Using sunscreens with protection against both UVA and UVB radiation can help prevent damage. Check out the latest products designed to support skin health and beauty.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration with 10, 30 and 50 SPF

This non-greasy, waterproof formula was designed to provide broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Features hydrating ribbons infused with silk protein and shea butter to provide 12-hour moisture.

$9.99-$10.99/180 ml
Available at most major retailers across Canada.

Coppertone Sport Face Lotion with 60 SPF

Specifically designed for the face so it won’t run into your eyes, this lightweight, non-greasy formula provides effective broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.

$11.99/118 ml
Available at drugstores, food and retail stores across Canada.

Aveeno Active Naturals Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion

The waterproof lotion is fragrance-free, oil-free, and hypoallergenic for
even the most sensitive skin. Contains oat extract moisturizers and 100%
naturally sourced minerals for effective protection against UVA/UVB rays.

$14.59-$17.99/88 ml
Available at food, drug and mass retailers across Canada.

Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free Sunscreen with 60 SPF

Specially designed to be gentle on children’s skin, this tear-free formula is waterproof so it won’t run into the eyes. Recommended for preschoolers, kindergarteners, elementary aged children, or anyone with sensitive skin.

$11.99/240 ml lotion and 180 ml spray
Available at retailers across Canada where Banana Boat products are sold.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion with 60 SPF

This lotion has a matte finish and was designed specifically for the face. The lightweight formula can be worn under makeup for everyday use. Paraben and fragrance-free, it is suitable for oily and sensitive skin types.

$26/50 ml
Available at pharmacies across Canada.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Triple Defense with 50 SPF

Designed to combat visible signs of aging caused by UVA, UVB and IRA (infrared-A). Contains time-released antioxidants, soy proteins and peptides to help prevent and repair environmental skin damage.

$95/50 ml
Available at Elizabeth Arden counters across Canada.

Serving ethnic food at your wedding

*Link to original article here

Canada’s cities diversify and so do marriages. The result is blended cultures and this is most evident in blended menus.

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of blending contrasting cuisines. It can be done and the result will surprise and please your guests.

Fusion cuisine

The key to merging multi-ethnic foods is to fuse, not confuse, says Gamini Hemalal, president and master chef at Golden Chefs & ICEGUYS in Toronto.

His advice: Balance the flavours with minimum repetition and focus on flavours with a variety of textures. The ultimate goal is to please all five senses.

“Pairing is based on a variety of tastes, textures and techniques. The idea is to give a balanced variety in ingredients, cooking methods, textures and flavours.”

For exciting flavour combinations, try pairing opposites: Sweet with sour, cool with warm and simple with complex. 

Good ethnic pairings depend largely on the personal taste of the client. Some tried and true combinations are Thai/Western, Tex/Mex (Texan and Mexican) and Italian/Arabic foods.

Meat or vegetarian

If you are serving meat consider your guests and the cultural or religious implications. 

Zerlene Mekdeci, event coordinator at Impresario Events in Toronto says if you’re Hindu you don’t want to eat beef. Or if you are Jewish, you might not eat pork. If you are serving meat, aim for chicken or fish dishes.

Some cuisines are also traditionally prepared with less cooking like sushi or rare steak. You could offer a selection of vegetarian options for those who don’t eat meat.

Some like it spicy

While you might like highly spiced foods, tone it down for your guests. Not all your guests will share your love for curried chicken.

Usually when you’re discussing things with the caterer or the banquet hall you have an option of mild, medium or hot. It is best to go with the mildest option.

If both cultures tend to like spicy food, such as West Indian, that’s a different story. But if one culture generally has a bland diet, like the Irish, it’s best to play it safe.

Those who enjoy the heat will still enjoy the food, but it will save those with more sensitive palettes from spending their entire meal wiping away tears.

Filling in your guests

Once you have decided on the menu, the different food options need to be clear to your guests.

Zerlene says: The best way to do this is by having menu cards similar to what’s used in restaurants.

If people just get a plate of something that they can’t identify you have the “yuck” factor and they don’t want to try it. 

Instead have menu cards on the table that explain the dish so your guests won’t have to play guessing games. It is also a good idea to include translations, where applicable.

If you opt for a buffet style reception you can have cards at each station with the ingredients of each dish. Consider having a heat-code, like three jalapeno peppers to indicate very spicy. This will tell your guests that it might be a little too spicy for their palettes.

You can also have menu programs, similar to wedding programs, so you get something more than the name and description of the dish. Include the cultural importance of a particular dish, along with its ingredients. 

It helps people feel more comfortable and even excited about what they’re eating.