CH Best Gurls Meet the Village Bloggurls

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On seeing the Village Bloggurls site:

Kim (CH Best): My first impression is that it’s nice and cozy. There’s a lot of art inside, and the blue Dream Board poster caught my eye because it’s shiny and colourful. This space is much smaller and there’s more room decoration. I wish we could decorate our room in the school!

Jade (CH Best): It’s smaller than I thought it would be. The sewed patterns stood out to me, as well as the books and all the art. I really like art, so seeing it makes me feel excited.

Zayide (CH Best): There are so many creative things in the space, such as drawings and painting. The timeline of VBG from 2012-2016 stood out to me because it’s so colourful and noticeable.

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Window Art

On meeting the Village Bloggurls for the first time:

Kim (CH Best): I feel like this is a community that is very tight. The girls are really grown together.

Jade (CH Best): The group started out small, but it became bigger as time went by and it became more fun. The girls are really nice and social.

Zayide (CH Best): I didn’t know there were so many girls in the program! They’re very sweet and nice.

Sarah and Zeynep (CH Best) our first impression to was all the girls was so nice and kind

On meeting the CH Best Gurls for the first time:

Jiale (VBG): The group was so diverse, and when they came in they were really open and not shy to talk to us. They’re also really fun to talk to. It was fun to meet another group of girls from a different school and community because I’ve been in this community in so long and I haven’t experienced any other community. It was cool to experience another girls’ group in Lotherton.

On the day’s events:

Kim (CH Best): Putting on make-up on myself was fun because I’ve never put on make-up, and it was weird. I prefer my natural face.

Codie (CH Best): Two of the Village Bloggurls were talking about the window art and they went outside to decide where to put the title of their art. They were so animated that we made up dialogue about what they were saying. According to us, they were talking about spicy Doritos. It was so funny!

Jade (CH Best): Favourite moment so far was putting on make-up on my friend Isabelle and doing my own nail polish. It was exciting, nerve-wracking and really fun.

Jiale (VBG): Working on the window and seeing Diana and Rachel argue about their artwork was really funny. They were so serious about the placement of the title. And everyone, including the CH Best girls, came out and joined in. There was so much laughter!

Zayide (CH Best): Putting make-up on Isabelle was my favourite part of the day as well as painting because I like to paint, and it makes me feel relaxed.

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The Girl Who Stayed The Same (iMovie Trailer)

14976707_1833943220183951_7737385535068279743_oLast week, we talked about stereotypes and movie tropes that are often pinned to female characters. There’s the damsel in distress, the girl who gets a makeover, the funny fat friend, the dumb blonde, the best Black friend, women of colour who are merely plot devices and many more things we noticed in movie trailers. Not only are many female characters sexualized, but they are also narrowly defined by capital standards that women don’t often control. In other words, big media corporations are creating images/characters of women and girls that don’t reflect who we actually are.

When a girl says “I’m not like other girls”, we should be saying “neither are we!”

“Other girls” don’t exist!


To challenge these film tropes, we created a film trailer in hopes that other girls can start to question why we are seeing the same tropes over and over again and ask what the impact is on our confidence, sense of self and how we see other girls.

Shot & Edited by: Vanessa Tang
Starring: Jiale & Diana’s hand

Top 10 Good Things (not in any specific order) about another 4 Years of Funding for VBG

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#FutureOfVBG

By: Diana and Jiale

  1. Making new friends – every year in VBG, new members join the program. This means that we get to become friends with them and they get to meet new people
  2. Food- we get to try new foods when they are served for snack and it’s free! (which is awesome because we get free food)
  3. Learning about the world of Media – VBG teaches us a lot about media and how different groups of people are represented through it and so much more (it’s also good for helping us navigate the online world)
  4. Making Zines – every year we get to make a new zine which is a difficult but fun process
  5. Having somewhere to go on Fridays – motivates us to get out of our houses and makes us socialized
  6. Fun activities – these activities help us relieve stress and helps us decompress and enjoy our lives
  7. Safe Space For Girls – as girls, we face many barriers every day. Having a safe space to talk about matters that are very important to us is a necessity
  8. Art Pieces – time to get creative! Art lets us express our feelings and exercises our creativity
  9. Cooking and Baking – this lets us experience what it’s like to make food in the kitchen. In the end, we get try new foods, usually delicious *cough* new foods
  10. TRIPS – TRIPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Trips are very awesome, especially when they’re overnight. Overnight trips bring us together so that we can bond and have a wonderful experience together. Trips in general are a great way to experience a whole day of fun!

Thank you to the Canadian Women’s Foundation for making this program possible!!!

Re-Imagining: The Future – VBG’s 3rd Zine

Since October of 2015, the Village Bloggurls have been working on a zine to re-imagine what the world could be like. To prepare, we talked about everything from anti-oppression to residential schools to Black Lives Matter to gender identity to advertising and corporations. We had guest speakers come in to help us with the direction of the zine and gives us ideas about what kind of content would be going in it. And last week, we were able to hold the zine in our hands.

It was an amazing accomplishment as this zine was the hardest zine to make. It took a lot of research, going over to each other’s houses to write and brainstorm, sessions of writing and re-writing, a ton of snacks and a lot of support for each other. It is our 4th year of programming (!) and we really wanted to end this year with a full representation of how we’ve grown over the past 4 years.

I present to you our zine, Re-Imagining: The Future.

From the zine:

“…What does a world without street harassment look like? How can we address mental health in schools? What does a future look like with appropriate public transit? These are some of the question that the Village Bloggurls tackles through illustrations and essays. They aren’t single solution answers, but they are important contributions to discussions that young girls across Canada are starting to have or continue to have. We hope that this zine inspires people to start re-imagining the future.”

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The Village Bloggurls and YWCA Muskoka Visit Camp Pinecrest!

This was a super special and amazing experience for@villagebloggurls because for some of us, it was our first time camping in the Winter, but for all of us it was our first time camping with another group and a fellow @cdnwomenfdn grantee@ywcamuskoka. We shared so many moments and learned about each other’s respective homes. I had no idea bears could open doors or that the average snowfall in Muskoka is something like 12ft! The thing that makes this exchange so special is that to started with a video of us asking questions about mentorship. And here we are a year and a bit later, camping together. Thank you so much to YMCA Pine Crest, YWCA Muskoka, and to CWF for bringing us together. #vbg#ywcamuskoka #challengeandchange#mentorship #girls #bonding

A Reflection on Mentoring

By Holly Thai

I’ve been a mentor at VillageBloggurls (VBG) for around 4 years. It’s a media based program where a mentor is matched up with  a couple mentees and the idea of mentorship and being a role model to them is applied. I joined this group back when I was in 10th grade and I’ve seen it grow bigger each and every year.

I joined midway through year one when there was already a few mentors and mentees in the group. However this didn’t stop me from feeling at home. I was instantly welcomed to the group and I also got to reacquaint with a few friends whom I haven’t had contact with since middle school. VBG very quickly felt like a second home. Everyone was very friendly and welcomed me with open arms. Soon, I looked forward to attending the group every Friday where we did activities together, which included things such as cooking, doing arts and crafts together, etc.

Over the years, VBG has helped me gain and/or improve a lot of my essential skills that are used in everyday life.  My communication skills, leadership skills, presentation skill, etc have all gotten better. This is all thanks to the mentor-led sessions that were held. In the beginning, the first few mentor-led sessions I ever did with other mentors were quite nerve-racking (and this was when the group smaller!). Presentations were never my thing, I never liked it and the whole idea of a mentor-led is like doing a presentation in front of your mentees. But after doing the actual mentor-led and getting the experience of talking in front of a crowd, I could see that my communication skills, etc were slowly improving. In time, I was no longer afraid of doing in class presentations nor did I use the words “uhm” or “and” as often.

The first mentee I worked with was Artiana. My very first impression after acknowledging this was, “will this work?” but very soon I was glad she was my mentee. She was everything I wasn’t, and our personality was made to match each other. We were loud and quite at the right times. In other words, she was the peanut butter to my jelly.

The best moment we had together was when we were working on Artiana’s digital story. I specifically remember in her digital story that she had this one line where it said, “She’s my guard and we shield each other.” When this was played during the digital story screening, everyone was in awe of how cute it was and I was just extremely proud to have her as a friend and a mentee.

Sadly, school slowly got in the way. It was hard to balance between school, homework, extracurricular, and personal life. And I believe to this day, I’m having the same exact problem but only worse because of midterm and exams. Poor time management leads to stress and stress leads to chaos. Because of this, my involvement with VBG slowly declined and I found it harder to maintain a relationship with my mentees. Luckily, we were in more solid groups this year but that’s no excuse for a weak relationship. All I can do is my best, and I’m glad that VBG works with me on that.

VBG has been a big part of my childhood. It was one of the things I looked forward to at the end of a week. I don’t regret joining VBG one bit because they’re all I could’ve asked for. Growing up with all these supportive people around me that I knew I could rely on and ask for help or assistance if needed is what every person wants as they grow up. It is an amazing program that has flourish over the years in an amazing direction with educating young girls about their rights and how society works. The memories I’ve made throughout the years at VBG whether it was at a workshop, or a trip will always be precious to me.

A Reflection on Mentoring & Leadership

By Wendy Le

Village Bloggurls – a girls group to those on the outside, a safe space for those on the inside and the place where I saw myself grow up.

I was a naïve 10th grader who needed community service hours so that’s why I joined VBG at first. I remember when the group first started, there were only 2 people (Winnie and I). It may seem like an exaggeration now, but it’s true. Eventually, the group grew in numbers.

In the beginning of the program, we were testing out different methods of teaching and learning to get the hang of things and understand the purpose of the program and our role in it. It was in this moment that I had a change of heart. VBG became something I would look forward to. I went for my friends and to learn in a different environment that isn’t a classroom. It broadened my knowledge through media literacy perspectives such as how media portray women, how we should represent ourselves, and issues that affect women and the larger society.

The very first thing we did that was media-based was digital stories. Oh, the memories. I look back at it right now and I can see how far I’ve come. I was a someone who had trouble coping with mental illness without realizing I had one. Having a mental illness is one thing, but learning to cope with it is another. The support that this group provided me was more than I could ask for. From just asking how I am to having stress workshops for the mentors, I was able to create a digital story that was beneficial to myself and others in the sense that people should know that they are not alone. Non nobis solum, not for ourselves alone (My high school’s motto; hey, at least I remembered something!).

Soon, mentors were matched with mentees and it was a new experience for me. I felt like I would adapt easily since I had younger siblings. Never underestimate the the ability to learn from anyone of any age! The first mentee I worked with was Kayla and it was great experience. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her especially with all those jokes and how our personalities worked together. She never fails to surprise me. I was able to learn what it meant to be a mentor and experience the satisfaction of seeing your mentee grow as a person. Even though we now evolved into mentor groups instead of one-on-one mentor-mentee matches during the digital storytelling sessions, I am still able see the progression and the dynamics of each group member.

Mentor-led sessions helped me with my fear of public speaking and allowed me to learn what it meant to be a leader. I better understand all the tasks that come with leadership, such as organization and preparation before the program. I was able to learn from the mentors how each person would approach their mentor-led sessions and better my team building skills.

I also started taking initiative and did some TTC Advocacy work (that eventually got disbanded because my schedule is too hectic for me to handle). Never in a thousand years would I have expected myself to do this kind of work, but here I am trying my best to see if I can make some sort of impact in our society. If it weren’t for VBG, I doubt I would’ve done anything about it.

As cheesy as it is, they say high school is supposed to be the best 4 years of your life. I personally hated high school. But VBG made it a little more worthwhile. I was able to learn, improve and adapt skills that isn’t on the high school curriculum. As the years go on, whether or not we’re in school learning about what y = mx + b is or figuring out what the value of x is, I will never forget the value of VBG.

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