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Celebrating history: Ontario honours first British Home Child Day, Sept 28

British Home Child Day was celebrated for the first time on September 28th at Upper Canada Village (UCV) with a full day of activities, including presentations, skits, readings, displays, bagpipes and more.

An historical overview from the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration webstie outlines why this period of our history is important.

“Home Children quietly helped build our country and their many descendants continue to do so today. Yet the migration of British children to Canada is a little-known chapter of Canada’s immigration and social history.”

“Between 1869 and the late 1940s, British religious and philanthropic organizations transported about 100,000 children to Canada to live with Canadian families and work as farm labourers or domestic servants.” 

“In Canada, the children would become known as Home Children, as the institutions from which many of them came were known as Homes. The best-known, Barnardo’s Homes, sent approximately 30,000 children to Canada, 70 percent of them boys.”

A Native Red Maple tree and a plaque donated by Jim Brownell, MPP for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry were unveiled in an afternoon ceremony at Aultsville Station complete with the sounds of bagpipes.

In a release by Brownell, he stated: “Over the years, we shall watch the growth of this tree, just as the descendents of these British Home Children have grown and multiplied, and have contributed, in countless and significant ways, to the social and economic fibre of Ontario’s communities.”

Carolyn Goddard, chairperson for the British Home Child Day Committee of SD&G, (BHCDC)got things underway with a short reading from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, where Rachel Lynde is discussing the horrors of orphan children to Marilla Cuthbert. Marilla’s brother Matthew was, at the time, on his way to the station to collect the new addition to their family.

Tom Brownell, secretary for the BHCDC, spoke next about his brother Jim’s efforts and eventual victory in making September 28th officially British Home Child Day in Ontario with the passing of Bill 185.

Brownell explained the significance of the September date: “Mary Scott Pearson (Brownell’s grandmother) stepped off the boat in Halifax 120 years ago today.”

Brownell also informed the crowd that Nova Scotia had just passed a bill making September 28 British Home Child Day there as well.

He told the crowd that an “important part of this story that deserves to be told” is how these children were “susceptible to mistreatment” because they weren’t closely monitored by the organizations that sent them.

He went on to say that while they did endure hardships, many also “went on to lead proud lives. Almost all who came to Canada remained in Canada.”

These children “helped to cultivate our country’s values” as well as fight for our country during the war. 

He concluded saying, the British Home Children are “part of our country’s history, they’re part of our past, and their descendents are part of our future.”

Chairman for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission Ron Eamer and South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds each took turns speaking before the introduction of Leeds and Grenville MPP Steve Clark.

Clark dedicated the tree and unveiled the plaque in place of Jim Brownell who was unable to attend the event. He  began by saying, “just the fact that we’re here deserves applause.”

He went on to detail the long road leading to this day saying that “private member’s bills rarely get passed.”

Most significantly, Clark is proud of the fact that he, Brownell and Parkdale-Highpark MPP Cheri DiNovo, “the three parties have gotten together to get this bill passed – putting politics aside and doing something good for the province of Ontario.”

Clark informed the crowd that Brockville was the “location of one of the receiving homes,” Fairknowe Home. This home, still standing in Brockville today, was originally built by William Quarrier of Scotland for the purpose of receiving “his” children from Scotland.

Clark went on to talk about the discovery that his wife’s paternal grandfather, Sidney Roberts, was a Home Child with “a story much the same as Mary Scott Pearson.”

Following the tree and plaque dedication, a vignette, “Arrival of British Home Children, Aultsville Train Station” was performed by Dave Hanson, Tyler Konick, Faith McCrae and Shannon McCrae.

There were eight other vignettes to follow at different locations throughout UCV detailing different time periods and experiences of British Home Children.

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa was set up in the Harvest Barn with an abundance of pictures, books, articles, and artifacts detailing the history of the British Home Children. Many were on hand to talk, educate, and share stories.

Sandra Joyce, whose father came to Canada from Scotland in 1925 as a Home Child, launched her new book “The Street Arab – A British Home Child Story” with two scheduled readings at the Village Store.

Rounding out the day was the Just Kiddin’ Theatre from Metcalfe who performed on the Cook’s Tavern verandah. “

According to their website: “Just Kiddin’ Theatre is a volunteer organization that delivers dramatic arts to students in Ottawa’s rural South.  The program is based on the belief that enrichment of the arts is not only a fun and enjoyable experience but presents opportunity to develop skills that will positively impact students for the rest of their lives.”

Immediately following the performance, guests with dinner reservations made their way to Willard’s Hotel, where they were welcomed with bagpipe melody.

Throughout the day it was said by many – time and again – that British Home Child Day will forever be an opportunity for Canadians to celebrate the courage and perseverance of the British Home Children who triumphed over adversity.


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South Dundas receives thanks for

South Dundas Fire Chief Chris McDonough recently shared a copy of a thank you letter with the Leader.

The letter was addressed to South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds from Fire Chief Bill Hollett of the Chance Cove Volunteer Fire Department in Newfoundland thanking the mayor and the township for their recent donation.

“I would like to extend our most sincere thanks and appreciation to you and your Town for the generosity you have shown in donating to us a fire truck, rescue van and fire & emergency equipment.”

“We are a volunteer fire department in a small community with limited funds available for equipment and training. Up until the arrival of the fire and emergency vehicles you so graciously donated to us, the fire truck we had in use was a 1976 model which we were having great difficulty maintaining due to parts for this truck no longer being available through the manufacturer.”

In a recent email to the Leader, Mayor Byvelds explained that “the idea started with looking at the Old Williamsburg Pumper and what to do with it.  In talking to others including firefighters in Williamsburg, it was in too good a shape to scrap it.  Normally the Township takes items like this to Rideau Actions however we never get what it is worth and may only get less than $5000. “

“I was in Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia last year on vacation.  I met a firefighter from the area that told me that they were getting a new to them pumper that evening to try out.  They were using a 1976 pumper and were getting a 1987 model.  The group were very happy to get the newer model.”

“It was after that (meeting) that I suggested to Council that instead of selling our old unit that we find someone who was in need.”

“Chief Chris did the research and as a result Chance Cove now have new to them equipment.  I think that it is great that we could help out a community that have a lot less resources than we do.”

The Chance Cove letter also credited Chief McDonough for the donation: “He has certainly gone over and above any call of duty in identifying our need, advocating on our behalf and ensuring we received these vehicles and equipment with as minimum a cost to us as possible.”

Chance Cove did reimburse South Dundas $400 for the “cost of batteries purchased to travel these vehicles to Newfoundland.”

This donation has given Chance Cove more than just reliable fire equipment, as Chief Hollett stated in his letter: “These vehicles will long stand as a source of inspiration to our residents and in particular, our volunteer firemen. They represent the kind and helping hands of a neighbour and of our fellow firefighters, and I am glad to say, has brought a new sense of pride and ownership to our volunteer fire department.” 


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More meetings planned for Brinston Wind Farm

The Prowind Public Meeting at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners on September 29th is no longer “the final public meeting” for the proposed South Branch Wind Farm in  Brinston. 

Cathy Weston, Managing Director of Prowind Canada, told the Leader that there will be a few more meetings. Prowind, who has a strong “commitment to the community” feels it’s necessary to slow down and give the community more time to process.

Weston, who has “been friends with some of these landowners” feels very strongly about moving forward at a pace that is comfortable for residents of South Dundas.

According to Prowind Canada information, “the South Branch Wind Farm is proposed as a 30 megawatt (MW) renewable energy generation facility. Once constructed, the facility will be able to produce enough renewable electricity to power approximately 7,500 homes per year.”

“South Branch Wind Farm will use wind turbines  to harness kinetic energy from the wind and, by means of an electrical generator, convert to electricity.”

“The commercial scale turbines proposed for the South Branch Wind Farm will consist of three main components: foundation, tower, and nacelle/rotor. Modern turbines self-regulate, optimize, and monitor output parameters using a variety of sophisticated instrumentation.”

The turbines haven’t been decided upon or purchased as of yet because, Weston pointed out, “(we are) trying to leave our options open (in an) economic sense (due to) domestic content rules (that say a product) needs to be 50 per cent Ontario based.”

Aside from the creation of jobs and the expected renewable energy, in terms of benefits to the community, Weston refers to the estimated $70,000 per year tax benefit. She also mentioned that Prowind would be donating $25,000 for a community fund, “provided each year following commissioning of the project, and through to the end of the 20 year contract.”

The Prowind project officially got underway in South Dundas in early 2008. Weston, who has a background in project management, joined Prowind in 2008 after learning about a similar initiative in her neighbourhood in the southwest of Ottawa.

“It’s a transparent company,” said Weston. They don’t hide information, they’re honest and open with the public. She went on to say that “what I want to do, we do.” It’s “a push for green energy.”

According to opposition group, Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO), green doesn’t always equal good.

WCO state that they’re “a province-wide advocacy organization whose mission is to protect the health, safety and quality of life of the people of Ontario from industrial wind turbines.”

The group’s main concerns seem to revolve around the mass production of wind farms without adequate consultation with local landowners. With the great number of public meetings and the open door policy of information sharing, Prowind Canada doesn’t appear to fall into this category.

In addition, WCO voice concern about the effects of wind farms on property values, public health, wildlife health and habitat, as well as noise and esthetic issues.

When questioned about WCO’s concerns, Weston pointed to the vast studies and experts that Prowind has brought in to help determine what, if any, issues exist or may arise from the project.

Prowind’s experts are chosen based on their accreditation and references. For example, the archaeology expert is “accredited by the Archaeological Society of Ontario.”

She referred to the “scientific evidence” where there was “nothing to show link” between wind farms and ill health, saying that the Chief Medical Officer for Ontario found “no link.”

Weston went on to say that Ontario has the “strictest laws” set up and that Prowind does “follow all the guidelines.”

Information, documentation, related studies, plans and so forth were in abundance at the meeting. Questions, suggestions, opinions and discussion were all welcome.

One such available study, “The Health Impact of Wind Turbines: A Review of the Current White, Grey, and Published Literature” for Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit in June 2008 had the following statement by Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Acting Medical Officer of Health at the time: “In summary, as long as the Ministry of Environment Guidelines for location criteria of wind farms are followed, it is my opinion that there will be negligible adverse health impacts on Chatham-Kent citizens. Although opposition to wind farms on aesthetic grounds is a legitimate point of view, opposition to wind farms on the basis of potential adverse health consequences is not justified by the evidence.”

A report on the “Impacts of Windmill Visibility on Property Values in Madison County, New York” by Ben Hoen suggested “the possibility that effects are more myth than reality.”

The report, which claims there were “no effects” on property values, gives reasons for the findings: “The windmill array fits the landscape; wind farming fits this community’s ‘sense of place;’ the payments the community received ‘balanced’ any adverse impacts.”

 In terms of further opposition, the Leader questioned Weston about the current political situation. 

Premier Dalton McGuinty’s decision to shut down the gas-fired power plant in Mississauga recently resulted in a call to Liberals by Progressive Conservative candidate for MPP of SD&SG, Jim McDonell on September 26th “to listen to families in Brinston and stop the proposed industrial wind farms in their backyard before it reaches the construction phase.”

While Weston admitted that some people are feeling a “nervousness about change” where the wind farm is concerned, she feels that the overall public feedback has been positive.

When asked what Prowind would do in the event of a political change affecting their project, she said that it would be “really disappointing to have to go back to the drawing board again.”

The South Branch Wind Farm is a “great step forward in renewable energy” and, in addition, it would “be a shame for a lot of manufacturing plants (because there are a lot of) jobs right now that would be lost.”

In any case, “we (Prowind Canada) remain committed to this project.” She added that “it’s been developed responsibly.”

The project originally called for 15 turbines, but due to some questions about impact to the location of one of the turbines, Prowind decided to drop the number.

The 14 left have all been mapped. Only two houses in the area come within 600 metres of a turbine. The rest are at least one kilometre away from residences.

According to Weston, the average wind farm project achieves completion in about “the four year range.”

In terms of project time from start to completion for the South Branch project, she estimates that it “is between five and six years all together.” The extra time is due to the fact that the government “regulations changed and the project was put on hold at one point. Also, more notably, Prowind “want(ed) to do things properly.”

While there are large wind energy companies in Canada, Prowind Canada is just one of a very few small-sized wind energy companies in Ontario.

Mayor Steven Byvelds attended the meeting. In speaking with the Leader he said the project “has its merit – as long as everything is done right.”


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The Skater’s Edge

Scuba gear, flippers, bathing suits and skates, all the things needed to make a great October at the Morrisburg and District Skating Club (MDSC).  

Now, I bet everybody knows to bring skates to the rink, but this month we are  going  under the sea!! All through October the arena will be an underwater fish adventure for the Canskaters. 

Since we want as many people as possible to enjoy our underwater adventure October 3rd and 8th are bring  a friend nights!! The Canskaters can register their friend when they arrive, and both the Canskater and friend have a chance to win a Webkinz donated by Gilmer Pharmacy. 

There’s nothing better than skating with a friend and possibly winning a Webkinz.  And for those who have fun skating with their MDSC buddy they can consider signing up for skating to enjoy the fun all season long!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and enjoys lots of turkey. Moms and dads are reminded that there is still skating Thanksgiving Monday so have your dinner early!

The Starskaters arena are busy brushing up on their skills and dances. They are also busy selecting new music and working on their new solos for the competition season this winter. Ali VanHoof, a competitive skater who has been practicing hard and competing all summer, is now getting ready for Sectionals in November. Good Luck Ali!

Finally, an event a lot of us are looking forward to…dressing up and getting candy…Halloween! Probably the best holiday of the year, if you’re a kid. The rink is also getting into the spooky spirit and on Saturday, October 29th is our Halloween party!! All canskaters (Saturday and Monday) skaters are welcome to dress up, come out to skate and have a blast! If you want to get a preview of the little ghosts and goblins drop by the arena Saturday morning.

Canskate is cancelled Monday, October 31st so everyone can go and show off their costumes door-to-door, and get more treats. Maybe some will dress as their favourite skater.

That pretty much sums up what’s happening in October for our club. More details can be found on our website.  

Remember, skate great and have fun! 




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Strike Averted

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced early Monday (October 3) that it had reached a tentative collective agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers which represents the Corporation’s 475 unionized employees.

The agreement, which was reached following bargaining which extended through the weekend, is subject to ratification by the union membership.

Details of the agreement will not be released pending ratification.

Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the SLSMC, indicated that the conclusion of the bargaining process would allow ships to continue transiting the waterway without interruption.

The Corporation was served with a 72-hour strike notice by the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) at noon on Friday, September 30, of its intent to begin strike action on Monday, October 3, at noon.

If the tentative agreement had not been reached and the unionized workers had proceeded with strike action, The St. Lawrence Seaway would have been closed to all traffic.

According to a SLSMC press release, a contingency plan was in place to provide for the orderly shutdown of the system in the event of the labour interruption. 

Negotiations continued with a federally appointed mediator over the weekend in an effort to reach an agreement. The mediator had been working with the parties throughout the latest round of negotiations, which began on September 19.

The parties have been negotiating since May with the key issues being wages, healthcare (co-payment) and contracting.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is a private, not-for-profit corporation, created pursuant to the Canada Marine Act, to operate and maintain the Canadian Seaway. 

Since its inception in 1959, over 2.5 billion tonnes of cargo valued in excess of $375 billion has been transported via the waterway. 

Today, over 60,000 Canadian jobs are directly or indirectly dependent upon cargo transiting the Seaway.


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Bantam Rep Lions shut out Rangers in exhibition action

The South Dundas “Pizza Hut” Novice B Lions kicked off the 2011/12 hockey season with back-to-back 5-4 and 4-2 wins against the South Stormont Selects.

Here on Thursday night, the Lions opened the season with a 5-4 win over the South Stormont Selects as they held on tightly to their one goal lead late in the third period. With their net emty, the Selects pressed to get the equalizer before the final buzzer but were turned away the Lions defense. 

Lions goaltender Brendan Shaver was tested in the last couple of minutes but stood his ground and kept the puck in front of the goal line.    

The Selects opened the scoring at the 3:30 minute mark of the first period and that score held with saves by goalies Keaton Woodside (Selects) and Brendan Shaver (Lions). 

With 1:04 left in the period, the Lions got on the board when Kayne McCadden grabbed the puck in the offensive zone and made a few moves around the Selects defenders before burying the puck behind Woodside. 

The Selects re-claimed the lead with 10 seconds left in the second when the Lion defence were caught up ice leaving Joshua Broad the lonely Lion to try and stop the Selects charge.     

Throughout the second and third period, the Lions offense carried the play as defenders Emytt Fetterly, Cassidy Bilmer and Spencer Barclay kept the play alive many times at the offensive blue line. 

At 6:26 the Selects took a 3-1 lead when a shot by Chase Duchesne squeaked a puck by Brendan Shaver. 

With the game closing in on only a few minutes left the Lions offense went to work. 

At 9:24 Joshua Broad passed the puck around a Select defender to Ben Lapier who went in on the Selects goalie and beat him glove side. At 11:23 Nolan Henry took a pass form Trent Rae at the Selects blue line and broke in on Woodside to beat him with another great shot. 

On the very next shift Ben Lapier went to work scoring two goals in eight seconds to record the first three goal performance of the year. Owen Fetterly picked up the lone assist on the goals.

In the rematch and resulting 4-2 win, Ben Lapier (from Kolby Latulippe) opened the scoring for the Lions on the power play with 19 seconds left in the first period. 

Early in the second, Lions goalie Brendan Shaver kept the Selects off the board with a huge glove save on a Selects shot from the slot. 

Owen Fetterly gave the Lions a 2-0 lead when he carried the puck down the right wing and wristed a shot just as he approached the slot.

The Selects finally got on the board when Owen Carter banged in his own rebound when he pounced on a loose puck by the Lions net. 

The Lions regained their two goal lead when Kayne McCadden got the puck from Latulippe in the right wing corner and flipped the puck over the goalie to Nolan Henry who was standing all alone in front of the net. 

To his surprise the puck landed flat on the ice, right on his stick. The puck bounced away, but Henry quickly regained control and shot the puck off the Selects goalie’s right pad into the net. 

Kayne McCadden scored with 1:31 left in the second period unassisted.

In the third period, Lions defenseman Spencer Barclay used his head (literally) in taking a scoring chance away from Selects Owen Carter. 

It started when Carter crossed over the Lions blue line, cut into the middle of the ice and let a wrist shot go. The puck hit Barclay on the helmet and deflected out of play. 

The South Dundas “Pizza Hut” Lions open their regular season to-night in Kemptville and travel to Westport on Saturday.


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Settlement area boundary study

A Comprehensive Settlement Area Boundary Study, which envelops all of the urban and rural areas within the county, was prepared by the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Planning Department.

The study is now available for public consumption and examination on the County website: The public is encouraged to give feedback on the study.

After reading the report, it appears that there are no changes proposed for Morrisburg’s urban settlement area.

The study does recommend minor changes for both Iroquois and Williamsburg.

According to the study summary, “no change to the boundaries is proposed for the Rural Settlement Areas of Ault Island, Dixon Corners, Glen Becker, Hainesville or Riverside Heights.”

“The area east of Elma is proposed to be added to the Rural Settlement Area.”

“Mariatown is recommended to be recognized as a Rural Settlement Area.”

Minor changes are suggested for Dunbar, Dundela, Irena, Winchester Springs, Glen Stewart, and Stampville.


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Maud Street Paving

Although at the time of the Seaway re-construction of Morrisburg, the above paving job was being done on Park Avenue on November 12, 1957. Today, this is the west end of Maud Street. Note: the side walk is in and some of the mature trees of today have obviously not been planted.



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A Time to be Thankful

It may be because my wife and I have been preparing for a Missions trip to Africa lately, and all the information we’ve been receiving about what we can expect to experience when we get there, but I have been really conscious lately of all the things I have to be thankful for.

Of course, this weekend is Thanksgiving and so it is timely to write about being thankful.

In my own life, I find that I do need to stop occasionally and reflect on the blessings of being in a country such as ours as well as taking the time to look around me and be grateful for family and friends.

Maybe you are not like me, but may I ask, when was the last time you turned on the tap at home and enjoyed a good clean drink of water? It’s easy for us to do that without even thinking about it. But, where we’re going in Africa, that is virtually impossible.

So, I’m thankful for clean water. I’m thankful for local government that sees to such things even though it may cost me more in taxes to enjoy that benefit.

While I’m at it, let me say I am thankful for my family. My wife is a great blessing to me as are my two sons and my daughter and their spouses. They have given me six grandchildren for which I am truly thankful. I realize that may be a bit personal, but I am thankful and we often don’t let them know.

I am thankful also for the church I pastor here in Morrisburg. I’m amazed at their love and care for each other and for people in general. I have been blessed to be with them over the past number of years.

Most of all, I’m thankful for the love of God. Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But God is so rich in mercy and He loved us so much that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead”.

David the great songwriter penned the words, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto His name”.

Lloyd John Ogilvie, the wonderful Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, in his book God’s Best For My Life, says, “God’s grace, plus our gratitude, equals greatness. When we give God the glory, greatness grows in our character”.

There’s an old hymn written by Johnson Oatman Jr. back in 1897. The words of the refrain are these:

Count your blessings name them one by one,

Count your blessings see what God has done.

Count your blessings name them one by one

Count your many blessings see what God has done.

Maybe this is a good time to stop and consider all the things you have to be thankful for. Maybe because of some loss or tragedy in you life you think you have nothing to be thankful for. 

May I encourage you to take a few moments to look around. I expect you too will be surprised at all that God has blessed you with. Why not give Him thanks this glorious Thanksgiving season? Blessings to you all!


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Stand up. Use your voice. Be heard.

The question most frequently asked to election candidates – in some form or another – is “What about me?”

Each and every person has their own story of how they’ve been affected (or more aptly, forgotten) by government and politics. Most often what I hear are people wondering why they have been overlooked by those people they helped vote into office in the first place. 

And, consequently, at election time people are often heard speculating on whether or not there’s even  a point to voting. Will it make a difference? Does this person care about me and my family? Will they work to ensure that I find a job? Will they work to ensure that I have a family doctor? Will they protect my children’s rights to a good education?

Basically, what we’re really asking is “Do I matter?” OR “Is my voice important?”

We, as members of a democratic society, elect fellow members – no better and no worse than we – who will represent us and our needs. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is really hard for one person to meet the needs of every single person, especially when many of those needs will inevitably clash.

However, the majority of people are the ones who aren’t heard. They’re the ones,  living in poverty, who seem invisible to government, to government officials, and oftentimes to neighbours. What about people on social assistance who want to work, but need help making that happen? What about people working minimum wage jobs who can’t afford to pay the rent or buy groceries? What about the single mom with three small children who is trying to work, take care of her children while maintaining her sanity, all on her own? 

There are so many people with so many stories from all backgrounds, culture, religions, age groups, and so on who need to be heard. Is it the responsibility of the elected representative to know what you – specifically you – need? Or is it your responsibility to come forward and ask for what you need?

Rather than sit back – complaining, moping and feeling victimized by the system – why not contact your representative, explain your situation, and ask for some help? Stand up. Use your voice. Be heard.