Walk with me on the “Coldest” night of the year

Leanne and Michael Fournier forest therapy selfie
We are in this together.

Several years ago, new to living in Kenora full-time, I joined a group of passionate people who had just helped defeat an anti-loitering bylaw that would have made homelessness a crime. Over the past few years, sadly things have not improved for those living on the streets as evidenced by the growing number of people and discarded needles we see in our downtown.

I decided that I could no longer look away, because there’s beauty in everyone and everyone deserves a chance. I help with writing media releases and grants for this humble group here in town called Kenora Moving Forward. We are sometimes the only light in a dark day, serving meals a couple of nights a week along with our wonderful friends at St. Alban’s cathedral. But we also do a lot more in tireless efforts to provide places of belonging and meaning for those living on the streets and the peer workers we hire, all people with lived experience of street life, addiction and/or trauma, who are helping all of us take care of one another.

I am walking again in the Coldest Night of the Year to raise funds for the Kenora Fellowship Centre who we walk beside in showing love, care and humanity for those in our community who need our help. I would be very grateful if you would consider donating to support me in this important walk. It may have to be renamed “Not so cold night of the year”… but I will be walking it whatever Mother Nature brings.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this and joining me however you can.

Here’s the link to my donation page:

And here’s a poem I wrote about what I see when I look for beauty…

Search for beauty
There is irony
in the fact
I live in
the most
of places
yet still
always search
for more beauty.
Even now
in the heart
of winter’s cold
the bold
mature forest
surrounds me
with frost
and the promise of
enduring beauty
when warmer
climes arrive.
Perhaps it is
this paradox
that has
me searching
always searching
for more beauty
through my eyes
and the optics
of others.
What does
a whiskey jack
see, chirring
through solemn
sturdy birch trees
feasting on
the crumbs
of humans
and nature
what do they
have to tell us
about beauty?
Same for the wolf
howls falling
upon us
along with dusk
across the long
lonely river
carnivores scurrying
secretly here
and there
leaving imprints
in the morning snow
what do they
have to say
about beauty?
Eagles the
grand standers
of beauty
their undeniable
raising the bar
for what is
considered beautiful
no words needed
all agree
on this.
Still it’s a question
I often ask
why with
all this beauty
that just is
do I cast
my eyes
more widely
the splendor
of my 
never enough?
This brings me
to other places
in search of beauty
of humanity
wrapped in
ragged blankets
seen, unseen
regarded, disregarded,
I see beauty
in this
everyday act
of survival.
Same with
living on
street corners
no where to go
no where to hide
life’s best
and worst
moments playing
out for
the world
to see
the beauty
of showing up
day after day
can they
see it too?
I see it
can’t unsee it
I have looked
for beauty
and it is everywhere.


By Leanne

Leanne is MightyWrite’s lead writer. She believes in the power of stories that focus on our humanity and how what we bring to the world and each other is what really matters.

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