This is a long overdue post to say…we’ve moved. Sorry if you’ve been hanging here waiting for a word. We’ve moved and we won’t be coming back!

With the help of wonderful designer Jackie Chong, you can find us at our new residence: thepassionproj.org.


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3 More Sleeps and Say No to FOMO

Hello passionate people,

Have you ever heard of FOMO? Someone explained this to me a couple months ago. There’s a term for what so many of us feel. You know, those Friday nights when you’re much too tired to go out and you have a mountain of work and yet you go out with friends because you don’t want to miss a beat. Do you ever feel that way? If you know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry to say you have FOMO (Fear of missing out). It happens to the best of us. But, here’s what you CAN do…this Tuesday, say no to FOMO by joining us.

Here’s what you need to know…

Where: UBC’s Boulevard Cafe

When: Tuesday March 27th, 6:30-8:30pm

What: We’re going to relive all our past projects from music to slam poetry, we’re going to introduce you to the people we’ve fallen in love with along the way (sigh), and most important of all, we’re going to unveil a little BIG secret secret. You won’t want to miss this.

3 more sleeps. Say no to FOMO.

I can barely contain myself,


Join us Tuesday!
Photocred: secretsoftheyoungandsavvy.com

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Do you have a minute?

Hi passionate ones!

How’s your Thursday treating you? Our good friend Francis recently got nominated on CampusPerks for his work as a fantabulous poet and we thought we’d share. WHEN you have a minute today, go support him!

Get your vote on,


Francis making sweet poetry.


CampusPerks is an organization that encourages student-run projects and recognition for leaders in a variety of fields. This year, they launched their first Student of the Month series, for “The Athlete,” “The Innovator,” “The Artist,” and “The Leader.” One day this week, I was told I was nominated for “The Artist” and could hardly contain myself! I grinned embarrassingly big, and yelled motivational rhetoric at my mirror.

It was about a year ago that I blindly emailed Eunice and Tarini, spilling that I was so in awe of the passion they had for…everything! In the short time since them, I have been so happy to have gotten to know them, and feel the conviction and confidence they have in each of their endeavours. They have definitely influenced me in keeping my own creative and human drive alive, as well as understanding the privilege of doing so. That said, when I was told I was nominated for the CampusPerks award as an artist, I couldn’t help but share the news with the people that I’ve grown with.
The hosts of the contest asked each of the nominees to answer questions as to why someone should support them and how they got involved in whatever it is they are doing. You can peep my answers, watch my video (featuring my good friend Mark Perez), and click “Support” on the CampusPerks profile if you feel so inclined! All you need to do is click the Support Button and sign up through Facebook Connect.
Thank you Passion Project fam for your never-ending support and allowing me the platform to share this!
Much love,

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You’re Invited to a Passionate Affair

Hey Passionate Ones!

Although the end of semester is quickly approaching, we’re not quite ready to bid another term good bye.  And so, we’re hoping you will join us in pressing pause for just a moment.  We want a minute (ok, maybe two) to celebrate all the talent we’ve come to know.  We want just a few more minutes to reach out with a big THANK YOU to all the support we’ve received along the way.  And last but certainly not least, we want to surprise you.  Our team simply cannot wait any longer.

And so, on March 27th, we’re hosting “A Passionate Affair”…(NO! Not quite that kind my friends…this one is rated PG…we keep things classy)!

The evening will feature a series of performances as well as introduce you to the fresh-off-the-press, hot-out-the-oven, news we’ve been waiting to share.  I can’t say too much…but here is a hint: FACE LIFT.  Get it? I didn’t think so.  Just come find out on March 27th! 6:30-8:30PM at the Boulevard!

That’s all for now!

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Day #1

Dear passionate ones,

Thought I’d share the posts I’m required to write for the 5 Days campaign…just on the offchance that you’re interested. I hope you’re all staying warm and making loads of time for things that bring you joy as always.



First night and first day of 5 days has come and gone. It wasn’t as cold as I expected, but I kept waking up on account of the wind. Three main things are on my mind…
1. How strange it is that the media follows this. Today, CBC and Shaw TV did some taping of the participants and did a couple interviews with some of us. I find it so odd. Yes, we’re raising money for a cause and yes, hopefully we are making a difference, but many youth lie down each night on the pavement and nobody is taping them! Nobody is asking them what they are eating or if it was cold last night. Nobody is asking them how they are feeling and asking them to show them where they sleep.
Today, a couple friends stopped by our “basecamp” to say holla and were a little taken aback to see where we slept last night. Perhaps it’s the inner camper in me, but I don’t think our cardboard fort looks that bad of an abode at all. What strikes me is that the reaction of our friends and family that come to see where we sleep…that reaction is not their reaction when they see where a homeless man sleeps downtown.
2. Second point…it’s only been 1 day, but a part of me is counting down and excited to crawl back into my bed at home and take a long, hot shower. And it got me thinking that to me, this is just temporary. I know that on Friday at 5 o’clock, I’m going to drive home and take a long, hot shower. I know when my “homelessness” will end. For countless kids, they have no idea when or if being without a home will ever end. They must persevere and fend for themselves without an expiry date in mind. I’m not sure how I would have the strength to fight for that long…
3. How amazingly grateful I am and touched at the enormous support that we’ve received. In classes, I’d pass around jars and watch from the back of the class as students all dropped in their spare change. One professor even tied homelessness into the lecture about food preservation. Was touched. I came back to basecamp several times today to find another load of food dropped off for us. As thankful as I am for all the food coming our way (we’re completely reliant on food donations), I want to tell people to give it to someone who actually needs it. We’re definitely not hungry.
I had some crazy-good convos today with passersby about how we’re not neccessarily addressing the root issues of homelessness and I agree, but we are defs learning a lot and raising a lot of money for homeless Vancouver youth. (more to come on this topic later this week). For now, grateful for everyone who is supporting this and us and I have so much admiration for my fellow participants and for the youth who LIVE THIS.
Much bright orange 5 days love,
PS I hear a dean at Alberta U is planning to sleep outside if a certain amount of $ is raised. Dean Dan…are you up for the challenge?

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5 Days

Dear Passionate-Ones,

Where are you sleeping tonight?

Recently, I’ve been noticing more about the homeless in Vancouver…like what she’s wearing to keep warm, what he’s using as a pillow, what his sign says. I begin to wonder how long he’s been sitting there and if he’s going to pick a new place to sleep tonight.

I’ve been noticing all this because for the next 5 days, I’ll be participating in the national, annual campaign, 5 Days for the Homeless. University students from across Canada camp outside for 5 days to make a point about homelessness in our cities. We’ll be giving up our warm beds, hot showers, and our cell phones to raise money and awareness for the Directions Youths Services Centre.

We’ve spoken a lot about how passion is a privilege. Having a home and food and all the other basic necessities that we don’t even question is an enormous privilege.

When you have a moment next week, come visit the 5 days team outside the UBC Bookstore. Bring your spare change, a musical instrument or two and help out…because you can.

When you next walk by a homeless person, what is it that you notice? Do you notice at all?

Noticing more,


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A familiar face

How did I not post this sooner?! Our very own Tarini was dubbed a UBC Face of Today and the videos were played at this year’s Student Leadership Conference.

Check it out. I definitely shed a tear or two watching from the audience. And you can check out more beautiful, familiar faces over here.

Have a passion-filled week ahead.

Much love,


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It’s all about Perspective

What is behind the click of a camera? The rotation of a zoom lens? The application of this angle or that? These are the personal touches that go into the making of a photograph- in essence what transforms a picture from a plain image into an expression of yourself. Through Reading Week at Queen Alexandra, the Passion Project aimed to teach kids how to think about photography as a form of self expression. Over the span of the three days beautiful images and friendships were captured.

Passion Proj teammates T and Ritiks admiring photos

When you give kids a tool for creativity, whether it be music, poetry, or in our stream…photography, you unleash something beautiful. You can truly see how each person is blessed with their own unique perspective, and how as a result two people can never see the same thing the same way. I definitely saw this theory in action when we hung the final project’s up by the end of the week and saw that there was a dominant theme arising in the kids’ fondest memories at school- basketball. However, even though nearly 10 kids chose to photograph basketball, no two images looked anywhere near the same.

In life, like photography, no two people will look at a situation and take away the same thing from it. But it is precisely this diversity that makes life so rich, and interaction among people so vital to understanding the whole picture.

The Passion Project’s involvement with Queen Alexandra showed me the wonderful possibilities that stem from putting different people from all backgrounds and ages into one space. In the end, perspective is what makes us unique, but sharing it is what makes us whole.

– Yas

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A Night at the Oscars

Some would say this year’s showing at the Oscars was not all that impressive.  Others beg to disagree.  I can’t say I frequently tune into this annual celebration but once in a while, it does take my attention.  This year was one of those years.  And so, I sat alongside Papa Fernando and joined millions at the Oscars.

A few things:

  1. Can we just talk about how amazing Esperanza Spalding is? I know she wasn’t the MAIN attraction but dang, she just gets me every time.
  2. I clearly need to see the Artist.  They sure cleaned up well
  3. Christopher Plummer.  Now here’s a story.

It was not until a few days ago that 82 year old Plummer (whom we KNOW has skills) received the honour of an Oscar, despite having poured years of his life into his acting career.  Upon accepting his award, he turns to the 84-year-old Oscar statuette and claims: “You’re only two years older than me, darling.  Where have you been all my life?”

I definitely chuckled.  And then I thought to myself…wow, that really is some conviction, some passion, some drive.  You truly have to be doing what you love to consistently show up and give the world the best of who you are when you know very well that the accolades of ‘success’ may be well beyond your reach.  Now, quite frankly, I don’t know all that much about this man’s life except that he made an appearance in my childhood with the Sound of Music and then at sufficient intervals subsequently.  But his appearance at the Oscars compelled my reflection upon the importance of perseverance and the value of good motives.  What is it that drives us to do what we do? Is it the age old pursuit of fame and fortune?  Or is it the indomitable force of a personal conviction rooted in passion that you NEED to be doing what you do because the world needs YOU?

Ultimately, we are all called to wake up, dress up, and show up to whatever the day calls us to do.  In fact, we ought to be giving Oscar worthy performances every day of our lives.  And for this to happen, I’m convinced we need to be doing what we do for all the right reasons.  Let’s make sure we take command of the script and write it with integrity.

It’s show time ladies and gents.



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When Good People Come Together, Great Things Happen

Despite their initial shyness, they were infected by our enthusiasm pretty quickly. In turn, we became ever more excited and were soon in awe of the kids’ abilities and passion for learning.  They were ever ready to learn, to accept guidance, and to share their ideas.  In fact, we too learned from them.  I am sure that each and every one of us had unique experiences throughout the three days.

A quick re-cap in case you have not been with us over the past few days:  the Passion Project, in collaboration with the UBC Community Learning Initiative and UBC Slam, with the support of the Simon K. Y. Lee Global Lounge and Resource Centre, connected UBC students with students at Queen Alexandra (QA) in Grades 6 and 7 to promote literacy and expression through the arts.  We had 3 streams – music, slam poetry, and photography.  The best part of it all, UBC students were involved with the stream that they were passionate about.  I believe this was the driving force behind the amazing work of our team in collaboration with the students at QA.  In fact, it led to some AWESOME, spontaneous, jamming sessions that took place whenever an opportunity presented itself.  Imagine: violins, drums, slam poets, singers, beat boxers, guitars…and more.  All in one place, improvising and creating a shared experience.

The project was an inspiring and eye opening experience. I learned so much from the students I worked with – mainly about letting my passion set the path of my life. It doesn’t have to be right or perfect, as long as it enables me to be ME.  I fully believe the students we worked with will also succeed in pursuing their passion, given the proper guidance and enough support.  Despite whatever challenges they face (check out this article to learn more about the challenges facing inner city schools), they take every opportunity presented to them to be doing what they love.

A comment made by one of the staff serves as a testimony to this:

Many substitute teachers taught these kids, tried to discipline them but they never succeeded in putting a smile on their faces. But all of you did it in such a short time. It took me a couple of years to realize that I need to learn their ways to teach them effectively. But you focused on their desires and allowed them to take charge of their own learning.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said:

It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.

Would you risk the reasons of the world to be doing what you have always wanted to do?

With love,


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