Pilot projects geared to demonized young moms

Just days before Mother’s Day, a York University professor has announced two North York pilot projects aimed at helping young moms “unfairly demonized” by society, wrote the North York Mirror May 8.

“To be a good mother today, first of all, you can’t be (because) the standards are so high. All mothers I’ve met have guilt because they can’t live up to those standards,” said Andrea O’Reilly, founder and director of the University’s Association for Research on Mothering. “I think young mothers have it worse. I think there is an assumption if you’re a young mother, you’re a bad mom.”

O’Reilly is receiving a $71,905 grant from the federal government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to study two mother centre networks in Europe and the United States.

Young, disadvantaged mothers are constantly condemned by a hyper- critical society, said O’Reilly. “I just think young moms are really watched. They are getting comments from bus drivers to pediatricians to people at the checkout at Zellers glaring and muttering under their breath,” she said.

“If it (an unplanned teenage pregnancy) happens, we have to respond in ways that best serve the mother and child. They need support and validation. If you don’t have those, then teenage pregnancies can be a disaster.”

At the same time, becoming a young mother often jolts young women into getting an education, dumping a “loser boyfriend” and overcoming addiction problems, O’Reilly said. “That doesn’t mean being a teen mom is easy. But if it is difficult to be a teen mom, why do we make it more difficult?” she said. “I think they need more support but I think all moms need support.”

Visit outer space at York

York University is staging a Science Rendezvous day campus-wide, with matters of outer space as the common theme, wrote the Toronto Star May 9. Sure to be a popular display will be York’s model of a Mars rover, dubbed the Northern Light Rover.

Kids can ask questions, but the driving will be left to the rover’s regular handlers. York will send a rover team to the 2nd annual University Rover Challenge taking place next month in Utah. Co-hosts of the science day are the Faculty of Science & Engineering, Faculty of Health and the Canadian Space Agency. The full program is dedicated to space exploration and related technology.

Fighting to change Canada’s draconian immigration system

Adrienne Roberts, a York student and Little Italy resident, said she came to the National Day of Action for Status rally held May 3 at Toronto’s Christie Pits Park with concerns that Canada has been moving toward a “draconian” immigration policy”, wrote Insidetoronto.com May 8. “We’re systematically excluding people who should be allowed to enter this country and then we criminalize them once they get here,” she said. “I’m not sure if we’ve seen enough critique and knowledge being disseminated (regarding Bill C-50).”

Palestinians see no cause to celebrate

York student Rafeef Ziadah refers to the birth of the Jewish state as the “Nakba”, wrote The Toronto Sun May 9. Translated from Arabic, it means “catastrophe” and is used by Palestinians to describe the displacement of hundreds of thousands of them after Israel declared independence in 1948.

Yesterday at a press conference, Ziadah, 29, said she couldn’t believe the “Party Like It’s 1948” catchphrase used to promote last night’s Israel@60 bash at the Ricoh Coliseum. “We say there’s no reason to party and celebrate ethnic cleansing,” the York University student said.

Ziadah, who is a Christian, says she favours Palestinian Muslims and Christians co-existing with Israeli Jews with all enjoying the same rights. “All we want to do is return to our homes,” Ziadah said. “We are no less human than anyone living in Canada.”

Alumna actor receives on-set help from Stone Angel star

Christine Horne (BFA ’04) went from putting on plays in friend’s basements to a lead role in her first movie, playing a younger version of a character played by acting icon Ellen Burstyn, wrote Vancouver’s The Province May 9.

Horne’s work as the young Hagar Shipley in the movie adaptation of The Stone Angel would have been a lot more intimidating, were it not for Burstyn herself taking the 25-year-old actor under her wing as they got to work in Winnipeg with director Kari Skogland.

“I watched for two weeks while she was filming her stuff, to see what my character would grow into,” Horne says during a Vancouver publicity stop. “She was very good to me, took me out to dinner a couple of times.”

The movie vet explained set protocol and film lingo to Horne, who had only worked on stage since graduating from York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

“She said you’ll always be uncomfortable on set – something in your face, someone poking you, a wig glued to your forehead, a microphone strapped to your leg. That was fair warning.”

As the younger Hagar, Horne got her share of the wigs and make-up, aging from 15 to 40 years old. All that and playing an icon of Canadian literature. “It was more years than I’d lived. It was scary on every conceivable level.

  • Aside from more recognizable faces in The Stone Angel, like Ellen Burstyn, Dylan Baker, Ellen Page and Kevin Zegers, your important actors – Christine Horne (BFA ’04) and Cole Hauser, for example – are impeccably cast and seem to share a sexual chemistry like few others on screen these days, wrote Vancouver’s Westender May 8 in an interview with filmmaker Kari Skogland.

Christine was a find, said Skogland. She had just graduated from York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and had never been in front of the camera before, so it was a bit scary for both of us, said Skogland. But I knew she had the chops. It was just a matter of the technical skills of dealing with filming. I looked at more than 200 girls before I found her, and I liked the fact that she was a new face and the audience was never going to be in the position of saying, ‘Oh that’s so-and-so playing a younger Ellen Burstyn’.” The connection needed to be seamless.

Probe targets former Osgoode classmates

Stan Grmovsek (LLB ’93) and Gil Cornblum (MBA ’94, LLB ’94) have been close friends ever since they met at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School 17 years ago, wrote The Globe and Mail May 9. Although their careers took different directions, they have remained in close contact, attended each other’s weddings and frequently socialized with their families.

Two years ago, the close bond veered into troubling territory when Grmovsek, known to friends as Joe, began making lucky stock bets on companies for himself and two relatives shortly before takeover bids and other favourable events were announced. The problem with Grmovsek’s timely trades is that at least eight companies involved in the deals were clients of Cornblum or his law firm Whitney & Dorsey LLP.

The coincidence has had devastating consequences for both men. On Monday, Grmovsek, a 39-year-old self-employed business consultant in Woodbridge, Ont., consented to an Ontario Securities Commission demand to freeze most of the alleged $1.1-million in proceeds from the trades in his brokerage accounts. He has hired a lawyer and is co-operating with a joint OSC and US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, which court documents describe as a “potential illegal insider trading” case.

For Cornblum, the scandal has sent his personal and career life into a horrible downward spiral. He is currently lying in a Toronto hospital after he was rushed to emergency earlier this week. Sources close to Whitney & Dorsey said his partnership was terminated this week and he no longer works in its Toronto office.

This gang is armed with only a story

What kind of stories do 8th graders tell?, asked the Toronto Star May 9, in a story about the Grade 8, multimedia Aesops of Brookview Middle School, a learning program coordinated by the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU).

Carolyn Williams (BA‛05) – the work was being done in her class – hung back and said, sotto voce, “They’re using literature and art. They spent several weeks creating stories. We’ll have a screening at York in June – the video presentations of them telling their stories.”

The project comes out of the AGYU, and is coordinated by Allyson Adley, collections assistant and education coordinator at the gallery, with the help of artists in various disciplines; a useful bit of outreach in Jane-Finch.

York alumna’s art comes full circle

Farheen Haq (MFA ’05) feels it’s appropriate her latest art exhibition is being shown in St. Catharines, wrote the St. Catharines Standard May 9.

The pieces in Alone Together, running until June 17 at the Niagara Artists’ Centre, deal with themes of identity, gesture and ritual. “It’s a nice coincidence; it’s coming full circle. (The show’s) about community and how the quest for personal identity and self happens in the context of the larger body or community or landscape,” said the St. Catharines native, who now lives in Victoria.

Haq received a master of fine arts degree in visual arts from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. She became a professional artist in 2001, and has since exhibited in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, Queens, NY, and Islamabad, Pakistan.

On air

  • Sabrina Deutsch-Salamon , administrative studies professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, spoke about the firing and subsequent rehiring of a Tim Horton’s worker after she handed out a free Timbit, on CBC Radio May 8. Ronald Burke, professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, also spoke about the Timbit affair on Calgary’s CHQR Radio, May 8.
  • David Dewitt , political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about Israel’s 60th birthday celebrations, on CTV NewsNet May 8.