Community The Great Outdoors 

American Express Contest: Room for Thought

There should always be room for thought. My favourite days are the days spent thinking about what my next project, great adventure or agenda will be. But with thought, should come a plan of action. American Express has put together the Room for Thought project to help make our ideas…happen! They will be providing the means and the space for lucky individuals who have great ideas and help make them a reality in Toronto, Canada in November of this year. After hearing about the contest from our friends at HUG, Vidafine is so excited to share with you the 9 finalist for the contest that started this summer. Now, American Express is taking public votes to help determine the three final winners. Once chosen, the finalist will then be directed, mentored and supported by three very distinguished individuals in the categories of Community, Travel and Adventure and Music.

Here is a quick profile of each of the mentors involved in the contest and their take on why this contest matters.

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Television Personality from Survivorman, Les Stroud

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Co-Founders of Free the Children, Marc and Craig Kielburger

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Indie Singer/Songwriter of Metric Emily Haines

The 9 finalists chosen by the mentors above are below for each category.


Survivor Garden by Lisa Shanker: To start a therapeutic garden for people recovering from serious illness.

The Rupali Project by Jody Cason: To send used sewing machines to India to create prosperity for women in third world countries.

Miracle on Your Street by Christina Parkhurst: This idea is to take a community Christmas Spirit Dinner nationally.

Travel and Adventure:

Preserving Time by Robert Postma: This idea is to photograph remote parts of Canada to document climate change.

Canadian Road Trip by Carl Fortier: This idea is to take the underprivileged on a cross-Canada road trip.

Second Chance Travel Co-op by Evan Malach: This idea is to give underprivileged youth the chance to travel the world.


Ghost II by Andrew Huang: This idea is a music installation piece that lets users interact with music in a unique way.

Everyone’s Recording Studio by Sasha Spachak: This idea gives people free access to instruments and recording equipment.

Music Mentors by Nicole Vanderburg: This idea pairs high school music students with younger kids who can’t afford lessons.

Though some of these ideas don’t necessarily bring about instant change, I believe it gives opportunities for change. And that’s the spark that will change the world.

Voting ends on September 28th, 2011, so make sure you head over to the American Express Canada to cast your vote. Even if you don’t have the next great idea just yet, you can help make other great ideas a reality!!

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