Vanessa Grimaldi is a local personality who's so much more than just her social media page. This teacher-turned-reality-TV-star is the founder of No Better You, a non-profit that aims to build sensory rooms in Montreal-area schools.
To date, No Better You has raised over $125,000.
In 2018, the organization donated $60K to the EMSB to help local schools build sensory rooms.
This year, Grimaldi and her team decided to put $10K towards creating at-home Sensory Kits and donating them directly to families in the greater Montreal area and Kahnawake.
Vanessa is filled with kindness, ambition and passion.
During our interview with Grimaldi, we learned a lot more about both No Better You and who she is outside of social media.
What made you decide to go from teaching special education to starting No Better You?
As a special education teacher, I realized there were a lot of sensory items and educational tools that were needed to successfully teach students.
Due to a lack of funding, teachers often find themselves purchasing what's needed out of their own pockets.
The idea behind No Better You is to help alleviate that stress for both teachers and students and create a safe space where students at all levels can not only learn but thrive!
When I was younger, I always wanted to give back. I knew I would love to create a non-profit of my own some day, but didn't know how to go about doing it, so I sponsored a little girl from Cambodia for 6 years through World Vision.
Years later, my dream of starting my own non-profit came true!
What's it like getting engaged and planning a wedding during a pandemic?
COVID taught me to go back to basics.
To enjoy the little moments with friends and family and not take my health or that of those I love for granted. Getting engaged during the pandemic brought Josh and I, and our families much needed joy.
Unfortunately, with the health regulations that are constantly changing, it's difficult to say when we will get married. We haven't picked a date, but I hope to get married in 2021!
What would you want our readers to know about you that they wouldn't be able to guess from your online persona?
I have an extremely goofy side to me. But it's not easy to capture those in the moment.
I am also very sensitive, that's why we should try not to judge or compare ourselves to others.
What you see on TV, in magazines and in social media is a glimpse into someone's life, but rarely the full picture.
You see what they want you to see and nothing else!
Captain Shea Weber said he's "very proud, obviously. This group has a lot of character and we put up with a lot of adversity this year, we proved a lot of people wrong, in a tough year to boot."
Carey Price, the Habs' beloved goalie, looked down in the dumps during the Zoom call and said what happened during Game 5 was "incredibly disappointing."
His plan now is to "take some time off and reboot."
Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher also got emotional in their Zoom call with the media.
Gallagher, while trying to hold back tears, said "I've played on a lot of really good teams, with a lot of really good guys, it's hard right now. We've got so many players that worked their entire careers to get to this point and it's a tough pill to swallow."
Danault made sure to say that he's extremely proud of everyone on his team and all that they've accomplished this season.
The 100,000 square-foot residence is designed specifically for 300 students, built with custom storage and a workstation in each room, along with two shared study rooms, colour schemes tailored to students' preferences and custom furniture by Werkliv.
Le Mildoré will be the tallest residential building in Montreal to be built of steel instead of concrete, and will only have bicycle parking. The temperature in each apartment will be controlled by a heating and cooling system that uses the building's water supply.
Rent will start at approximately $885 monthly per student, minus expenses.
Gender and sexuality identified as areas of difficulty
The school board passed a resolution at the end of March, banning the use of the n-word in its schools.
Testimony solicited from the public included accounts from both students and parents that shared their challenges and difficulties in LBPSB schools.
Through the accounts, the task force identified four major "recurring themes":
Gender stereotypes that dictate what is "appropriate" for boys and girls
Gender stereotypes that produce a "narrow understanding" of masculinity
Gender-based double standards
Bullying linked to gender and sexuality
The report found that schools' dress codes singled out girls by forbidding them from wearing spaghetti-strap tank tops, short shorts and crop tops, explicitly banning "clothing that is unnecessarily sexualised" and "skimpy or revealing clothing."
Parents offer accounts of sexism, racism, transphobia and homophobia
One parent said they raised their seven-year-old daughter without gendering her toys, but after attending first grade at an LBPSB school, she began to tell her parents that some toys were only for boys.
Another parent said, "My son loves the colors pink and purple, but he constantly tells me he doesn’t want to wear t-shirts in those colors to school because people have told him (other students) that those are girl colors."
Mothers of Black sons that attended LBPSB schools — which have a predominantly white student body, according to the report — said they felt their sons were being subjected to racism by teaching staff.
"One boy told his mother that his teacher just doesn’t like him because he’s Black [...] On one occasion in particular, the young man was suspended because the teacher said that she felt 'threatened' by him, however, the young man said that he didn’t do anything but ask why she was sending him down to the office," the report read.
The full report, including the Task Force's recommendations, is available here.
A gathering and march are planned in Montreal Thursday to "honour Indigenous children," "denounce genocide" and "demand justice" according to an Instagram post from Resilience Montreal. The event is part of the movement to #CancelCanadaDay.
The gathering will begin at Parc Jeanne-Mance at 2 p.m.
Indigenous children "were taken from their families and communities" and forced to "attend schools which were often located far from their homes," the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation states on its website.