SPONSORED Vote Now in the American Express “Room For Thought” Campaign

Room For Thought is brought to you by American Express Canada.

33 million minds, hundreds of big ideas, and nine finalists. Now it’s time for you to choose. American Express Canada’s new campaign “Room For Thought” invited Canadians to submit their ideas for transforming an urban space into a creative outlet for Community, Adventure/Travel or Music.

After reviewing the submissions, three finalists have been selected in each category. It’s up to the public to vote for the overall finalists: one per category. Votes will be collected on the American Express Canada Facebook page and must be cast by September 28. The winners will be announced in October.

Each winner will work with a category mentor to bring their idea to life. The winner of the Community category will work with Free the Children founders Marc and Craig Kielburger; the Adventure/Travel winner will work with Survivorman’s Les Stroud; and the Music winner will work with Emily Haines of the alt.rock band Metric.

Before you cast your vote, find out more about our nine finalists:

Lisa Shanker: “Survivor Garden”

There’s more to this garden than meets the eye. Lisa’s idea is to create a therapeutic sanctuary for people recovering from serious illnesses. As a cancer survivor, Lisa learned the importance of a peaceful natural environment while on her healing path.

Jody Cason: “The Rupali Project”
Combining recycling with philanthropy, Jody’s Rupali Project would send sewing machines to India to be used by women who may otherwise be exploited in sweatshops. What the women create will be independently distributed to and sold in Canada, with the proceeds going directly to the women that manufactured the product. In time, it could create a fair and prosperous industry.

Christina Parkhurst: “Miracle on Your Street”
The Annual Christmas Spirit Community Dinner has grown exponentially over the past 21 years. And while it now feeds over 1,000 people over the holidays, Christina thinks that it’s only the beginning. Her idea is to take the program to the national level, setting an example for communities across the country, and using the proceeds to support families in need year-round.

Robert Postma: “Preserving Time”
The effects of climate change usually can’t be seen; more often than not, neither can the things it’s affecting. Robert’s idea is to raise awareness about climate change in Canada by photographing the country’s beautiful, remote landscapes, in the hopes of sending an eye-opening message: “This is what we need to protect.”

Carl Fortier: “Canadian Road Trip”
The hitch-hikin’, rail-ridin’ Kerouac’ian days are over. Not everyone can afford to see our country from coast to coast. Carl wants to give underprivileged Canadians the chance to win the Canadian adventure of a lifetime.

Evan Malach: “The Second Chance Travel Co-op”
The world has never been as accessible as it is today, but that doesn’t make it affordable. For some, travel is an impossibility. Evan’s idea is to give youth who have overcome the struggle to survive the opportunity to travel the world and see the places they thought they never would.

Andrew Huang: “GHOST II”

Everyone wants to be an artist — Andrew says everybody can be one. He envisions an interactive audiovisual installation that would allow the audience to control the video and audio playback, easily creating unique and pleasing compositions on the spot.

Sasha Spachak: “Everyone’s Recording Studio”
Whether you want to cut a track or cut a rug, Sasha’s free public recording studio and performance space would be the spot for you. To make it easier, the instruments are provided.

Nicole Vanderburg: “Music Mentors”
Learning to play music should be a right, not a privilege. Nicole wants to pair high school music students with elementary school students who can’t afford private music lessons. A year-end concert would allow the students to demonstrate what they’ve learned and encourage others to enrol in the program.

Again, head to the American Express Canada Facebook page to cast your vote. The future is you, and the future is now.

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