Cheryl was an absolute pleasure to have as a guest, and undoubtedly her presentation was the highlight of the Conference. Her determination, courage and talent are all breathtaking and inspiring, and we at Yale UNICEF are absolutely delighted that we were able to have her come speak to these New Haven students.
We would love to have Cheryl to return to our campus and give a presentation on an even larger scale, as a stand alone speaker event because we believe she was absolutely fantastic.
Saif Islam, Yale University, Connecticut, USA
A staff member who has been with our school for over 20 years informed me just now, that during the past 20 years, this is the first time that a speaker has ever received a “STANDING OVATION”Qaiser Ahmad, Curriculum Leader, North Albion Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Canada
Cheryl was a very confident and excellent presenter who received a STANDING OVATION when she served as The Annual Barton Lecturer, during the Principal’s Assembly. Very few speakers have received standing ovations at this college.
Vice Principal, Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada
“I first heard Cheryl speak at a public lecture series on Human Trafficking in Toronto. I was inspired by Cheryl’s capacity to weave real life stories into her presentations through pictures and voices of trafficked children and how this happens to them.
This is not a case for pity but a call to hope, for she also relates accounts of passionate youth who respond in concrete ways to save one child at a time from sexual exploitation. In listening to Cheryl, I learned how today’s youth go about mobilizing their friends and organizing themselves in an extraordinary way to provide each other with the empowerment and the tools to fight the global child sex trade.
Her presentations are all about action to take a stand for the rights of children, especially those enslaved in the sex trade.”
–Celeste Reinhart of SSND, Waterdown, ON
“Cheryl captivated over 650 of our students for an entire hour (you could have heard a pin drop while she was speaking.) She is engaging, passionate, knowledgeable, speaks from powerful experiences, and has a way of making today’s North American teenager, want to take steps way from the comforts of their every day lives, and take steps towards making a difference.
At the end of her presentation, the front of the auditorium was swarmed with over half of the student body wanting to join “OneChild” to help Cheryl continue to make a difference and combat child exploitation around the world. Students told me after the presentation was over, how powerful it was for them, and how Cheryl opened their eyes to this issue… This is something that I have never seen before, in my 11 years as a teacher. ”
–Sandra Soave, Educator, Notre Dame S.S.
“I have attended a number of events where Cheryl was featured as a speaker. It is astounding that she has achieved so much at such a young age. Attendees at all events were captivated and many approached her afterwards, wanting to hear more about her experiences.
A gifted speaker, Cheryl has a uniquely energetic speaking style that mesmerizes audiences with her message of youth leadership and stimulates young people to make a positive difference in the world. I can recommend her with great confidence.”
–Peter Dudding, Chief Executive Director, Child Welfare League of Canada
“Cheryl has the passion to move audiences. When she speaks she has stories to tell and she tells them with the passion of first person experiences.
Cheryl is much in demand as a public speaker and when she speaks people listen. She usually receives a standing ovation at the conclusion of each address.”
–Dolina Smith, Past President, Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation
“We were so thankful for Cheryl’s attendance at our inaugural conference and were truly moved by her words during her speech.
From the enormously positive feedback we received from our delegates, we weren’t the only ones! Her message is one so important, and yet one so seldom heard being discussed among the student body, that we feel it crucial to allow it the chance to be heeded once again.”
–Ayaz Kurji, student, Queen’s University
“I have been a passionate supporter of this organization ever since Cheryl came to St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School a year ago. I’ve done Break the Chains campaign and I’ve been raising awareness ever since.
I also wanted to thank Cheryl because ever since her speech a year ago, my life has completely changed. This foundation is truly something
spectacular and something that should get more recognition across the globe.”
–Zinnia Al-Najjar, student, St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School
What does slavery look like in the 21st century? What forms does child sex slavery take? Why does it happen? What can young people do to counter it?
In April, 2011, Cheryl began “Break the Chains,” a tour that aims to answer these questions. Break the Chains is offered free of charge to any high school in the Greater Toronto area, and so far, Cheryl has spoken to nearly twenty- seven thousand young people (as well as teachers and school board members) about the real situation of child sex slavery. In her multimedia presentation, Cheryl maps the global sex trade in Canada and abroad, weaving together powerful statistics and stories of her meetings with child survivors. Using her remarkable personal story of self-sacrifice and heroism at a very young age, she inspires and motivates students to take action. Cheryl uses powerful first-hand accounts of her travels in Asia and South America to showcase the tragedy of the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and the inspiring resilience of young people everywhere. Students and teachers alike are moved (sometimes to tears!) by the presentation. It’s impossible to sit through the Break the Chains Speaking Tour without becoming fired up, passionate, and motivated to make a difference in the world.
Aside from speaking at high schools, Cheryl has also presented at a number of notable events and institutions:
- Countdown to 2015 Summit: Campaigning for Results and Accountability in
Education, Washington, D.C.,USA (2014)
- Global Education & Skills Forum: Education, Employment, and Equity
Dubai, UAE (2014)
- YMCA Community Breakfast for Peace, Oakville, Ontario ( 2013)
- Mosaic Institute, Toronto, Ontario (2013)
- Yale University, Connecticut, USA (2013)
- PeaceJam New England Spring Conference, Connecticut, USA (2013 & 2011)
- Annual National Convention of the Canadian Catholic Women’s League (2012 & 2007)
- Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada (2011)
- Rotary International, Toronto, Canada (2011)
- Press Launch for the Canadian Campaign Against the Sexual exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism, Montreal, Canada (2010)
- International Forum End Human Trafficking Now : Enforcing the UN Protocol, Luxor, Egypt (2010)
- Global Young Leaders International Conference, Virginia, USA (2010)
- International Forum of Child Welfare, New York, USA (2010)
- International Conference on Child Rights, Ottawa, Canada (2009)
- 21st Meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization Task Force To Protect Children From Sexual Exploitation In Tourism, London, UK (2007)
- Senate Committee against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth, Ottawa, Canada (2005 – 2007)
- Breakfast Conference for the Women’s Executive Network, Toronto, Canada (2007)
- World of Children, Ohio, USA (2007)
- Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Awards, Toronto, Canada (2006)
- Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers Awards Celebration Luncheon, Toronto, Canada (2006)
- Shad Impact Conference, University of Waterloo, Canada (2006)
- Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Gatineau, Canada (2006)
- University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada (2008)
- Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada (2008)
- University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (2007 & 2008)
OneChild’s Break the Chains Speaking Tour benefits students by:
- Providing education on children’s rights and mapping one of its gravest violations and its connection to globalization and other pressing world issues in the twenty-first century.
- Helping to shape students’ global civic identity and moral purpose.
- Providing tangible ways to hone in on their leadership potential and support their peers on a local and international level through unique awareness-raising, advocacy, and fundraising campaigns with OneChild. These opportunities help to develop students’ critical and creative thinking, and research and communication skills.
- Offering the tools and support from OneChild to learn basic civic literacy skills.