Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Winnipeg girl, 9, fights homelessness

PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2005.04.12
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A2
SOURCE: The Winnipeg Free Press
DATELINE: WINNIPEG
ILLUSTRATION: Photo: Ken Gigliotti, The Winnipeg Free Press / HannahTaylor, 9, says her goal in life is to be prime minister.

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Winnipeg girl, 9, fights homelessness

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WINNIPEG - Through her Ladybug Foundation, nine-year-old Hannah Taylor campaigns for the homeless, but her real ambition is a lofty one -- to run the country.

The Manitoba girl wowed a national political action meeting of the Canadian Real Estate Association yesterday in Ottawa, and also impressed federal Housing Minister Joe Fontana.

"You are an incredible spokesperson and a role model for young people," Mr. Fontana told the girl. "I wouldn't be surprised to see you as prime minister one day."

Indeed, Canada's top political job is already on Hannah's radar screen as she continues her nationwide effort to raise money for the homeless and to push politicians for solutions to the problem.

"Plan A is to be prime minister," Hannah said after her speech got a standing ovation from the country's real estate agents.

"Plan B is to go to the Vancouver aquarium and work there and Plan C is to be a stay-at-home mom."

If she opts for Plan A, she certainly wouldn't have trouble raising money for a campaign. Yesterday's speech initially netted her $2,687 from a 50-50 draw by the real estate agents. It was doubled when the holder of the winning ticket donated his prize back to her Ladybug Foundation.

So far the foundation has raised more than $350,000.

Her mission started three years ago when she and her mother saw a homeless man eating out of a garbage bin.

Troubled by what she saw, Hannah began painting baby food jars red and black like good-luck ladybugs and collecting loose change for the homeless.

"You can help homeless people in lots of different ways," explained the pig-tailed activist.

"But most of all, what you can do is be nice to them."

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