Her Excellency Sharon Johnston - Visit with the Polish Orphans Charity at the Fryderyk Chopin Museum
Warsaw, Poland, Friday, October 25, 2014
I would like to extend my thanks to the organizers for including me in this wonderful event and offer my congratulations to the young recipients. Your hard work is paying off and I wish you the best as you continue to pursue your dreams. It is an honour to be here with the First Lady to recognize your talents.
As we sit here in the world famous Museum of Frederyk Chopin, I can’t help but wonder if the next great musician is one of you here today. Perhaps you will travel the world, sharing your music with millions of people and I hope that one day I might attend your concert in Canada.
As a Canadian, I am extremely proud of Dr. Russ, Dr. Kralka and Mr. Pasowski for the incredible contributions they have made and continue to make in the lives of Polish children through this charity. They see the amazing potential that you have and so do I.
My husband the Governor General and I strongly believe that supporting children and youth in their endeavors will help to build a smarter and more caring nation – this is no doubt a shared value with you - our Polish friends.
Both countries are concerned about the protection and development of children. We believe that it is important to safeguard not just their physical security, but also their dreams and aspirations. Children do not need just food, shelter and protection from harm but also a chance to express themselves and develop their particular talents.
And as your talents develop – and the pressure mounts - I encourage you to take care of your mental health. The Governor General and I are deeply dedicated to encouraging mental health and have criss-crossed our country visiting people and organizations dedicated to helping those with mental health challenges. I have even had the opportunity to meet a few organizations with the same focus here in Poland. Mental health is not often talked about but it is as important as physical health – we must be both physically and mentally well to follow our dreams. Take care of yourselves as you continue your artistic pursuits.
Once again, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of the young talented youth here today and I encourage you to continue to work hard, have fun and follow your dreams.