November 13, 2020

My Experience Volunteering for the Rape Crisis Line

When I was in my 30s, I decided to volunteer for the Rape Crisis Line.  The Rape Crisis Line provides a safe place for women to talk about past or ongoing abuse that is free and confidential, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

After receiving over 30 hours of crisis line training, I was given the night shift.  I answered the phone and talked to women who had been raped, victims of unwanted touching, incest survivors, and survivors of childhood and adult sexual assault.


In many of the calls that I received, I found that the perpetrators were family members or neighbours; oftentimes, victims were harmed by the same people who were supposed to love and protect them.  It was a very saddening thing to discover.


Other times, I would meet a survivor at the hospital.  I had received extensive training and would be there to help and advocate for them.


I remember one time in particular when I was called to help a survivor at the hospital.  While there, part of my job was to ask questions that would help give a woman back her power.


I asked, “Do you want me in the room?”


She said, “Yes.”


“Do you want me to call any friend or relatives?”




“Do you want all three police officers in the room or just one?” 

October 09, 2020

A Closer Walk

In 2006, I was a member of the Rotary Club of Alliston, Ontario.  With some members of the club, I went to a screening of the movie, “A Closer Walk.”  This movie really touched me.

The film is a documentary about the global AIDS epidemic and is narrated by Glenn Close and Will Smith.  It features interviews with numerous well-known figures, including the Dalai Lama and Bono.  The storylines encompass a broad spectrum of the global AIDS experience and include people from all walks of life: children and orphans and those who are caring for them; doctors, nurses, and social workers; human rights advocates; and scientists, economists, researchers, government leaders, and non-governmental organization (NGO) officials.

In the movie, the film crew travelled to Africa, where injections overwhelm the public health system and countless orphans face death.  Some of the main themes of the film were: the causes of AIDS; health and dignity; human rights; and the need for greater compassion.  The film is a brilliant account of the deadliest plague that humankind has ever known and is told in a way that inspires hope and action.

I was so moved by this documentary that I started a committee of three members.  I contacted Base Borden, Ontario, and we were given permission to feature this movie at the Terra Theatre-Cinema.  We printed some posters and local businesses generously allowed us to display them in their windows.

September 11, 2020

My Experience Running Marathons in My 40s


As a kid, I never ran unless I was forced to.  Later in life, I discovered that I had exercise induced asthma, and that’s probably why.  But, despite my asthma and at the age of 40, I decided to run 42 kilometers for the 40 years I had been on this earth.  It’s a challenge I will never forget.

In this post, I’m going to share some of the experiences I had during and around the marathons I’ve run, including: Detroit Marathon, Chicago Marathon, New York More Marathon, Montreal Marathon, Austin Marathon, San Francisco Marathon, and Tucson Marathon.

Detroit Marathon, October 5, 2003

The night before the marathon, Rory (my husband) and I walked the streets of Detroit and happened to come across a barber shop.  Since Rory needed a haircut, we decided to go in and walked into what would be a great movie scene…

August 07, 2020

How I Came to Throw a Police Officer to the Ground

My journey into martial arts started when I was 15 years old.  My little sister asked our parents if she could take Judo lessons and my mother said “yes.”  However, unfortunately for me, I was told that I would have to do it as well.  I was not particularly fond of martial arts at the time; if given the choice, I definitely would have said “no.”  Nevertheless, I donned the uniform with my white belt and showed up.

Judo, meaning “the gentle or yielding way” in Japanese, was not so gentle in my eyes.  In fact, I became friends with an African boy at Judo, but that friendship wholly consisted of him throwing me to the ground.  Needless to say, I didn’t have much fun at all, but I continued to go to the classes and eventually earned a yellow belt.  As for my little sister, she continued on to the highest belt.

Fast-forward to 15 years later, at the age of 30, I came across an article in the newspaper about a young woman in Barrie, Ontario, who had a black belt in karate.  The blonde, petite woman that I saw in the picture was quite possibly the last person I would have imagined to have a black belt at the time.  As a result, reading her story piqued my interest and I inquired at the Dojo about joining.  Since my son (who was six) wanted to be a Ninja Turtle, then husband used to be a boxer, and daughter (who was nine) was also interested, the whole family ended up joining.

July 10, 2020

G.I. Johanne Levesque: Joining the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve

Prior to October 19, 1995, I had been a stay-at-home parent, raising my two children.  But on that date, at age 33, I joined the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve as an Infantry Soldier for the Grey and Simcoe Foresters.

In those times, I have to say that I was in great shape.  I ran regularly, could do chin-ups, and could do a ton of push-ups.  This level of fitness came in handy as anytime we did something wrong individually or as a group during basic training, we were punished with push-ups.  The Master Corporal also made all of us remain in the push-up position as a punishment, and if one of us fell out of that position, we would have to start all over again.  In that regard, I am proud to say that I never let down the others by falling; from a fitness standpoint, I was not the weak link.

As a wife of a military man, I had inside information.  I knew for a fact that no one could hurt me physically in basic training.  Now, don’t get me wrong: They did try to intimidate me.  A scream saying, “Private Levesque, get over here!” was never good news.  In fact, those words got screamed at me so often that I hated hearing my last name.  My crime could simply have been that my hair was sticking out of my beret.  But, in that case, I rectified the problem by taking clippers to my head.  The next time the Master Corporal saw me, while we were standing at attention during an inspection, he said, “Private Levesque, you got your hair cut!”  “Yes, Master Corporal,” I replied.  “Turn around when you’re talking to me, Private Levesque!” he screamed back at me.  As you can see, no matter what I did, I was always in trouble.

June 08, 2020

My Experience Managing Billions of Dollars in Transactions Every Day

Today, I am writing my first blog post. As a writer, I have a lot of stories to tell and some of them are true events in my life. I will share them with you here in this blog.

I have had a lot of stressful moments in my life. Today, I will talk about one of the hardest jobs I have ever had: Working as a Team Lead at Money Market in 2012.

Working as a Team Lead at Money Market in Montreal for one of the major Canadian banks was probably my most stressful job. To give you an idea of what that entails, Money Market can be described as contributing to the economic stability and development of a country by proving short-term liquidity to governments, commercial banks, and other large organizations. Also, investors with excess money often invest their money in the Money Market to earn interest.

To further put this into perspective, let me quote one of the messages my team received from management:

“I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize you for the way you handled yourselves in the face of adversity this past Monday. When $1 Billion worth of CD transactions were modified minutes before cut off, you showed determination and commitment to the customer by finding a way to get things done outside of the usual workflow, on top of an already high-volume day. You worked collaboratively, delivering results, making things happen, and leading us higher, and we sincerely appreciated that fact. Bravo on a job well done.”

While that feedback was appreciated, I am sure that each of my team members was holding their breath until all of the transactions were put through successfully that day.