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There’s an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that centres around an invisible girl. She went unnoticed for so long and was lonely for even longer that, in this supernatural series, she turned invisible. In the real world, that feeling of invisibility — of being persistently ignored — is called social isolation

It might seem ironic that even though there are more people on this planet than ever before, social isolation is prevalent in many societies. Did you know that 1 in 3 Canadians don’t feel a strong sense of belonging to their local community? Or that in the past five years, one-person households in Toronto have increased by nearly 10%? We can blame modern technology, western upbringing and numerous other theories. Yet pointing fingers isn’t going to solve this increasing problem we’re all facing.

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How do we help? How do we make a difference? How do we inspire change? These are all broad questions and concerns that actually have some very simple and actionable answers.

We need to get more involved. For our sake and the sake of others. People can no longer be ignored nor can the issue of social isolation — or poverty, homelessness and mental health, to name a few more. Hence the creation of United Way Canada‘s brilliant UNIGNORABLE campaign. The nonprofit partnered up with Pantone to create a color that would spark conversation wherever it’s glimpsed.

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On billboards, busses and everywhere else in between, UNIGNORABLE is bringing awareness to important issues people face across Canada and the world. More than that, it’s directing those who take the time to learn more where they can go to get involved.  Whether volunteering, donating or buying gifts that give back, there are many ways to help make the invisible visible again.

The holiday season is a time where we stopped thinking about ourselves and the bubble we live in for a moment to focus on others — whether those are family, friends or strangers. We need to take this sense of giving and community and keep it alive well into the new year and beyond. One thing I do believe is that once seen, it’s hard to be unseen. Thank you, United Way and Pantone, for encouraging us to see.

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