September 26, 2018 4:12 pm
Updated: September 26, 2018 6:44 pm

Mental health advocate from Edmonton selected for Facebook Community Leadership Program

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton mental health advocate and creator of the "We All Believe in You" group, Blake Loates, has been selected to take part in Facebook's Community Leadership Program - the only Canadian chosen!

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Out of 6,000 applicants from around the world, an Edmonton woman has been chosen as one of 100 people to partake in Facebook’s Community Leadership Program. She’s also the only Canadian.

“I was jumping around my house and crying. I was pretty excited,” Blake Loates said. “I’ve been in the interview process for a few months and wasn’t allowed to share anything so I was so excited.”

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That application process was at least four or five steps long, Loates explained. It included a background check, video interview and social media screenings.

Facebook announced the global leadership program in February. The social media giant said it would offer training, support and also award $10 million to “advance further positive social impact.”

The community leaders represent 46 countries and each one “is an aspiring leader building meaningful communities and connections, both online and offline.”

READ MORE: Edmonton artist who battles depression uses camera to put a face to mental illness

Loates is honoured she and her initiative were selected.

“Our group is a private Facebook group. It’s called We All Believe in You, the Community.

“We have some unique challenges as a group because it’s where people post about their mental illness and their struggle.

“I wanted to learn how to become a better community leader, a better Facebook page leader, because I want to make sure everyone is safe and taken care of. Facebook is a big scary world and I’ve been really excited to learn how I can expand the group but do it in a very safe way.”

 

Loates previously worked as a psychiatric nurse and photographer. Now, she’s using that background to advocate her cause even further — and on an online platform.

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Soon, she’ll head to the Facebook Campus in San Francisco for more training and to meet the other leaders, which include the man behind a campaign in Egypt that works to reunite missing children with their families, and a U.K.-based group that works to reduce social isolation for women living in foreign countries. Click here to meet all the community leaders.

“I’m so excited to meet the other leaders who will be there,” Loates said.

“I know there are so many Canadians who do such amazing things. I am honoured but also a bit shocked that I’m the only Canadian.”

Watch above: In a brand new initiative, social media giant Facebook has created a Community Leadership Program. Just 100 people were selected to be part of it, and only one Canadian. It turns out she’s from Edmonton. Emily Mertz explains.

READ MORE: Mother-daughter duo battle mental illness with art

She recently was able to share the news with the We All Believe in You Facebook group.

“They’re really excited,” Loates said. “They’re excited for the community for sure… They’ve been really supportive.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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