What happens when an 8-year-old boy shows up at your doorstep and invites you to listen to something he really cares about? The next thing you know, he tells you that he is skipping rope for the hearts of those who can’t because he wants kids his own age to be able to do the same things he can one day.
*Justin is an 8-year-old boy who attended The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth’s (CBFY) Summer Program – an initiative supported by United Way of Calgary and Area. Like most 8-year-old boys, Justin loves gym time and playing sports with his friends, but making friends became difficult when his family moved to Canada. As a newcomer, they sought help and got connected to The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth. Justin’s happiness was a priority for the family. They didn’t want him to feel lonely in a new city so they enrolled him in the Summer Program as soon as they heard about it.
It was Justin’s first time at a summer program and it was there that he met other kids his own age who recently immigrated to Canada. Finally, Justin met others that shared his feelings of being a newcomer. At The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth, ‘giving back’ is a value that echoes through all programs. In keeping with this theme, we invited a guest speaker from The Heart and Stroke Foundation to talk about the Jumpcredible program.
Justin was amongst the many youth who heard about the program and was uplifted by the idea that he had the power to change someone else’s life. In fact, he was so moved by the message that he went door-to-door through his neighborhood in Chestermere. He asked anyone and everyone if they would support him in jumping for those less advantaged. In doing so, he was able to raise money for The Heart and Stroke Foundation and United Way of Calgary and Area.
Justin did it all in two days. Just him and his newly acquired skipping rope. We can all learn something from Justin. According to his mom, “He’s a different child because he had the chance to do something at your summer program.” This is the same message hundreds of children in our summer programs took away. Even though they are newcomers to the city they are already giving back and believing they are empowered young individuals who can transform Calgary.
As adults, we dream of a better tomorrow. Perhaps there is value in seeing things through the eyes and heart of an 8-year-old boy. Making a change is as simple as being motivated by an overpowering passion to ‘do something.’ At The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth, thousands of lives are changed each year. You can read more about them and hopefully you find inspiration in these young faces, the way we did in Justin.
*The name of the young boy has been changed to protect his privacy.
Corliss Chan, The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth