Together with the Right to Play organizing committee and the Right To Play Canadian Advisory Board, we raised a total of $2.6 million last night to protect, educate and empower some of the world’s most vulnerable children. The dollars raised will create a huge impact on the children of Right to Play programs, from Canada’s indigenous communities to rural villages outside of Canada. This year’s honourees included: Dean Connor (CEO, Sunlife, Corporate Hero Award), Pascal Siakam (Power Forward, Raptors, NBA 2019 Champions, Athlete Hero Award), Ralph Lean (18-Year Chairman for RTP, Founding Chairman Award), Danny Charles (Youth Hero Award).
National Bank has been a proud partner of Right to Play for over 3 years. At last year’s Heroes Gala, Louis Vachon was awarded the Corporate Hero Award. This spring, the bank had announced a $300,000 donation to the organization in support of the Aboriginal Youth PLAY Program. Together, we rise.
NBC Table 1, from Left to Right: Ihor Danyliuk, Jeff Clap, Sean St. John, Michael Levin, John Di Libero, Brian Stemle, Rene Cayouette, Jason Ellefson
NBC Table 2, not in photo: James Feehely, Ralph Barcan, Kevin Lind, Chris Dale, Peter Hepburn, Yves Locas, Steve Fleckenstein, Noel Heavey, Alex Lemieux, Marjorie Nadeau
Founded in 1979, the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is a national charity focused on improving the lives of vulnerable children in Canada. The Foundation strategically raises and grants funds and develops programs that are delivered in partnership with 74 child- and youth-serving agencies across the country, with the goal of reaching the unique and diverse population of children and young people involved in child welfare.
Being on the board and a member of the Scholarship committee, I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to helping children in need.
I agree that it has never been more pressing to find solutions to the issues that many of these kids face, such as child poverty, homelessness and abuse and neglect. Together, we are working to remove the barriers that limit the potential of these children, while providing access to the opportunities they need to become contributing members of society.
On September 11th, I was honored to attend the Foundation’s annual Stand Up for Kids Night at Koerner Hall. The annual event is organized to honour the resiliency, achievements, impact and commitment of the bright and deserving young people we support, along with the extraordinary Canadians who have made a mark on the child welfare landscape.
During this year’s event, I was thrilled to meet Samidha Singhal, a girl who has worked so hard to defeat the odds stacked against her in life.
Born and raised in India, Samidha’s life changed forever when her mother passed away when she was only seven. She immigrated to Canada with her family at 12, but after such devastating loss and adjustment to a new country, her father was unable to provide parental support and care. As a result, Samidha entered foster care, moving from school to school and home to home.
Despite these challenges, she promised herself she would continue to keep moving forward. Samidha has made the choice to persevere and advocate for current and former children and youth in foster care and has joined the Foundation’s youth council and ambassador teams to raise awareness, to ensure there’s adequate support, to pay it forward, and, most of all, to stand by those who feel that they are alone.
In talking to Samidha, I got to know a bright, motivated and optimistic young woman who is currently completing a summer internship at CIBC. She is studying at McMaster University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, with a minor in sustainability. In addition to advocating for changes to the foster care system, she is passionate about environmental and economic sustainability, healthy active living and education in under-developed countries. She aspires to be an entrepreneur and use her degree to make our world a better place.
Samidha was this year’s Stand Up for Kids Night recipient of the 2019-2020 Sean St. John Scholarship, and I couldn’t be more honored or proud to support her on her journey for higher education.
There are nearly 67,000 children and youth living in foster placements across Canada. Please consider being a part of their success by donating to Children’s Aid Foundation. https://www.cafdn.org/ways-to-give
I am honored to announce that National Bank has donated $300,000 to Right To Play in support of indigenous youth.
Right To Play is a global organization that aims to use the positive power of sports and play to educate and empower youth in their local communities. The organization works in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and urban organizations across Canada to build life and leadership skills amongst children and youth through the Promoting Life Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program.
This year, National Bank’s partnership with Right To Play has reached a new peak. As part of our ongoing mission to support indigenous youth, a $300,000 check was given to the PLAY program during the annual Right To Play Youth Leadership Symposium in Haliburton, Ontario. The donation will help facilitate the execution of the Youth Leadership Program, which is a component of the PLAY program dedicated to children of 13 or older. Over 3,000 Indigenous children nationwide will benefit from weekly opportunities to enhance their cognitive, social, physical and emotional development.
We have had a long history of partnering with Indigenous communities across Canada. It gives me great pride to see the Bank support Indigenous youth by allowing everyone to grow up healthy, well-educated, and empowered to make a difference in their communities. Today’s youth are building our future, and we need to offer the same possibilities to all children across the country.
The PLAY initiative will consist of a training program for locally-hired youth workers in the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Canada to deliver play-based programs that promote healthy living and relationships, education, and employability life skills.
National Bank President and CEO Louis Vachon described the PLAY program as follows: “From innovative bond programs reinvested into community infrastructures to funding homegrown life skills training initiatives like the PLAY Program, we’re committed to having a positive impact by advancing social and economic opportunities across our country. Thank you to all local youth workers for their dedication and for being the driving forces in the successful rollout of this program.”
Sean St. John
It’s a hard reality in Canada that children in many of our northernmost Indigenous communities face real challenges each and every day. Social issues that stem from intergenerational trauma are compounded by the remoteness of these communities and the difficulty of reaching these youth with the resources and support they need to realize their potential.
This is not lost on Sean St. John. Drawing on his Mohawk heritage, his commitment to helping young people be the best they can be, and his passion around the importance of sports to build confidence and resilience – Sean did not hesitate for a second to get involved in supporting Connected North. By using technology to conquer the challenges of time and distance, students in the north are gaining access to much needed resources and learning opportunities.