We asked a KidSafe alumna to share the impact our programs have had on her life. These are her words:
Being a part of KidSafe was one of the best decisions of my life. I remember the summer of 2013, when I was in KidSafe’s Leadership [program] with my friends. I couldn’t have found a better way to spend my two months! With staff, volunteers, and my friends, I had fun and learned something new everyday, whether I was in-club or went out on out out-trip. Attending KidSafe, and being surrounded by a supportive group of people, has had an immediate impact on my life. Since KidSafe offered me so many opportunities to try new things, I learned valuable skills, became more involved in my community, and it contributed to my personal growth, which helped to overcome my awkward preteen years.
As I was in grade 7, I got the chance to participate in KidSafe Leadership. It was decision that I wasn’t sure about, because I was a very shy and timid student, and the word “leader” was completely opposite of what I imagined myself I could be. Turns out, I didn’t have to worry about a thing! Leadership exposed me to a variety of activities, such as rock climbing and laser tag (that I had never tried before), as well as taught me leadership, communication, and teamwork skills, from trying these new things. Just from going out and exploring the community, I gained a lot of experience, which I would not have been able to do if I wasn’t a part of the program, since I usually stayed home. Thanks to KidSafe, I was able to overcome some of my shyness, and it was definitely a confidence booster! I really enjoyed being with my friends, the staff, and the volunteers, who played a large part in helping me get where I am today. The relationships and the connections that were made through KidSafe continues to this day, as I continually reminisce all the fun we had together.
When I graduated from elementary school, I was introduced to a new [KidSafe] program called Kidlink, which helped me immensely in my transition from grade 7 to grade 8. Of course, I had many worries, since I had applied to my school’s mini program. I wanted to challenge myself, as the mini program offered accelerated math and science courses, and enrichment in other courses. The worries soon grew into more of an excitement, as I received support from the Kidlink Coordinator. I was provided with a monthly bus pass for my whole grade 8 year, which made travelling to school easier and more convenient. I had always walked with my siblings to school, so being by myself was different. It also fueled my desire to travel and explore the city, as I had done in KidSafe [Break programs]. In addition, Kidlink helped me join music classes at Sarah McLachlan School of Music, when I expressed my passion for music, and helped me by providing things like program equipment or school supplies, when I could not afford it. Similar to KidSafe [Break programs], I also had chances to try new things, since Kidlink offered activities that we could participate in, such as go-karting!
Now, as an alumni in grade 11, the impacts that KidSafe had on my life are still apparent to this day. It’s been four years, but I continue to involve myself in ways where I can give back to the community, including volunteering for KidSafe, for the Boys and Girls Club, and for my local community center. I am never too far away from KidSafe, as I still keep in touch with some of the staff, and the friends I’ve made during that time, keeping the KidSafe Leadership 2013 and the Kidlink 2013/14 memories alive.
I am very thankful that I was able to participate in KidSafe. Because of KidSafe, I’ve developed maturely, into an active member of the community. It was important because it guided me in my youth, to become the person I am today. As I look back upon these experiences, it’s always bittersweet, because I’m sad that the time has passed, but I also appreciate every moment I was a part of KidSafe, which is why I will not leave with a frown on my face, but rather, continue with a smile, because all of this happened.