[B]arry & the Blasters have always been a long supporter of the charity Christie Lake Kids. In fact, our annual fundraising events have become something of an annual occurrence and to date have raised over $10, 000 from ticket and raffle sales. Our past shows with Christie Lake have consistently sold out to great crowds who always the first to bust moves on the dance floor.

With our upcoming gig at The Elmdale Tavern in support of Christie Lake Kids fast approaching, we would like to provide you, our fans, with a testimonials from the organization. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Christie Lake Kids is a registered charity that provides skill building programs year round, afterschool and on weekends to children and youth living in poverty in Ottawa.  For 90 years we have been committed to removing the barriers to participation and charge no fees, provide transportation and all equipment so that economically disadvantaged children can have the opportunities they need to build skills, resiliency and pursue their dreams.   These programs increase resiliency, mental wellness, school engagement and social skills while reducing criminality, and the use of drugs and alcohol.

The funds raised by Barry and the Blaster on April 21st  will fund one skill building afterschool program in the inner city to run for all three semesters of a full school year and will be a significant contribution to the delivery of Skill Building programs that give children access to opportunities to see themselves differently, be active, and make better choices.  This evening will make it possible for many children to experience an increased sense of their own potential by participating in arts, recreation or athletics programs. This is a significant contribution to the delivery of Skill Building programs that give children access to opportunities to see themselves differently, be active, and make better choices.

[bra_blockquote align=”left”]The funds raised by Barry and the Blaster on April 21st will fund one skill building afterschool program in the inner city to run for all three semesters of a full school year[/bra_blockquote] 

 

This is the testimonial of a youth of whom we are very proud.  This youth (we will call DK) came to Christie Lake Kids 8 years old, and in his own words Christie Lake Kids provided him with stability and support and access to opportunities when he had few.  This youth will be graduating from high school this year and has early offers of admission from Dalhousie and Trent universities.  He plans to pursue a career in law, and we can see it.  As a summer camper, S.TA.R. program participant and Leader in Training DK learned to reach for his dreams and gained an appreciation for volunteerism.  As a volunteer for Christie Lake Kids, this youth supported many S.T.A.R. programs and is now a Co-chair of our newly commenced Youth Advisory Council.  He is a tireless and articulate supported of Christie Lake Kids and advocate for the needs of children living in poverty.  DK demonstrates beautifully the impact of Christie Lake Kids programs over the long term and how these impacts benefit our community and can improve the outlook of a young life.

Rachel Horsley
Director of Resource Development
Christie Lake Kids 

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A Life Worthwhile

By DK

I was sitting at my desk at school the first time I heard about Christie Lake. An announcement came over the P.A. ”anyone who wants to go to Christie Lake Camp can come down to the office and pick up an application”. I really wanted to go, camp sounded like a lot of fun… but living in a single parent family made cost a real issue, I just hoped it was possible. For sure, the first thing my mom asked when I showed her the form was how much it cost, I am so happy that she called the office. The people at Christie Lake explained to her that it was free and I was so happy to go off to camp!

After my first time at camp I would count the days till next registration, I looked forward to it all year… my childhood years in Heatherington were some of my happiest years, between camp and STAR I had so many good things happening.

Camp was really amazing for me it offered me new experiences out of my neighborhood and away from the realities of home. We moved a lot. Getting involved with STAR and Camp were the best things that happened to me. It gave me hope and provided me with stability when there were a lot of changes in my life…. I always had my friend and the staff of Christie Lake Kids to see me through.

Yes, I have lived with the realities of growing up in poverty, in unsafe communities and with out many options; I have also grown up with a parent who has Bi-Polar disease. My mom’s mental illness has presented me with a lot of barriers in connecting with my community, and making friends, my sense of self and my relationship with her and my siblings. From day to day it was hard for me to know how my mom was going to be, if she way up it was great but when she was down. The Staff of CLK encouraged me to learn more about my mom’s illness and to talk to her about it, which made a huge difference for me… they supported me through a difficult time in developing my understanding. Christie Lake Kids programs taught me how to be a better friend, manage my emotions, and find pleasure in giving support to others. My favourite saying is “A life lived for others is a life worthwhile” and that is how I go day by day.

Now I am 17 and a facilitator in my second year of the LIT Program, and I still count down the days to the next camp weekend! I volunteer at swimming, dodge ball, hockey and volleyball and this summer I plan on working at Camp as Counselor. I travel 1.5-2 hours each way across town to participate in these programs. It’s a bit hard to juggle with the rest of my life but I manage because I love Christie Lake Kids, I love that I can give a little of my time and make a little kid’s whole week.

At home I have a lot of responsibility; I have 4 younger siblings including 4 year old twin brothers. At home I am kind of like a parent: I diaper, help, care for and guide my brothers. I try not to take on too much; it’s hard for my mom on her own. My main job is to be an excellent example, model good behaviours and give them positive ideas about what they can do with their lives.

It’s a big responsibility. Christie Lake Kids has helped me develop my skills in communications, my empathy and patience which has been great in learning to be a great brother, but also CLK gives me the opportunity to just be me, to enjoy my youth, be with a network of friends I trust, and feel good about myself.

I started Camp 8 years ago. Even as a young camper I knew I wanted to be involved, I wanted to be one of the counselors. There have been a lot of changes up at camp and I think they are really positive for the kids – camp is such a welcoming experience where all kids can trust and feel safe. I just can’t wait to go back, it’s so fun!

Camp really started me in learning about being a good mentor, and thinking about the future. I do not have any idea where I would be without CLK. I used to be a lot more rigid and kind of a difficult guy to be around… I am a completely different guy now, and I like it – I feel so at home trying to be a good person. I don’t think I would have gone very far without CLK. I want to be a Lawyer, I was thinking about corporate law, but I have learned so much about the needs of children in the community – I was thinking why should I let that go to waste? I think I want to be a children’s advocate through human right’s law.

We need to make governments and society accountable for all of the changes that need to happen to make things better for kids. There are so many promises to reduce poverty and so little results. Words alone cannot explain the difference CLK has meant to me, to my life, and to my family in helping us bridge the gaps that poverty creates.

Next, I will work on my last year of high school, write my scholarship applications with the help of CLK staff, and off to university and the work to make the game fair for all kids. Every child deserves the chances and the opportunities that we have all been given at Christie Lake Kids. For the rest of my days I will give back to Christie Lake Kids.

Thank you for your part in making this amazing experience possible for more kids and youth like me.

Sincerely,

DK

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