Holland Bloorview and Lang Scholars team up to help kids
Year 12 student and Lang Scholar Will Blair initiated a program to provide a youth perspective to assist the development of major initiatives at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, along with assisting in developing and planning volunteer events at the hospital and in the general community.
“I was initially introduced to Holland Bloorview through a close friend who spent most of his childhood at the hospital due to his cerebral palsy,” says Blair.
“I began volunteering three years ago in Grade 9. After experiencing work with many inspirational kids through the Spiral Garden, aquatic therapy and brain injury programs, I decided to expand on my personal volunteer experiences by creating the Holland Bloorview Youth Ambassadors program, which I developed in consultation with Sandra Hawken, the president and CEO of Holland, along with Molly McKeown, the head of corporate and community partnerships.”
Blair has now enlisted fellow Lang Scholars to be part of the Holland Lang Ambassadors program, which had its first meeting in January. They’ll have monthly team meetings, each with a different focus, until the end of the school year.
“We discuss the focus and activity and then create plans of actions to work to improve the focus and activity over the following month,” says Blair. “Volunteer opportunities will also be provided to allow us to interact with children at the hospital, along with focus groups working directly with children.”
Some of the Lang Scholars attended a Feb. 28 event at the Indigo store at the Yonge Eglinton Centre to raise funds for Holland Bloorview's upcoming Capes for Kids campaign, along with meeting several current patients. They also had a dinner meeting with the head of community partnerships at Holland Bloorview to review proposals for increasing the involvement of high schools in volunteering and with the Capes for Kids campaign.
The Holland Lang Ambassadors also helped run a Capes for Kids Lego party for elementary school students at Holland Bloorview earlier this month.
The Lang Scholars program was established at UCC in 2013 and up to 15 students are chosen to take part each year. Lang Scholars represent UCC values such as learning, service and community. They receive access to unique enrichment opportunities, including leadership training conferences and guest speakers. In turn, they’re expected to contribute to College life through the mentorship of younger student athletes and additional community service.