Fatima had been moved from refugee camp to refugee camp for as long as she could remember, hoping to get a chance at a better life in Canada. Each time, her hopes would build only to be dashed. She spent many sleepless nights quietly crying herself to sleep while her sister and brothers lay next to her.
You may wonder what happens to a child like Fatima when she finally "wins the lottery" and finds herself sitting in a Canadian classroom barely speaking English and not knowing how to read. Well, she comes to the Start2Finish Running & Reading Club! She comes to us because people like you, along with her teachers and principals, know that we are there to mentor her and give her the tools she needs to succeed and achieve the life she and her parents dreamed of. We will not say "no" -- and we do whatever it takes to help.
The Start2Finish Running & Reading Club provides a "safe space" in a school setting, breaks down barriers that prevent kids from reading, provides stress release and develops goal-setting through running. We help kids like Fatima transition during a scary time in their young lives.
Last year, Fatima's Running & Reading Club had a surprise visit from the guy in the red suit -- Santa. She might not have fully understood the purpose behind it all, but she quickly figured out she could ask him for stuff. When it was her turn to make a request, she whispered, "Can you please bring my dad home?"
Of course, "Santa" could not give Fatima what she asked for, nor could her coaches at Start2Finish, but what they could give her was HOPE for a better future, for both herself and the generations that will come after her. The nurture she experiences at the Running & Reading Club and the skills, character and self-confidence she is building are opening opportunities that will set her up for success in school and life. As she crossed the finish line at our 5K Running & Reading Challenge at the end of May and proudly received her medal, the huge smile on Fatima's face revealed what her heart was saying. "It's going to be OK."
At Start2Finish, we give ALL children the tools to graduate and build their own cycle of success. Thank you for being part of that cycle.