“My daughter loved this program so much. Attended in an Ottawa school for two years and it flourished her love of reading and brought out a passion for running. She now loves to race in marathons (her most recent was a Spartan Jr. race) and enjoys reading quietly by herself but mostly out loud to her siblings! Thank you.”
// Sarah, parent
“Love this program; all off my kids attended over the last 7 years and still have one attending and one is a jr. coach here in Kingston, ON. Amazing program.”
// Cori-lyn, parent
“My students and teachers really enjoyed the Start2Finish assembly and as I walked around the classes afterwards everyone was talking about or writing about setting goals and having dreams for themselves. It was a fabulous experience!
I wouldn’t let Brian Warren [Start2Finish Founder & Executive Director] out of my office until he committed to bringing the Running & Reading program here to our school. He said he would do everything he could to make this happen. So he finally was allowed out of the Principal’s office!”
// Principal, Hamilton
“I struggled in school, I struggled with my confidence, I struggled to develop discipline, I struggled to set goals for my life because I couldn’t see beyond the community that I lived in; I couldn’t see beyond the poverty that was such a reality to me. It seemed at the time that there was no other way for me to go and no other doors that were open to me. I had no idea what I was capable of doing and what I was capable of being. Start2Finish played an important role in my life because they helped me re-shape my future. They helped me carve out a plan for myself, and they motivated me to succeed.
Now they have inspired me to change my country for the better. Today, I am a university graduate, I recently graduated from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Training Academy, and I have been posted to British Columbia as a Constable. Now I’m advocating on behalf of other kids who can’t speak for themselves. Thank you, Start2Finish, for paving the Pathway of Hope and helping me build my cycle of success.”
// Edward Lule, Start2Finish Scholarship Recipient and Program Graduate
“We are a small city centre school, where virtually all of our children come from families in great need. The [Start2Finish] donation of backpacks and school supplies is greatly appreciated by them. The provision of these necessities enables our students to compete in their learning with the rest of the world.
…Our students really look forward to Wednesdays, when they get to see their ‘coach’ at the Running & Reading Club. Our students are setting and meeting goals previously thought to be unattainable. The relationships formed between students and coaches are truly life-changing.”
"My granddaughter’s dance school – Centre Stage, does a special dance event – Beyond the Stage, which raises valuable funds to aid Start2Finish in bridging the gap between the “haves and the have nots” amongst Canada’s children. The event helps to nurture young leaders who understand the importance of giving back, particularly through the art of dance. Last year they raised $14,000 as well as 900 books. They also bring a group of children from a local school to dance on the stage in the finale.
1 in 4 children in Canada are below the poverty line.
I would like to see Ceridian make a donation to this great charity. These children will be the future of our country.”
// Winning proposal submitted to Ceridian Canada Ltd. by employee Donna Demczuk (Ceridian chose Start2Finish as their featured charity for 2011)
“Can you imagine he [Pathway of Hope Scholarship recipient] came to Canada 5 years ago speaking no English at all? He came with his siblings from an orphanage in Sri Lanka. He was put in an ESL math class. His teacher in that class (a good friend of mine) recognized his potential and encouraged him to do Academic math. From his 5 siblings he is the only one going to University. He is the only one in the history of his family going to University. And this because of his first math teacher in Canada, because of me and because of Start2Finish. I remember during his grade 12 I tried absolutely everything to get some financial assistance for him. He was working 40 and then more than 60 hours a week. It was impossible. I tried through our Principal at that time, his community, businesses in our community. I do not give up easily, but I gave up at that time. You changed everything! I hope he will stay healthy, become independent financially, and have a fulfilling life. He deserves it!”
// School Guidance Counselor, Mississauga
“My words can't express, how thankful I am to you and (Start2Finish] for being so generous and helpful to me. Your support means a lot to me and my future. Being new immigrants to Canada, my parents were always worried about managing for our university funds. But [Start2Finish] lightened our hopes. My parents are extremely thankful to you for being so generous towards my future. I am anxiously looking forward to participating on the summer event and repay you back, a debt of lifetime!”
// Pathway of Hope Scholarship Recipient
Little Sarah who after the first lap said to me, ‘Coach, I’m not Terry Fox, I just can’t make it!’ but with a little encouragement, persevered and ended up first across the finish of all of the kids at her school. She was truly amazed with herself and I could feel her little mind wondering just what she was capable of, perhaps for the first time. She will surely move onto setting some goals now that she has tasted a bit of accomplishment.”
// Volunteer Coach, Winnipeg
“We can’t thank you enough for bringing the Running & Reading Club to our school. We were so proud of our students as they crossed the finish line on Saturday [at the Start2Finish 5K Run for Change] and they were even prouder of themselves. Most wore their medals to school today and yesterday, and we congratulated them all on their teamwork on our morning announcements.
The principal and I were delighted to be at York University on Saturday and we wish you could see and hear the buzz around the school. Children are beaming!”
// Vice-Principal, Toronto
“You cannot achieve anything without goals, and you must conquer obstacles and persevere to achieve those goals. A car does not run without gas!“
// Grade 6 Student, Toronto (when asked the most valuable lesson learned at the Running & Reading Club)
“It was very touching when I was saying good-bye to the kids and telling them all to have a great summer. Trisha and Deanna looked so sad after they gave me a hug, and asked if they would ever see me again. Josh said he had an awesome time, and said he wanted to high-five me before he left. Looks like we made a connection with some of these kids. Even Amanda opened up and started telling me about school.
It was hard work, but wonderful to be a part of it all. It’s something I’ll never forget. Thanks for the opportunity!”
// Volunteer Coach, Winnipeg
“I would like for you all to know at Start2Finish that you have made a tremendous impact on the lives of numerous kids. As a teacher, I know that we do not always see the difference that we have made. Sometimes, we just don’t hit the mark; other times, the effect is unnoticed. In the case of Start2Finish at our school, I know how much your efforts meant to so many of these children.
I have been teaching at this school for a long time…sometimes I think it has been too long. I have taught many of these kids since they started school. It is always so hard to reach them – I mean, really reach them. It is hard to find something that means enough to them to keep them working hard. Often, the perseverance is just not there. Perhaps they did not have a person in their life demonstrate that quality in a real way for them. I have been involved with a few extra-curricular initiatives over the years that were supposed to help bridge the gaps either between home and school or simply between the demands of the real world and their own sense of purpose. These were programs that were tried and true and were designed to help kids succeed. In my experience, the real challenge has always been in keeping people engaged in the program. Unfortunately, the “stick-to-it-ness” is not always strong. Students drop out and the program is not as successful as hoped. But I feel that Start2Finish has motivated a lot of kids to stick with it and succeed. I want you all to know that in my experience, it was a success.
I am sure each of you has a “special” case. A student who really touched you or at least one you were really glad to see cross the finish line. Me too. Please remember that for each one you noticed, there was at least one student who was affected by your efforts without your knowledge. Those are the real victories.”
// Teacher, Ottawa