You may not understand if you live in the East, but Canadian prairie winters can be pretty harsh. They're hard on adults, of course, but they're even harder on kids. There are kids like Thomas whose family works hard, but still can't pay the bills. Thomas' dad lost one of his part-time jobs in the middle of one of those winters, and they had to move. It can be difficult to down-size. It's even more difficult when the only thing left to down-size to is a shelter.
You may wonder what happens to a child like Thomas when he has to not only change schools in the middle of grade 3, but he lives in one tiny room with his older brother and parents. Well, they come to the Start2Finish Running & Reading Club! They come to us because people like you, along with their teachers and principals, know that we are there to mentor them and give them the tools they need to succeed and achieve the life they and their parents dreamed of. We will not say "no" -- and we will make room in the Start2Finish Running & Reading Club program to provide a "safe space" during tough transitions.
For Thomas, getting "lost" in a great book, as simple as it may sound, made a world of difference. And with his coach spending the time with him and helping him sound out the big words, he found his confidence growing week after week. Training for a 5 km run helped lower his anxiety level and eliminate some of the stressors he was facing, and his teachers remarked that he was focusing more in class and even putting up his hand to answer questions.
With the school supplies Thomas received through the Start2Finish Backpack Program and the literacy assistance the Running & Reading Club provided, Thomas got caught up in his reading and ecstatically crossed the finish line in his first 5 km race. Both his parents were there to witness his accomplishment and they gave him the proudest hug. The experience impacted the whole family as his dad held back tears and whispered with relief and hope, "He's going to do better than I did. He's going to be something."