Boys and Girls Club Yearbook
For the last eight school years, the Calgary Foundation team has been visiting the Boys and Girls Club for monthly mentoring sessions.
“This year, we had practice networks lead activities for the kids,” says Elias Hernandez, an engineer who champions this initiative. “Staff were inspired and emotionally invested.”
Over the year, engineers, planners and construction inspectors presented talks to the children about the work they do in the community. Health buffs and cyclists shared their passions and knowledge in open discussions about nutrition and safety.
Talks were followed by a craft activity that encouraged communication, teamwork and fun. Bonds have grown stronger among participants, and the partnership between the Urban Systems Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club continues to solidify.
“Often, these kids don’t have adults available to them in a mentoring capacity,” says Elias. “It’s okay to talk to us. We care about them and want them to succeed.”
June 16 was the last mentoring session of the school year, so a party was in order, complete with pizza and board games. Urban Systems received a huge thank-you card made and signed by the children and staff of the Boys and Girls Club.
The Foundation team created a 2015-2016 Yearbook, a compilation of stories and photos from the year’s activities. It was presented to the Club and the children queued to sign the autograph pages.
“The yearbook is a communal patchwork of everybody’s voice,” says Elias. “It lets us look back on our shared memories and understand the impact we’ve made on the children through our small time commitment. Everyone always takes away something special.”
Stopping to reflect on Foundation team achievements helps us monitor our effectiveness. It also guides our future planning.
In autumn, Elias will continue to organize monthly events with the Boys and Girls Club. He hopes to encourage Urban Systems staff to unlock their talents and interests, and apply them in ways that benefit the children.
“Sometimes we get involved in initiatives simply because there is a need or a gap to fill. But if someone is passionate about a subject, and it’s something that the kids can learn from, we encourage staff to take it on. It can make a real difference in the lives of kids, right here in our local community.”
Elias contemplates the meaningful moments of volunteering.
“To hear a kid say ‘this was fun’, or ‘I remember that activity’ – it really hits home just how much of an impact we have made on them this year. The kids are very genuine and thankful.”