My experience in the community started at a young age. I was short, I was shy and didn’t have too many friends. When I had met Mare for the first time, the connection was immediate. My heart always knew what it wanted to say, but I didn’t have the experience or courage to express myself. Mare brought that out of me over the years. It wasn’t the fastest process but slowly and surely, my life skills and interactions with others had blossomed incredibly. My time with her kept me out of trouble, away from drugs and gave me the focus to strive for the things that I love. With that, I was fortunate enough to go to University in the United States and play basketball on a full scholarship. After an incredible four years, I moved back home. The first person I went to visit after seeing my family was Mare. We looked at each other and both knew that the things she had thought me in the past played a huge part to the opportunities I was given. An individual’s development, experiences and choices is a pivotal point that will define them as an adult. The people around them are a also a crucial factor. That’s why I chose to come back and be a part of the community. To give people the same opportunities that Mare has given me. We all have the potential to be something special but sometimes we need guidance or an extra push to get there. That’s what I want to do for our community. As I continue to learn and move forward, I have realized that I’m no longer just a member of the team, I’m the leader. As a leader, I will guide and mentor the ones who need it with everything that I have.
I am so thankful for the many wonderful experiences I have had with Mare and the programs she has worked so hard to create for children, youth and individuals over the years. My opportunity in taking part of the many activities and programs has allowed me to develop many important life skills and characteristics that have made me who I am today. When I met Mare as a child, she was my leader in an organization that ran for inner Hamilton city children. Mare immediately saw my leadership abilities in me before anyone else or even myself realized. Soon enough, I was her little leader in training. She encouraged me in the best ways possible to be creative, work my hardest and love what I do. Thanks to the continuous encouragement and passionate mentors over the years, I was able to develop strong leadership skills. This lead to wonderful things such as working alongside Mare in providing not only fun but life skill oriented programs for children, youth and individuals. This eventually lead me to run my own programs for children such as crafts and scrapbooking. I will be forever grateful to these wonderful mentors in my life that have helped me reach my full potential. I remember when Mare and I would talk about her vision of running an organization to teach and encourage individuals, and that day has finally come. I look forward to the great things Encourage You On will achieve in the future. An organization that will allow many individuals in the city to the opportunity I had. To Make friends, have fun, learn new things, develop their talents, be creative and find things they are passionate about. I end this with a big thank you to Mare. Thank you for everything you do.
Thinking back, if I hadn’t met you, I wouldn’t be the person I am now. I don’t know If I ever told you this but do you remember the bully? this was before I even started going to game room. See, when I first came to Canada, I changed a lot, didn’t talk much and easily picked fights with people. It’s probably because I was scared, everything is different and it made me felt insecure. But when I met you in game room, it completely changed me. I was welcomed by you and all the staff. It eventually made me focus more on the good things rather than the bad. Creating good relationship with others, creating a goal and trying to achieve my dream. If I hadn’t met you, I wouldn’t be as close to God like I am now. You brought me to crossfire, the best place in the word. Everything about that place will take all of your troubles away, whether it’s the troubles from home or school and outside. I have you also to thank for. At the beginning of the school year, a questionnaire was given to us. There was a question that asked, “who is the person you admire most?” I’ve always put your name down. No one else comes to mind. That’s how much you impacted my life.