“It feels great,” said 15-year-old Feranmi Agebiyi, as he picked up a new pair of red basketball shoes at the office of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg Thursday morning. “I had an all right pair of shoes, but they’re very, very dirty. “These new shoes will help me so much more.”
He selected the snazzy red basketball shoes from more than 400 pairs of various types of sport shoes donated by Team BC and Team Ontario – a legacy project for the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Team Alberta and Team Nunavut have also contributed shoes. And Team BC made a financial contribution of $1,000 to support the purchase of sport equipment.
Some 3,500 to 4,000 kids access the Boys and Girls Clubs services and facilities at 11 locations across Winnipeg. “We do a lot of work with kids saying, if you have a dream, you can make it happen,” said Ron Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Clubs, in describing what it means to receive the donation. “And this is one of those things that will make that stronger.”
He added shoes are the foundation of sport participation. “We deal with growing kids. They might have shows that are fine, but now don’t fit anymore. We’re kind of like a shoe store now to try to match everyone with something that works for them.”
"I think what is exciting for the youth in the community, is to know that you are going to walk a mile and you are potentially going to walk a mile in new shoes from a potential Olympian or Paralympian,” said Michelle Collens, Team BC assistant Chef de Mission. “Many of our Team BC and Team Ontario members have gone on to success at the Olympics and Paralympics. We hope that inspires all the kids to get on the field of play, be physically active, compete and have fun.”
Collens said Team BC and Team Ontario have initiated legacy projects focused on social responsibility at past Canada Games. “It has been an amazing two weeks and we want to say thank you to Winnipeg and to all of the volunteers. It really is friendly Manitoba."