It is hard to find the right words to describe the feeling inside of the Sport Chek this past Monday in Surrey, BC. HEROS (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society) expanded their programming to the city of Surrey, an area that proved to be a great fit for this incredible non-profit organization.
HEROS teaches at-risk youth important life skills while putting them on the ice in a weekly hockey program.
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, store managers from Sport Chek stores throughout the Surrey area, Surrey Schools staff and superintendents, Surrey RCMP, as well as the HEROS team, waited excitedly at the entrance of the store for the newest additions to the HEROS family to arrive and to be fully equipped with brand new hockey gear. Starting this group of youth out on the right foot and helping to guide them down the right path in life. “Hockey is Canada’s game and something that is incredibly galvanizing for young people in our nation. We are excited to be opening a new program in Surrey, to offer a free hockey program to vulnerable young people in need. With the support of great partners like Jumpstart and the NHL Hockey is for Everyone initiative, we are excited to be opening another program in British Columbia,” said Norm Flynn, Executive Director and Founder of HEROS. “The ability to give youth from families who can’t afford the cost of minor hockey, for whom our program can provide mentors who can use the game of hockey to impact their lives off the ice, happens only when the community comes together as it has here in Surrey.” The anticipation of each new HERO as their feet were measured to be fit for brand new skates, as they were sized for helmets, as all their equipment was labelled with their name… The emotion in the store was palpable. Most of the kids will be skating and playing hockey for their first time ever when they join the HEROS program.
This year marks HEROS’ 17th season providing programs to youth in eight other Canadian cities: Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary with 20 programs that will benefit more than 650 youth. Nearly 6,000 children have been influenced by the HEROS program since its inaugural season. The Surrey program, many years in the making, will see 36 Elementary School aged boys & girls from 4 area schools hit the ice; many for the first time in their lives.
The smiles on the kids’ faces as they proudly listed off the HEROS behaviours in unison (Listening, Respect, Discipline, Fun) was early proof to what will surely be a great year ahead for all of the youth that are positively impacted by HEROS. A very heartfelt thank you to Jumpstart, Sport Chek, the National Hockey League, and Surrey Schools for making this day possible!
More about HEROS:
Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) is a volunteer-driven registered Canadian charitable organization committed to empowering children through ice hockey. The premise of HEROS is to use the game of hockey as a catalyst to attract youth to a program offering support for education, self-esteem building, and life skills training. The program focuses on boys and girls of diverse ethnicity from economically challenged neighbourhoods. Therefore programs are conducted in an environment of fun and safety where each child is considered to be a hero. For more information visit www.heroshockey.com
More about the Surrey HEROS program:
Nine boys and girls from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds were selected from each of four area schools (Old Yale, KB Woodward, Cedar Hills, & Prince Charles). Participants were chosen based on financial barriers as well as other barriers to success in the home, school, and community. October 17 marks the first day of a weekly program that will carry through the entire hockey season. HEROS volunteers, drawn from the Vancouver and Surrey areas will provide the participants with on and off ice mentoring and skill development opportunities. HEROS has partnered with Surrey Schools to put this after school program in place. The City of Surrey and Surrey Minor Hockey have also played vital roles in bringing the program to fruition. Surrey natives Brendon Dillon (San Jose Sharks) and Jujhar Khaira (Edmonton Oilers) as well as Sven Baertschi (Vancouver Canucks) serve as NHL Ambassadors for HEROS