She’s a force to be reckoned with. Her undying passion for sports and her belief in creating a welcoming environment for children to learn and grow makes Laurie Lamarche an inspiration at the Toronto Jane & Finch chapter of HEROS. Growing up as a “Base brat” she has personally experienced the positive impact sports has on youth. Many years later and after raising her own family a mutual friend suggested volunteering at HEROS. Ten years later, she feels so connected to the program that she’s “just like a mum all over again” each time she sees HEROS participants “go on to postgraduate school or come to help out with the younger children.”
Laurie has always focused her volunteering efforts on children. “I love that audience. They’re forgiving, they’re not judgmental, they’re quick learners, so HEROS was the perfect program for me,” she explained. As a former figure skater, she works with our Future Stars giving them a strong start as they learn to skate. One of her favourite moments with every child is seeing them skate the width of the ice without falling, “I think just being able to say ‘I can skate’ or ‘I can play hockey’ it’s something they’ve accomplished and they feel proud.” She returns to HEROS over and over again because she feels it helps raise children in the right way and instills self-esteem, respect and discipline at a young age which is something that they can carry forward at their schools and within their communities.
Laurie pays particular attention to the girls in the program because she wants them to know that competitive sports is for everyone. She wants to engage them and help them realize that it’s ok if they fall, but it’s important that they get up. “It transcends the sexes when you play a sport that everybody could do.”she described “It’s really important to me to get the girls into this, they learn a skill, they learn respect, and they have something to do and keeps them busy.” The extra effort Laurie and the volunteers make towards the girls shows: they had the largest number of girls sign up in 2018 across all HEROS chapters in Canada.
She is adamant that what she does is not hard work, “I’m just at the end, the easy end, of delivering and working with these wonderful children. These kids are here because they want to be here,” she explained. Her commitment to HEROS is unwavering and it is because of volunteers like Laurie that HEROS is able to have a positive impact on the boys and girls in our program and we are thankful to have you working with us. Thank you Laurie!