Ottawa, Ontario, May 25, 2022
As a charity of choice during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, May 28-29, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa (BGC Ottawa) is raising funds for the Walk This Way program. It is a targeted wellness program that encourages youth and teens to become physically active while exploring communities outside their own neighborhoods.
Fardosa (9), BGC Ottawa member, and her older sister, Faiza (19), BGC Ottawa alumnae and Youth Worker have been participating in the Walk This Way since their first year with the Club, aged seven and nine respectively. program of BGC Ottawa. This BGC Ottawa program is a tradition in their family. Their two sisters and four brothers have also experienced this life-changing program.
As a young member, Faiza never explored the city. Her family had a single car for work. Her other parent stayed at home to look after the younger children. Through the Walk This Way program, the Club gave her, and her siblings, “an opportunity to explore beautiful places in and around our city,” such as the Science Museum, Parliament Hill and Gatineau Park.
Fardosa added: “It gave me the confidence to take on challenges that I wouldn’t have wanted to do before”. She finds it exciting to walk longer. She also enjoys meeting new friends, despite being a shy kid for the Club. “Sometimes I go sightseeing with school,” she adds, “but I always have a project, task, or homework to do, so all I think about is my grade. With Walk This Way, I can just enjoy it and spend time with Faiza, staff, family and friends.”
Faiza says the program is “a bonding session with her family and friends that will last for decades.” It brings people together, like a big Club family, and that people take care of each other like a family and help others overcome barriers. “Every child is different. One child may not be able to leave their neighbourhood, another may struggle with food insecurity or have health problems to overcome, but Walk This Way is here for all of them.”
Faiza added: “It makes me happy to see Fardosa enjoying the program with her friends and discovering new places. I didn’t have this when I was her age, so I know how much of a difference it makes, even if she might not see it yet.”
The sisters can’t wait to keep pushing boundaries, experiencing new opportunities and meeting new people. That is why the whole family continues to participate in the Walk This Way program.
Annie and Paul Jr. Both will walk 5 kilometers on May 28 in memory of their father, in support of BGC Ottawa. “My father, Paul Sr., was an avid runner and lifelong coach dedicated to supporting children and youth in Ottawa,” adds Annie Premachuk.
Their Born to Run team was named as a tribute to Bruce Springsteen – their father’s all-time favorite artist. Paul Sr. ran in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend itself years ago. Annie and Paul Sr. are ready to continue this tradition in his honor.
Compete in the 100K x 100K for Walk This Way Challenge, led by Gavin Lumsden, an incredible BGC Ottawa volunteer. A passionate supporter, Gavin has led the program for over 15 years. Join us today and help us raise $100,000 for the program to ensure it supports the next generation of young people.
About Walk This Way
Walk This Way is a targeted wellness program that encourages youth and teens to get physically active while exploring communities outside their neighborhood. Operated from five BGC Ottawa locations, the program serves the most marginalized youth in our community. This program provides opportunities to lose weight outside of regular recreational activities.
Over 12 weeks, participants take part in practice walks around the city, visiting unique sights, destinations and events – opportunities that these young people might not otherwise have access to. The program concludes with walkers competing in the 5k event during the Ottawa Race Weekend. During the event, participants are cheered on by complete strangers and friends and receive a shiny medal to honor their achievements. In its 15-year history, more than 2,000 young people have participated in the Walk This Way program.
About BGC Ottawa
For nearly 100 years, BGC Ottawa, a registered charity, has provided programs directly to children and youth in vulnerable neighborhoods. As one of Ottawa’s largest charitable organizations serving children and youth, BGC Ottawa provides essential programs and services to an average of 4,500 young members in 19 neighborhoods each year. We provide safer, supportive places where all children and teens, of all backgrounds, can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers and develop confidence and skills for life. From anti-racism to reconciliation to LGBTQ2S+, food security to scholarships to job readiness, our clubs fight systemic problems with systemic solutions – equality, acceptance, support, opportunity. BGC Ottawa is about systemic opportunity.
To support BGC Ottawa’s Ottawa Race Weekend Fundraising Campaign, click here