The Heart of Calgary Award, sponsored by ConocoPhillips Canada, recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to theCalgary community through their efforts as a volunteer.
“I was only 11 years old when I used to give my toys and my lunch away to less fortunate kids in my school in Africa, inKenya,” said Bahl. “The process of giving never stopped for me.”
Over the past 32 years, Bahl has helped thousands of children in need as the president and founder of For the Love of Children Society.
In Calgary, the organization that Bahl founded helps children gain access to medicine, medical equipment and treatments not covered by the health system or not accessible due to financial constraints. Most of these children are referred to the organization by different agencies, like the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
“We have babies with congenital heart disease needing special formulas that they can’t afford, so we give them those formulas. We also provide sophisticated equipment that the children need, like specialized walkers. The children who have never walked before can now walk with the specialized walkers,” said Bahl.
“A lot of the parents can’t afford these amenities that they really need for the children and stuff. So that’s where we come in and try to fill that void.”
Aside from providing medical and financial assistance, For the Love of Children Society also promotes fun and memorable recreational activities for kids. With the Aerospace Museum, they put on Santa’s Express where kids go on a flight to see Santa Claus who’s hovering in a helicopter near theCalgaryTower. They intercept him and take him back to the Calgary International Airport and throw a big party for the kids. They also partner with Opening Gaits to host a therapeutic riding program for disabled children. The goal of these activities is simply to bring joy to children in disadvantaged families.
Through countless volunteer hours, Bahl’s organization has supplied the financial and medical assistance to children not only inCalgarybut in communities around the world.
Bahl’s dedication has also allowed his organization to reach out across borders, funding and building orphanages, schools and homes in some of the world’s poorest and most devastated countries. For the Love of Children Society has built 63 schools and orphanages around the world in places such as Africa, India, Nepal, Peru, Mexico and even war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Sudan.
“I chose [to help] children because they’re the most vulnerable, and they cannot speak out for themselves. A lot of places that I go to – that’s why I started building schools in orphanages around the world – education is my main priority for children,” said Bahl.
Bahl’s dedication to helping children is truly an inspiration to all Calgarians.
”Truly life is not really about us. It’s about making life happen for somebody else who is less fortunate than us. In that lies the true significance of living — always remember that,” said Bahl in his acceptance speech at the Leadership Awards gala.
”Everybody in this world is looking for something. Some people are looking for wealth, some people are looking for happiness, some people are even looking for God, but in the midst of helping these children, I found everything. I hope you do, too. ”