The Leaders of Tomorrow Award recognizes youth who make a difference in Calgary through their volunteer activities. Three individuals are recognized each year in the elementary, junior high and senior high categories for their energy, commitment and character as volunteers. This award is sponsored by Encana Corporation to honour young people and their commitment to community.
It started when Alex was 5 years-old and he helped his mom and aunt make sandwiches for Calgary’s homeless. “When he was about 5, we wanted to put in an experience where he realized that other people weren’t as fortunate as he was, so we started with the sandwiches which was easy and small,” says Alex’s mom, Lindsay.
But Alex didn’t stop at just making sandwiches, he also went with his family to deliver them to Calgary’s less fortunate. “It was great to see all the smiles on their faces and to see that someone cared,” Alex says.
After the sandwiches, Alex’s parents let any further volunteering plans be his idea. “It’s progressed with him asking to do more volunteering, we tried at Christmas, again to give back as much as we can,” Lindsay reveals.
In addition to the sandwiches, for the past four years Alex has been the one in charge of ringing the bells for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, with his mothers support of course. Two years ago he began donating his time as a server of meals and beverages for the St. Mary Cathedral Feed the Hungry program.
When speaking of his efforts in helping the less fortunate, Alex has wisdom beyond his years: “The reason why I think volunteering is important is because it kind of, it’s help, and people that aren’t as lucky as most of us are, it’s nice to help them out, and give out some of the stuff that we take for granted.”
This volunteer champion wasn’t content with his on-going volunteer work; Alex also worked for six hours helping to lay re-bar and cementing a sport court for the Make-a-Wish foundation in the backyard of a family with a child in need. He also single-handedly raised nearly $1000 by shaving his head for the Shave a Lid for a Kid campaign.
Alex donates his time volunteering, he speaks to his class about his volunteer work, exhibits leadership qualities by trying to get others involved, and he even gave up his hair. But how many 11year-olds do you know that would give up their 10th birthday to volunteer? Alex did.
“It’s heart-warming to see that he wants to give his time, last year, at St. Mary’s cathedral was on his birthday, so he gave his day up to be there to feed the hungry, which was fantastic,” remembers Lindsay, the pride she has for her son obvious. “He feels wonderful about it, he wants to give more time and now it’s just become part of our lives.”
Alex has big volunteer plans for when he gets older – global plans. He wants to go to Mexico and build houses for families in need. Alex doesn’t volunteer because of awards or accolades, he is more earnest than that; he volunteers because it makes him feel good.
“There are people out there that don’t have as much stuff, as much as a gifted life that I do,” says Alex. “It puts a smile on my face to see the smiles on their faces.”
You can watch Alex in action below.