One of the focuses of our Club’s is to provide kids with new opportunities and experiences. The Afro Quiz is one example. It’s a Jeopardy-style quiz competition held each year during Black History Month to celebrate the rich history of people of African descent across the globe.
This year, a 12 year old boy named Aashwin decided to try his hand at the Afro Quiz. Just over a year and a half ago, he and his mother moved to Canada from India and before getting involved in the Club, he had very little knowledge of African history and culture. To his delight, dedication and hard work won him first place in the competition!
Shikha, Ashawin’s mom, says the Afro Quiz was a “very good experience for him. I was so proud to see him win. I started crying, thinking ‘my son stood first!’”
In his relatively short time as a member of our Boys & Girls Club, Aashwin has had lots of really unique opportunities that have helped him settle into Canadian life. Aside from the regular day to day programming, he was also selected to participate in Tim Horton’s Camp.
Though Shikha was hesitant to let him go away for two days, Nirmal, one of our Club Coordinators, was able to help her see the value.
“It was his first time going outside of the city, and being away from me,” Shikha explains. “Nirmal said it would be a lifetime achievement for him and that there would be many staff there to look after him. So I trusted him. From the moment he left, everyone was totally connected with him and they were taking care of him. It was then I realized he wasn’t with strangers. No, he has gone with his family members.”
When Shikha moved to Canada on a work visa, a friend of hers told her about the club. She decided to send Aashawin because she knew he would have opportunities to explore many things and learn about Canadian culture.
“I am a single mother and I am blessed with two boys,” Shikha confides. “My eldest is in India, and I came to Canada with Aashwin because I wanted to build up a future over here for them. I want them to get good exposure and have a good life.”
Since they’ve been in Canada and been participating in our club programming, Aashwin’s self-esteem and confidence has grown. His mother notes that he plays well with others and communicates in English wonderfully. Even his school work has improved.
Overall, Shikha is incredibly grateful for the support she’s received from the club and the staff. “Aashwin is always saying he needs to go to club, even if he’s sick,” she laughs. “He has all of his friends at the club and is comfortable playing games with everyone.”
“The club really supports him in every aspect of his life,” she continues. “Field trips, club programs, and everything else. When Nirmal found out he loved swimming, he helped us apply for swimming lessons through Jumpstart. Now Aashwin is able to do swimming because of the club.”
We are so honoured to be able to support families who are new to Canada just like Aashwin and his mother Shikha. Aashwin has grown incredibly in the year and a half that we’ve known him and we can’t wait to see what great things he achieves next.