Man In Motion's Mission: Marathon of Social Change
On January 20, 15 students from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and R.B. Russell Vocational High School bundled up and helped Rick Hansen, the Man In Motion, celebrate the 25th anniversary of his journey around the world.
Walking in front of the Manitoba Legislature along with Hansen, Lieutenant Governor Philip Lee and his daughter, Maggie Lee Grant, the students were there representing the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Experience Program (LGYEP).
LGYEP challenges Manitoba youth to improve their school performance, participate in community events, overcome obstacles and strive to reach their full potential.
"He was particularly inspiring for young Canadians, who saw in Rick that adversity is no match for the strength of the human spirit," said Lieutenant Governor Philip Lee during his speech. "For that reason, I'm pleased that today young Manitobans who are part of the Lieutenant Governor's Youth Experience Program have joined the Man in Motion."
Hansen spoke about how proud he is of youth that are difference makers in their communities. "We have to honour the youth of the province and our country that are doing their part to make a difference. We are on a marathon of social change to have a healthy, accessible, inclusive world."
Through the Louis Riel Institute (LRI), the Manitoba Metis Federation supports and encourages ongoing education and youth taking part in bettering our communities. Sharon Conway, Acting General Manager of LRI and Chair of the LGYEP committee, chaperoned the youth chosen to attend the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"It was great for some LGYEP students to get the chance to experience meeting Rick Hansen and to be inspired to make a difference in their communities and their own lives by a man who has overcome so much diversity," said Conway. "They will never forget what they heard and saw today."
After being surrounded by media taking photos and video, the students went on a tour of the Legislative Building before heading over to a dinner reception in honour of Hansen at Government House, the beautiful historic residence of the Lieutenant Governor, located at 10 Kennedy Street.
"I've never been to anything like this in my life!" said Kevin, an awestruck ninth grade student from R.B. Russell Vocational High School who either wants to be a rapper, NBA star or NFL star when he grows up. "It's kinda weird, but it's been so awesome!"
As Hansen mingled and took photos with the students at the Lieutenant Governor's reception, he reminded them to be the best they can be with what they have and to "pay it forward."
"It's not about what you have or what you do, but how you do it that counts," Hansen told the students.
Kristin, a grade 11 student from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate, is part of the science club at her school. They try to raise awareness of green initiatives and other needs at their school and in the community.
"We're doing a water bottle initiative right now where we're trying to get our school to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles used," explained Kristin who is trying to decide between environmental science and medicine for her post-secondary education. "Very soon we plan to volunteer at Winnipeg Harvest."
"I'm honoured that I got to be part of this and to hear his speech," continued Kristin. "Mr. Hansen is so happy that we're involved with our community and it makes me want to do more."
One "difference maker" that has done so much for her community is Dr. Judith Bartlett, Director of the Health and Wellness Department at the Manitoba Metis Federation and Associate Professor, Adjunct Scientist (Manitoba Centre for Health Policy) Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba.
"When we look closely in our own backyard we can easily find so many heroes from all walks of life that make a difference in our community or on our families," said MMF President David Chartrand. "We NEED to remember them, thank them and ask ourselves, 'What can I do?'."
That is why President Chartrand put Bartlett's name forward to be a Medal-Bearer in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay to represent Manitoba's Metis people on Saturday, January 21.
"It's an honour to be thought of as a difference maker and it's nice to see that Metis are being visibly included," said Bartlett who carried the Medal for her 250-metre relay section between Rae & Jerry's Steak House and the Clarion Hotel. "This experience meant that what I've committed my life to has been appreciated – my work and my commitment to Metis people. Thank you, thank you."
Hansen is retracing the 40,000-kilometre route he took back in the mid to late ’80s, which is equivalent to once around the globe at the equator, but instead of wheeling the entire distance, he's being joined by 7,000 Canadians who have made a difference in the lives of others.
Last Updated (Friday, 17 February 2012 11:06)