A couple of years ago, I, with the help of thousands of caring Canadians, Americans, and people around the world, completed construction on a playground in Attawapiskat. For the first time, kids there could play on a safe structure, learning valuable life skills and lessons only interactive, physical play can provide.
Seeing the faces of the kids (and parents) that day, I knew this was something I had to to in every single remote northern community that didn’t have a playground. It became my mission to ensure that every First Nations child was within walking distance of a playground. I mean; it’s not fair that many First Nations don’t have a single playground, while communities like mine have 55.
I believe it is unrealistic to think that I can build a playground in every remote northern community that doesn’t have one (at least any time soon). But – I do believe that there is a way. Allow me to introduce the “Starfish Project”.
The Starfish Project will see students from northern reserves collaborate with students from southern cities to design, plan, budget and build a playground. Together.
The experience will not only give a community an amazing playground, but will foster friendships, cross-cultural education, and a bond these kids will remember for the rest of their lives. As far as I am aware, this will be the first student-led collaborative project of its kind in Canada. Maybe even the world.
We are launching the Starfish Project with two communities: Old Village (Katlodeeche First Nation), NWT and Kasabonika First Nations, ON. We are currently looking for students in Southern Ontario to partner with the kids in the north, and once that happens, we will begin planning for the playgrounds via Skype, Google Hangouts, or a similar technology.
In the meantime, to finance this project, we are seeking various grants. The first of which is the Aviva Community Fund. This is an online contest to see whose idea can earn the most votes. Voting begins September 29.
Until then, I am asking you to share this idea along with the Aviva link to everyone in your network(s). Then on the 29th, vote.