WJHA graduate aims to pay it forward

May 22, 2024 9:32 am by Payton Robinson Dynamic Featured Image

A decade ago, a fresh eyed third grader from Stevenson-Britannia school walked into hockey for all centre with a bag of hockey equipment almost as big as he was, unaware of just how meaningful his first steps on the ice would be; it was the beginning of a journey that would help shape his success in school and beyond, and he has never looked back.

“The TNYF (True North Youth Foundation) gave me a chance to grow personally, develop new skills, and try out an exciting new experience – hockey,” said Amos, now 20.

Amos is a 2022 graduate of the TNYF’s Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) – a program that uses hockey to engage youth in their school and community. Students new to the sport enter the program in Grade 4 with the goal of continuing through to graduation, building confidence and resilience and fostering the values of team and hard work along the way.

Amos’ growth and dedication made an impact on his WJHA coaches, mentors and peers and in his graduating year, he was awarded the Birdies 4 Blades renewable scholarship, which allowed him to focus on his studies at the University of Manitoba without the additional pressures of working to pay for school. He is beyond thankful for the award and the leg up it gave him in post-secondary.

“Your support won’t be wasted. I’m determined to work hard, accomplish my goals, and ultimately return the favour in the same way that you have,” said Amos. “Your generosity has made a positive impact on my university experience, and I will always be grateful for your kindness.”

Amos took advantage of all the WJHA had to offer both on and off the ice. The program grows with students, offering successive support programming through middle to senior years in preparation for life beyond school.  Through career exploration, volunteering, job interview preparation, coaching on resume building and scholarship application, Amos felt well-prepared to face post-secondary and look to a bright future.

Amos stresses the importance of the values and lessons learned through the WJHA as being foundational during his first two years of university as well as to his future success.

“Resilience will be needed for goals like completing my undergrad and competing in a triathlon, and I believe I’ve built a solid foundation of resilience from playing hockey with the WJHA over the years.”

He looks forward to giving back to the community like the WJHA has supported him.

“In the future, I hope to provide mentorship to young people who may not have access to the same opportunities or experiences that I have had. Through mentorship, I would aim to share my knowledge and experiences and provide guidance and support to help young people navigate challenges they may encounter.”