Is there anything more endearing than a sparkle of wonder in a child’s eyes?
Have you ever heard of Dreams Take Flight?
It’s a charity that current and former Air Canada employees created in collaboration with the Air Canada Foundation to give children from underprivileged communities the chance to experience a day of pure magic.
Every year, young recipients are selected from a number of organizations, including Breakfast Club of Canada, to take part in a very special 24-hour trip to Walt Disney.
This year, the big day came on November 6. On board the southbound plane were one student from Adrien-Gamache School and three from Curé-Paquin School.
Their trip was many things: jam-packed, fun-filled, awe-inspiring and, most of all, chock-full of magical moments.
Jean Pelletier, assistant principal of Adrien-Gamache School, asked Magalie Dalcourt, the student who was chosen for this year’s trip, for her impressions. She had nothing but glowing remarks. In fact, she described the entire day without pausing for a breath!
“There were Disney characters at the airport. And you know what? They had great big fairy-tale doors. And the clown in the airplane was so funny! My ears hurt a little, but I flew right above the clouds. What I liked the most was the rollercoaster in the dark. It was amazing. There was magic everywhere – everywhere! Then I met Tinkerbell and she watched the fireworks with us. After, we took a boat to go back to our plane and I even almost lost my glasses! Good thing I didn’t! And it was such a nice warm day – not like it is here right now!”
It’s easy to imagine Magalie’s eyes glisten with joy and excitement as she recounted her adventure – and feeling that may stay with her forever. The day was a hit in so many ways.
But how did Magalie get picked for the trip? Simple! She was nominated by Mr. Pelletier and Club volunteer Linda Gauthier. Linda sees Magalie every morning at the school breakfast program. Linda had witnessed first-hand how much of a go-getter Magalie is and how quick she is to lend a helping hand, always treating others with respect. Congratulations, Magalie! That’s something to be very proud of!
Her travel companions were three students from Curé-Paquin School, some of whom come from a bit of a rocky background. The trip was a unique experience that got them out of their comfort zone and boosted their self-esteem: remember they were travelling by themselves, without their parents, and taking the plane for the very first time. They were practically bursting with pride!
Josée Brunelle, the principal at Curé-Paquin, was effusive in her praise for the initiative: “When we let parents know their child has been chosen for such an incredible experience, they are overcome with emotion. They are often moved to tears – of joy, naturally. And their gratitude is palpable – as is their children’s!”
When all is said and done, this is much more than a simple trip to Disney. It’s a voyage of discovery, designed to show students how fantastic life can be and to let them know that their efforts do not go unnoticed.
The breakfast program at Curé-Paquin School is greatly appreciated by parents, too. The volunteers who work there are extraordinary. They are students from high school and CEGEP and adults who come help out before their work day begins. They generously give more than just their time: they are a source of comfort, security and friendship.
Together, these volunteers are pointing the way to a better world. They are showing their young charges how beautiful life can be.
After their day of enchantment, the kids return home, still with a dreamy look on their face and their hearts overflowing with delight.
Thank you to Dreams Take Flight and our partners at Air Canada Foundation, as well as other sponsors who make this uplifting initiative possible – and put that special sparkle in so many eyes!