Every year, we celebrate World Children’s Day on November 20 to promote the rights of our youngest citizens.
But why for only one day?
What if we could bring these core values to life all year round?
And what if one organization was already doing just that?
Breakfast Club of Canada is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. So many years, so many volunteers helping to reveal the light in every child, no matter how deeply hidden it might be.
So many years of commitment on the part of the Club’s co-founder, Judith Barry, to filling every child’s belly and unlocking every child’s potential.
The Club delivers more than daily nutrition: it creates a nurturing, stimulating environment where children have a voice, where they can develop their confidence and where they can relax and be themselves.
Making sure children’s rights are being respected means building positive relationships. Taking the time to listen to them and find out who they are and what they dream of is just as nourishing as a healthy breakfast. Children are strong. They are resilient. They are people in their own right. And they are poised to take on the world.
It’s up to us to make these stars shine bright by giving them what they need to reach the sky.
Judith knows this – and knows this well. Talking about the Club and the kids they serve with someone as passionate as she is, it’s easy to get caught up in her excitement and the drive she has when it comes to creating caring school communities where children share more than food around the same table.
As she points out so eloquently, children are the leaders of tomorrow – but they’re also playing a key role today. Youth engagement activities helps young people find their way and make a contribution. Kids may not yet be old enough to vote, but they are entitled to have and express their views and to be listened to. As adults, it is our responsibility to show them how meaningful their opinion is to us and how important it is to our community.
Let’s give our kids more room to grow and thrive. Let’s include them in the conversation.
Let’s encourage them to get involved in their community at every level, no matter how big or small the contribution. Because those who are leading the way now are bound to do the same in the future.
Where once we naively thought that only adults could volunteer with Breakfast Club of Canada, we now have more than 10,000 children and youth among our ranks, giving of their time to make a difference in the lives of other young people. The Club: for kids and with kids.
This dedication to others is a thing of beauty. We have so much to learn from this inspirational next generation.
We can’t be afraid to do more, and do better. We have to dare to keep our stars shining bright.
In an ideal world, World Children’s Day would not have to exist.
In an ideal world, Breakfast Club of Canada would not have to exist.
In an ideal world, if Judith didn’t already exist, we would have to invent her.
Her energy and her passion are contagious. We have the power, and the duty, to make these kids shine in an endless variety of ways.
One little piece of dark chocolate later, the stars I could sense while she was talking are still twinkling away in my mind. They are whispering in my ear that we can all do better.
What are we waiting for to make the stars shine?