Celebrate Best Buddies Canada!
As leaders we look beyond cultural differences and exemplify the true meaning of friendship at every turn. It was leadership and hope in the toughest of times that cemented the friendship of Alham and Alvin despite adversity, change and the unknown.
At a time when most boys are shooting hoops and playing video games, Alham, who is from Afghanistan, was in a refugee camp in Pakistan longing for a safe home in Canada. He spent over a year without a place to call his own and with only his family to protect him while most boys his age were worrying about receiving a new bike or finding a ride to hockey practice. Despite an intellectual disability he braved a new school, a new language and a new country. To add to his hardship, shortly after his arrival in Canada his parents separated, leaving Alham alone with his mom who struggled to make ends meet by working two jobs and long hours. Though he was safe, he was alone. Something was missing.
Alvin’s story is different. He is an exceptional high school student who is genuine, sincere, respectful and, most importantly, unfailingly enthusiastic with his encouragement towards his peers. He is a leader in his school and community and has unwavering support from his family at home. He has good grades and is a member of clubs and organizations. But for him, too, life was never totally complete.
Enter Best Buddies Canada and a call for student leaders who hope to make a difference in the life of someone with special needs. Alvin answered the request for student leaders and Alham was there to appreciate every minute.
Their friendship has grown into a genuine, tangible bond based on mutual respect as equals. If Alham couldn’t attend an event because his mom was working, it was Alvin’s family who picked him up and dropped him off. Working out at the gym, swimming, going to the movies and dinners out – no matter what they were doing, they were doing it together. Alvin found his volunteer work to be more rewarding than he could have imagined. It was Alham who filled that missing void. The new experiences that Best Buddies brought to Alham were even newer to Alvin, for even though he had bowled before and sang karaoke before he had never done these things with Alham whose zest for life helped him to appreciate all the little things.
Alvin and Alham are exceptional young men! Their friendship has given Alham the confidence to take risks and try new activities. Alham’s sense of self-worth and self-confidence and belonging are evident in his increased interactions with his peers both inside and outside of the classroom. This is thanks to Alvin and Best Buddies Canada.
For Alvin, his friendship with Alham has given him the opportunity to have new experiences, to make an important and meaningful connection with a peer and most importantly, have fun. As Alvin stated, “Best Buddies Canada is a great program and I highly recommend students to join, because it will bring a great and unforgettable experience to your life.”
Check back tomorrow for our weekly contest theme announced at 11:00 a.m. (EST/GMT – 5:00).