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C4D Completes Its 11th City Tour To Raise Awareness Of Diversity In BC

The Cycling4Diversity team finished its 11 city tour with 15 schools during Cyling4Diversity Week in BC from May 17th-23rd.  The first two days of our four day trip took us to five Okanogan communities and stopping at 6 schools. The main message of our ride was to encourage students to embrace diversity and to do one positive action during the week.  We were fortunate enough to have good weather on all four days of our journey, meeting thousands of people along the way.

The makeup of diversity is very different in the Okanogan compared to the Lower Mainland. School principals and mayors from the various communities cycled with us to our locations. The Cycling4Diversity Foundation also celebrated its 5th year surpassing 100 schools and visiting every community from Vancouver to Chilliwack also including Victoria and the Okanogan. This could not have been done without many of our team members and community sponsors.

I was recently asked do you think C4D has made has made a difference? Hearing the responses from teachers, parents and students I would have our team has made a difference and our organization is growing in a positive direction. Looking back its hard to imagine it’s been 5 years since we started this journey and its amazing how many new friendships have been created. The trek up to Vernon I had the pleasure of reconnecting with my old junior basketball coach Tom Watkinson and gave him a C4D shirt.

This year we were fortunate to be able to have Abbotsford Police Det. Roy McBeth, who joined us for two days. He delivered a powerful and emotional message about how his son had some struggles in school and how the other children joined him in helping him finish a race around the track. He also shared about getting a kidney from his boss, who was able to donate a part of his kidney, giving McBeth a second chance. Through this experience he shared that we’re all the same inside and bleed red.

Harjit Sajjan a Lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Military, who joined us for the first day said, “I realized that a shared experience can really light up a kid’s day,” last year was my first ride with C4D and this was an incredible experience, As he was recounting his experiences in Bosnia, a pair of students mentioned they grew up in the Balkan country. Sajjan addressed them with the country’s traditional greeting and watched them light up — transforming from timid and shy into smiling and happy. “Being different is unique and being unique gives us strength.”

Cycling4Diversity’s executive director Anne-Marie Sjoden shared her message, she encouraged students to say hello to kids they might not usually talk to, “You kids in Grade 7, maybe you could introduce yourselves to the younger kids and let them know who you are. If you see someone sitting in the corner being very shy, why don’t you go over and introduce yourselves. Would you do that for me and they all replied with a resounding, “Yes”.

Now, that we met our first milestone, I feel the best is still yet to come for C4D.

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