Tags: Community investment
Author: Northern Gateway
Dated: 17 April 2012
Football stars Geroy Simon and Shawn Gore from the B.C. Lions doffed the pads to travel to Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Prince George, handing off a valuable message to youths in those communities.
In 2010, the B.C. Lions in partnership with the B.C. government launched the Lions Pride program that inspires youth to be active, make positive choices in their lives and excel at whatever they do. Now in its third year, Enbridge has joined the Lions Pride team in a supportive role.
The program runs each spring with star Lions players like Slotback Geroy Simon visiting Grade 8 to 12 students in the B.C. Lower Mainland, as well as participating in an interior tour to the Prince George and Kamloops areas.
Simon and Gore spoke to youths at a Vanderhoof high school and engaged them in a 45-minute activity session stressing teamwork and the importance of having a positive attitude.
The Lions Pride program aims to help at-risk youth make positive choices in their lives and keep them from falling into gang activity.
“In the first year of the program I realized how important it is for the kids to connect with the players directly,” explained Geroy Simon. “We visited an alternative school in Prince George where we were able to connect with the kids in a much smaller group than the normal 600 or so we get in the gyms of the big high schools.”
In many communities in B.C., youth who find themselves in trouble at school or within their communities can be placed in an alternative learning program that provides opportunities for more specialized education and interaction in an effort to help guide them towards future opportunities.
“In talking with these teens directly, I realized that many of them, despite the challenges they’re dealing with in life today, have big goals and dreams for the future,” said Simon. “Sharing my personal journey of focusing on having a positive attitude, being a better teammate and changing some of the choices I was making in life in order to be successful at football will hopefully help them to recognize they can do the same things to achieve their goals and dreams.”
These youth couldn’t ask for a better role model. Simon’s coach recently said: “He is the kind of player every team wants to have and build around. Geroy will never be outworked or stop challenging himself or his teammates and that’s vital to our success.”
“It wasn’t always like this for me,” Simon said. “Success doesn’t come without hard work and a positive attitude. To get to where we are today, I had to learn how to be a better teammate, how to always bring a positive attitude to the football field and to learn how to make better choices away from the field so I could achieve my goals on it.”
Simon led all Lions receivers in 2011 and was second in the Canadian Football League with 1,350 yards, with 8 touchdowns on 84 catches. He was a league All Star for the sixth time in his 13-year career. Simon is just 66 yards shy of being the all-time receptions leader in the CFL.
“Enbridge is proud to partner with the B.C. Lions and the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General on this important initiative,” said Janet Holder, Enbridge Executive Vice President Western Access. “The work that the B.C. Lions and Geroy Simon are doing away from the field will help create positive spirit in communities across B.C.
“We share the same positive vision for the communities we do business in and with.”