Written by LORRIE HOLMES
For the launch of KiDS NEWS & REViEWS, we have created our editorial lineup around the theme of The Everyday Hero. We did so because it’s empowering. It focuses on selflessness, bravery, and respect. On doing things for the sole purpose of helping others while not expecting anything in return. Our mandate is to focus on what we have to offer our society instead of what is lacking. These are all the things we want our children to think about. As the editor and parent of KiDS NEWS & REViEWS, I’m wanting to keep our children’s voices proactive. Focusing them on what can be gained if they share their communication with each other, and with us adults – as both teachers and caregivers. Regardless of their ideas, thoughts and emotions, I encourage our kids to share them all. To fully express themselves by coming up with their own opinions and solutions. Not unlike us adults, kids also want to feel heard and understood. So let’s encourage them to lend us their voices, and even their hearts if we’re really lucky! As children write the content here, they will speak directly to each other. As editor, I am thrilled to work with them on shaping their stories to be emotionally intelligent, inspiring and honest. This will hopefully open up a whole new world of communication for them – and even for us adults – to help us better guide our youth in our ever changing world.
As we do so, our parent company, The Lyrical Note, will launch a new Creative Arts Program for both preschools and elementary schools alike. It’s called WE CAN BE HEROES and was born from the goal of helping our kids GET INTO CHARACTER as they enjoy the progressive media and creative arts products that come along with this theme. It will be a fun and theatrical way for the children to better LEARN THROUGH CREATIVE PLAY about our everyday heroes who live right here in our own communities and work to keep them safe and thriving each and every day. It’s contents include an animated music video and our We Can Be Heroes original children’s song, along with a fun-filled printable package that includes classroom exercises, story extenders, and sheet music too. It takes creative arts program planning one step further as children and their teachers enjoy exploring different ways to adopt these story characters. They can explore ideas of what an everyday hero looks like, and what each of their roles are in our communities. This package will be offered to preschools and elementary schools in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, in February 2018, in it’s initial phase.
We are excited to be starting off in Delta, British Columbia, with the help of our seed sponsor, McDonald’s Restaurants, and it’s owner Steve Krawchuk, who is our first Everyday Hero. As an active member of his own community in Delta, British Columbia, Steve walks his talk when it comes to giving back. He has not only been supportive of this project since it was first presented to him, but has also acted as a mentor to help get it launched effectively within his own community. Steve listened intently to my presentation of this program, and though favouring the idea right from the start, shared his business acumen with valid questions as he kindly played devil’s advocate, offering me some very valuable advice. This included me taking things slow as I let it grow from one school district to the next. This way, according to Steve, I will not miss out on any important opportunities along the way. His advice included me not turning this into something corporate, but rather, taking my time to protect the integrity of the project. He encouraged me to trust in the process if I wanted to make a lasting impression on kids, families, and teachers – to keep focused on the unique editorial component that makes this so community focused. After hearing his advice, I felt confident that I had landed the right sponsor for my program. Steve’s ideas were so in keeping with my own vision, and I was grateful for his time and support. When I asked why he was so keen to put his name behind this project, Steve explained, “Well, from my point of view, I believe that influencing children at the ages of 4, 5, and 6 is crucial to their outcome as human beings in our maybe future heroes, or wherever life might take them in a positive light. I think that having kids write their own stories after receiving this package will be a very positive experience for them and other kids who write stories about what a hero is to them. These are the types of things we would like our kids to be thinking about.” With Steve’s generous support, in February, 2018, every preschool and elementary school within the community of South Delta will be gifted a We Can Be Heroes theme kit. This will provide the children an opportunity to write about their experiences using these tools in their classroom reviews which will be featured in KiDS NEWS & REViEWS, thanks to Steve.
Once children and teachers explore these materials, they can delve even deeper into their own ideas about this subject through the content they create in the reviews they write. Stories that will inspire and educate their peers as they speak directly to each other. I’m so excited to mentor these children with editorial direction and can’t wait to see what comes my way as their editor. The stories they put together, including the people they research and choose to interview. The imagination they share with us when they contribute their wonderful fiction in the forms of short stories and poetry. Whatever genres they choose to express themselves in, they will continue to learn more about their concepts of what a hero really is to them. I expect to receive some really impactful and touching content.
To me, a hero is a person who goes out of their way, and from the kindness of their own heart, does something for other people,” Steve explains.
According to Steve, there are so many examples of these types of people in our communities that our children will benefit from by learning more about. “There are the positive influencers for children, including the Rick Hansen’s and the Terry Fox’s of the world”, Steve pauses then continues, “ Of course, there are also the first responders like the police and the firefighters. I think this goes without saying. Then there are the people who have had adversity and instead of it dragging them down, they have gone on and done incredible things for others, like raising millions of dollars for cancer research of whatever it might be. To me, those are heroes.”
“You know, when my kids were young, they were involved in a lot of activities – from sports to clubs and whatever,” Steve reflects. “If I had it all to do over again, and I will with my own grandchildren, I will involve them in volunteer work.” When asked about his own involvement in volunteer work, Steve humbly replies that he tries to get involved when he can, starting with Ronald McDonald House Charities. “Ronald McDonald House has been around for about 34 years now in Vancouver”, Steve explains. “The original house was quite a bit smaller in the beginning, with there being 13 rooms in total at that time. Today we have 73!”, Steve pauses then continues to explain. “Over the years, I’ve remained actively involved in a fundraising role through the restaurants and community activities. Then 18 or 19 years ago, I had the opportunity to join the board as a corporate representative,” Steve pauses then continues. “Now as a franchisee, I had a chance to join the board again 7 years ago, where I completed a full 6 year term here in B.C.” Three years ago, Steve was asked to join the board for Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (RMHC), which he still sits on today.
Volunteers are the true heroes of our society. They give so much and it’s so important our children understand this and become a part of it,” Steve adds.
“Our theme at Ronald McDonald House Charities is to keep families close together geographically so they can support each other both physically and emotionally. These are families who are traveling to us from out of town. Families that are not staying with us who have to travel for similar reasons would often be separated during a time like this. Typical reasons for such circumstances might include the father having to stay home to either care for additional family members or to provide the family with extra income for expenses like accommodations and meals, etc. This can be heartbreaking for these families as Mom and child will need to seek lodging with close proximity to Children’s Hospital, where the child is being treated. Our program helps keep all of the family members together as a strong unit supporting each other, which is what takes place here at Ronald McDonald House. While staying with us, the entire family are spared the financial burden of incurring these extra costs and able to focus more on each other instead of being distracted by extra stresses. It’s a healing approach that we are very proud to offer these families”, Steve reflects.
Recognizing an opportunity to foster a relationship with KiDS NEWS & REViEWS and Ronald McDonald House, Steve set up a tour for me of this facility. As I walked alongside our tour guide and Steve, I quickly learned how passionate he is about this organization. As we made our way through each room and hallway, I was taken aback many times during this visit by what I was witnessing, and how many special memories I could appreciate being made here between the families who were given the opportunity to have this special reprieve at such a challenging time in their lives.
As our very first KiDS NEWS & REViEWS fundraising initiative, we will be announcing our GIFT A NIGHT Fundraiser which will take place as soon as all of the schools receive their We Can Be Heroes package and are aware of this initiative. It will include a 10% royalty donation for every download of the We Can Be Heroes song and book that will be made available to schools and families. Steve explains, “Whoever gets involved can be a hero for someone at Ronald McDonald House. As a board member of Ronald McDonald House Canada, I can tell you that when the families stay with us, the cost to cover this visit is $75/night. We are constantly fundraising to help families with these costs. Our GIFT A NIGHT fundraising program is the one I challenge your school to get involved in,” Steve explains. Details will be announced within the next coming weeks.
“The other side of volunteering for me has been in sports,” Steve explains, “I have coached in my community for 20 years. This included a little bit of soccer and baseball, but mostly ringette, which I have coached for 20 years. It was a very rewarding way to give back through something I felt I could do for my community,” Steve reflects.
Steve has combined his love for sports with various fundraising initiatives for Ronald McDonald House and other community initiatives. He also sits on the board for the Delta Sports Council and is very passionate about their initiatives.
I’m excited to make my way through each community across Greater Vancouver as the first phase of this project and to see what other stories I receive from our community sponsors. Why the everyday hero is so important to them, and also, what makes them Everyday Heroes like Steve Krawchuk.