For young people at Boys and Girls Clubs, this Valentine’s Day was about more than heart-shaped treats and stuffed animals—it was a call-to-action to open our hearts and show empathy for all people.
On February 14, 2020, over a thousand kids and teens participated in Have a Heart Day activities at 65 Boys and Girls Club locations. From Gander in Newfoundland to the Okanagan in British Columbia, Club members across Turtle Island called for the equal treatment of Indigenous children, families, and communities.
A Club member from Boys and Girls Clubs of Saskatoon signs a postcard for Have a Heart Day.
“I believe First Nation children, youth deserve equal opportunities as everyone.”
A Battlefords Boys and Girls Club member advocates for Indigenous children.
Events ranged from small and intimate, such as hanging handmade posters around the Club in Riverview, New Brunswick, to large and community-wide, like in Hamilton, Ontario where over 200 Club members wrote postcards and mailed them to the Prime Minister.
The messages were simple and moving: “First Nations children deserve equal opportunities”; “Every kid should be treated the same”; “Please give every Indigenous kid what they need.”
Boys and Girls Clubs also engaged their local Indigenous communities. The Dawson Club in Québec invited an Indigenous youth leader to speak. Members of the Mi’kmaq community led the Club in Gander through activities such as smudging and drumming. And David Pratt, Vice Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, spoke in Saskatoon.
Everyone deserves a chance to grow up safely, get an education, be healthy, and be proud of who they are. The children and youth at Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada wholeheartedly agree.
Members of the Newcomer Youth Program at Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton cooked Three Sisters Soup, discussed equity, and wrote postcards to mail to the Prime Minister.
At the Toronto office, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada staff gathered for a special land acknowledgement and discussion about what Have a Heart Day means. Each team member wrote individual goals and personal commitments to Reconciliation. Finally, a big poster was signed to be sent to the Prime Minister.
Members of our national team display their Have a Heart Day poster.