Shawnigan Lake School’s Bantam Prep team gained valuable learning lessons from a trip to Victoria.
This is the fourth time the program, under athletic advisor and head coach James Pollock, has collected clothing such as gloves, toques, jackets and more to take to a Victoria shelter. In addition, they served dinner to over 800 homeless and low-income families at the annual Mustard Seed Street Church Christmas Dinner.
The Shawnigan students collected clothes from friends and relatives.
“It was awesome,” says Pollock, of what his students collected. “I was really impressed with how the boys handled themselves and interacted with the people they met. All the boys were really engaged and enjoyed the experience.”
Pollock wanted his players to have the overall satisfaction of helping others. He believes there are valuable life lessons and much to learn from helping others; to be grateful and thankful for what they have.
“[It’s] recognizing how lucky we are to live the life we do,” says Pollock. “Being able to give back was very eye-opening. It was a chance for them to make somebody else’s day better.
“This was an opportunity to put smiles on others’ faces,” he continued.
Keegan Lonsdale was among the student-athletes who greatly benefitted from the opportunity.
“I think it was actually a good eye-opening experience,” he said. “Everyone was so grateful. At dinner, everyone was just having a great time. They were laughing and talking to us. One of them asked me my name. It was pretty cool.”
Lonsdale, a Victoria native, learned to be more grateful for the things he receives and to be kind to everyone.
“Everyone has feelings. I learned to be more open to everyone, even if they are a complete stranger,” he says.
Lonsdale was surprised by the amount of people who showed up for the Christmas dinner. He learned that for some, that was their only cooked meal of the month.
Pollock believes the players learned about selflessness, gratitude and generosity. In the end, putting others before themselves.