Like many charities, the inspiration for FAB was born from a place of experiential learning of overcoming challenges and a passion for using life lessons to inspire and empower the next generation.
As a young girl of 13, my family unit crumbled when both of my parents began to struggle with drug addiction. By the time, I was 16 I faced many challenges that would bring anyone to their knees. I was parentless, living in poverty, I had dropped out of school, I was in an unhealthy relationship and I had a child on the way. Although I knew I wanted to live a positive and productive life, I had no idea how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.
Before I had the capacity to invest in myself, I made a commitment to my daughter that we would end this cycle of poverty. That commitment to her ultimately led to my successful career in financial services.
In a few short years I was doing very well and the more success I achieved, the more I began to appreciate two simple life lessons that would become an integral pat of FAB.
The first is that successful people set goals. There is a model for setting goals that anyone can learn and use to create meaningful change in their lives. The second, and one I learned after I started running at 26, is there is very little difference between setting a goal for a 5K run and setting a goal in life.
The more I lived and appreciated these lessons, the more I felt my purpose in life was changing.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to combine the power of sport and goal setting to provide young girls with an opportunity to challenge themselves and experience the ‘I Can’, in hopes of ultimately reshaping what they believe is possible or can be possible.
A turning point for me happened in 2008 when I was driving and an interview highlighting the work of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction came on the radio.
At the time, the idea of FAB had been swirling around in my head for quite a while but I hadn’t yet found the courage to commit to it. The person being interviewed was talking about the reality that those raised in poverty are likely to continue the cycle of poverty into adulthood. In that moment, two thoughts consumed me. As someone who broke the poverty cycle, I knew this didn’t have to the outcome.
The second thought was if I’m not part of the solution, I was part of the problem. In that moment, not doing anything was no longer an option for me. From there, it was only ever a matter of when. FAB was born only a few months later.
Today, I along with a group of volunteers who have the same vision as myself live our passion of helping hundreds of young girls throughout Hamilton become strong women one 5K run at a time.