From Participant to Mentor Levi and Free2BMe

Levi has been coming to Free2BMe for nine years--almost since the doors opened, and he has exhausted neither his potential skills nor his desire to explore more physical activity opportunities. Since he began attending he’s engaged in countless programs from cycle adventure, outdoor fitness, arctic adventure, movin’ and groovin’, to one on one training and P.A.L.S.

Currently Levi is participating in the Community Transition program, working out at the Saville Community Sports Centre, learning how to use the equipment and basic fitness programming skills so that he can be confident and comfortable working out in a community facility of his own choosing. This is important, because Levi and his family travel quite a bit. He’s already visited Thailand, Paris, and Japan, so who knows where his next workout will be! 

Bringing his extensive experience full circle, Levi, an active, likeable and engaged 14 year-old, volunteers in Free2BMe programs helping other kids learn basic motor skills, such as catching, jumping, throwing, and running. “It feels really good to give back and to help other people learn,” says Levi. 

It feels pretty good to his mom, Julie, too who has supported her son through nine years of Free2BMe activities to see Levi develop into a capable young athlete and mentor. “He was pretty excited to become a volunteer. He was up at 4:30 am on his first day. He’d made himself--and me--breakfast.” To Julie, a significant characteristic of Free2BMe is that no medical referral is necessary, making the program accessible to anyone and easy to try. She’d heard about The Steadward Centre-Free2BMe from a social worker, “It was just new, only six months old, I think.” Over the years, Levi’s skills have developed to match his desire and confidence. Something that stands out for Jule is that the participants engage on a level playing field. “It’s remarkable to watch.” Julie notes, for example, that if the game is sledge-hockey, everyone is in a sledge. 

Levi really enjoys engaging with the Free2BMe consultants, and through mentoring/observing other participants who have different skills, boundaries and abilities from his own Levi is building important social skills and developing awareness. “Exposure to a variety of people and helping to strengthen their skills and abilities has also strengthened his own,” observes his mom, Julie. 

Levi’s positive attitude and confidence have motivated him to participate in many activities and programs over the years. The learning has helped Levi to overcome fears and to push his boundaries. For example, using the rock climbing wall helped to overcome a fear of falling, having movement skills broken down in a manageable way helped him to gain a better sense of proprioception—the sense of the body in physical space, the sense that allows you to touch your nose with your eyes closed, or to do a fearless somersault. 

Volunteering and mentoring has added to his confidence. Levi’s Free2BMe connections have rewarded him with the opportunity to make friends and, especially, to give back to others. Levi would like to continue to help people by becoming a chiropractor and working as an Adapted Physical Activity specialist.