Special Chief Youth Courage Awards E-News – April 2020

In light of the global health emergency that we are currently facing, we have had to officially postpone the Chief Youth Courage Awards Gala until November 13, 2020. This was a necessary step to ensure that everyone remained healthy and safe – our first priority.

While the Gala event is not happening today as planned, we still wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate and recognize our philanthropic leader honouree, award recipients, special guests, and all of the generous supporters that want to help vulnerable children and youth in Calgary stay safe from crime and victimisation. 

So, while we have to remain safely at a distance from each other, we thought you would enjoy this gift from us to you of this special edition of Calgary Police Foundation E-News, which we hope will bring a smile to your day.

Join in our celebration of the Chief Youth Courage Awards and learn more about the Giants Among Us, and all of those who help make Calgary a great place to live.

Thank you to the Calgary Police Service

First, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the Calgary Police Service. Their response during this public health emergency has been nothing short of outstanding. They continue to put their lives on the line for us every single day, keeping our communities safe, while facing the threat of COVID-19 to themselves and those they love. Everyone is working diligently to find new and innovative ways to serve our community, while doing their part to maintain physical distancing guidelines.

The CPS members that work within the Program areas funded by the Calgary Police Foundation are doing a fantastic job ensuring that practical and emotional support services remain in place for our children and youth, and they are finding new ways to provide timely and urgent aid.  

Words alone can not express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone at the Calgary Police Service for their duty and service during this pandemic and for their ongoing support of the Chief Youth Courage Awards Gala.


Our Philanthropic Leader Award Recipient – Mr. Dick Haskayne

We are pleased to announce that the first ever recipient of the Philanthropic Leader Award is Mr. Dick Haskayne. The Philanthropic Leader Award from the Calgary Police Foundation (CPF) is a prestigious social impact award that is presented annually by the Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service. It recognises and celebrates a great community leader of charitable progress for youth.

The initiative identifies and evaluates individuals and families in twelve major categories:

  • demonstrates the spirit of giving
  • are inspiring
  • have integrity
  • are a champion of children and child-related causes
  • exhibit values that align with CPF and CPS
  • are compassionate
  • are a community leader
  • demonstrates humanitarian efforts
  • instills philanthropy of time, talent, and treasure in their corporate culture
  • values giving back and has influenced their children and/or others to also get involved
  • are respected in the community
  • and are pioneer in advancing philanthropic support to the charitable sector

The Philanthropic Leader Award distinction will be bestowed upon Mr. Haskayne at the Awards Gala on November 13, 2020.

We are pleased to share with you all of our Chief Youth Courage Award recipients! These six children and youth represent each of the Programs that are funded by Calgary Police Foundation and all of them have demonstrated courage, commitment, and perseverance in their lives.  We are thrilled to recognize their achievements with a Chief Youth Courage Award and look forward to sharing their stories with you throughout this edition of E-News.


Giovanni Friestad

The Integrated School Support Program (ISSP) Chief Youth Courage Award recognizes a child who thrives in a diverse school and community. It celebrates someone who is resilient and who is able to manage factors outside of their control including negative peer influence. The ISSP child responds well to the wrap around support provided by the Program and communicates openly with members of the Calgary Police Service and Educational Staff. The child is known to be gentle, caring, hard-working, sensitive and thoughtful, and well on their way to becoming a responsible and contributing citizen.This perfectly describes our award recipient, eleven year old, Giovanni Friestad.

When Giovanni moved to Calgary four years ago from Brandon, Manitoba, he began attending Patrick Airlie Elementary School, one of two schools in Calgary supported by the ISSP program. While at Patrick Airlie, Gio was adored by his teachers and fellow classmates. He was always smiling and never missed an opportunity to lend a helping hand to others, including his teachers and friends. He benefited from the additional learning support available through ISSP and this helped build his confidence and let his natural leadership skills surface. His positive attitude and enthusiasm also led to Giovanni being the first student in Patrick Airlie to win the coveted S4 (Start Smart, Stay Safe) Award. Giovanni also learned a lot from the Police Officers he met at school. Even at his young age he could see the importance of building strong relationships between the police and the community and this even inspired Giovanni to write a scholarship essay about why he wants to be a police officer when he grows up.

Giovanni’s mother, Angie notes that this positive, caring attitude doesn’t end at school. At home, Giovanni is respectful and always willing to help his mother out with chores. He works hard to stay on top of his homework, enjoys keeping active, and loves playing hockey, no matter what the temperature is like outside. When speaking with Giovanni, he tells us that one of the most important things to him is to always be kind. He doesn’t like seeing kids struggle and knows that it feels good to receive help and offer help to others. He has benefited from many Giants in his life including his teachers at Patrick Airlie and Constable Ron from the Calgary Police Service. If he had a superpower, Giovanni would choose to fly to somewhere warm, like Hawaii, so he and his family can relax in the sun. This positive and caring attitude is exactly the reason we are so pleased to present Giovanni with the Integrated School Support Program Chief Youth Courage Award.


Vesko Kicovic

The Power Play Chief Youth Courage award is presented to a participant who shows commitment to the program with regular attendance and who has created a strong relationship with fellow participants and Calgary Police Service officers. All of this can be said for our award recipient, six year old Vesko.

Vesko came to Power Play facing some personal struggles. He was feeling lonely and wanted friendship and connection. He was also feeling sad and depressed about his mother’s medical condition, sometimes to the point of tears. Since joining Power Play, program leaders have seen such incredible growth in him personally and with his skating ability. Vesko had never skated before coming to Power Play but was eager to learn! Through his strength and perseverance, Vesko is now a great skater and regularly engages fellow participants in games on the ice. Vesko has also really come out of his shell at Power Play. He has made a ton of new friends on and off the ice, and prides himself on never leaving anyone out of the fun.

At home, Vesko’s mother tells us he is a happy and resilient young boy and his now almost constant smile brings her joy, as before PowerPlay, she saw her son as someone who felt bullied and was often sad. Now, Vesko has found happiness and has been a huge help to her while she deals with her own medical struggles. The Calgary Police Officers at Power Play have also had a positive impact on Vesko. They were able to support him by teaching him to skate and make friends while talking with him to help ease the burdens on his young shoulders. Vesko now considers all of the PowerPlay officers his very close friends and knows he can go to them with any problems he is facing. Ultimately, Vesko has truly thrived at Power Play and he continues to be a positive, inclusive presence in the program.


Thank You to Our Sponsors!

An event of this magnitude would not be possible without the help and support of our sponsors. We are so thankful for all of the organizations that have supported the Calgary Police Foundation and the Chief Youth Courage Awards Gala through this difficult time. We appreciate your commitment and flexibility as we deal with these new challenges and we can’t wait to see you all on November 13th, 2020.


We would also like to thank all of our great community partners who have donated over $30K worth of auction items for our event! While there are too many of you to list, please know that your support means the world to us!


Scott Horsman

The Youth At Risk Development (YARD) Chief Youth Courage Award recognizes a youth who values interpersonal relationships, strives for good mental health and wellness, and who works hard to acquire life skills and participate in pro-social activities. This YARD youth will strive to make good relationship choices, favoring those who live a crime free life and exemplify responsible behaviors. They work hard to resist and avoid those influences which could lead them to criminal activity. The YARD youth will follow legislation as it pertains to alcohol and drugs and know how to seek help and assistance if this becomes a problem in their lives. They will be able to problem solve and manage complex life situations and have a plan to complete their education. They will look forward to their future and have a career goal in mind. They will be trustworthy, reliable, versatile and practical and we could not describe our award recipient, Scott Horsman any better.

Scott is eighteen years old and entered the Youth At Risk Development program at age 16. When joining the program, Scott recognized that he had not been making good life decisions and that a change was needed. He also knew that he was contributing to the serious problems the family was facing as a whole. They were dealing with a potential eviction and his younger sibling, and the family, were also being supported by the Multi Agency School Support Team. Scott’s mother believes that without the YARD Program, Scott would have most likely ended up in the young offender system and removed from the family.

While in the YARD program, Scott was able to identify some important goals that he wanted to work towards; such as getting his learners license, completing his high school education, and getting his first job. Through his commitment and perseverance, and with the support of his YARD team, Scott passed his learners test and now has his full drivers license. With tutoring help, he has been able to prioritize his school work and is set to complete his studies this year. Although he does not yet have part-time employment, he is working hard on finding a job.

Scott has also had the opportunity to take on a leadership role while in YARD, particularly during group activities and field trips. His fellow program participants have come to respect him and look to him as a source of guidance. Those who know Scott and have seen his growth, have noticed a significant shift in his attitude towards others. Throughout his journey, Scott has also become a great role model for his younger siblings. Scott’s respectful and generous demeanor has had an extremely positive influence on them and their family. Scott wants to keep his siblings safe and spends time with them so that they learn the difference between right and wrong. As a keen gamer, nowadays Scott is able to spend more time safe at home with his family, although it does seem to keep him up late!

While Scott recognizes that he may not have always made the right choices in his younger years, he tells us that his experience is an important part of his past and without it, and the positive relationships with the Calgary Police Service and teaching staff who encouraged him, he would not be the person he is today – someone with a vision to finish school and have a good career.

Mateo Smith

The Calgary Police Service Cadet Corps Chief Youth Courage Award recipient is someone who demonstrates integrity, loves learning, and is an enthusiastic and dedicated participant in the Cadet Corps program. They are a strong team player with a sense of empathy and compassion for others. Finally, they are someone who is service-minded and brings value to the community. These attributes perfectly describe our award recipient, seventeen-year old, Mateo.

Mateo has been a member of the Calgary Police Cadet Corps for the past four years. During his time in the program, Mateo has continued to grow and has developed a strong sense of citizenship. He has contributed over 100 volunteer hours within the Calgary community and even won the coveted Citizenship Award for the 2018/2019 year.

After speaking with both Mateo and his father it is evident that Mateo puts 110% effort into everything that he does – and the Cadet Corps program is no exception. He has never missed a single day and continues to show an extremely high level of dedication in all aspects of the program. Mateo even took on an additional responsibility by joining the Calgary Police Cadet Corps Pipeband, something he is very proud of, and he is now an accomplished piper. When asked to describe Mateo at home, his father tells us he is motivated and accountable, with a high drive and determination to do what he has agreed to do. With the strong support of his family, Mateo is able to thrive.

Mateo is a natural leader and will often volunteer to help the younger cadets reach their goals. Mateo understands the importance of discipline and is not afraid to keep others in line while holding them to a high standard, which is a fundamental requirement of the Cadet Corps. He leads with authority, confidence and compassion for others and will be a remarkable leader in the years to come.

After he completes the Calgary Police Cadet Corps program, Mateo hopes that he can take the skills he has learned, along with the positive personal attributes he has developed, and apply them to a career with the Calgary Police Service.

Since we began planning the Chief Youth Courage Awards Gala in 2019, there has been a dedicated team working behind the scenes planning for the event. From the Calgary Police Foundation’s Board of Directors, to our Organizing and Marketing Committees, these individuals have played a critical role in ensuring that we can recognize our Award Recipients and Honouree in the way that they deserve, while raising awareness of the Programs available in Calgary for vulnerable children and youth. 

Although COVID-19 has created some additional challenges, this dedicated group of individuals continues to work diligently to come up with creative solutions and innovative ideas for how we can move forward in our new environment during and post COVID-19. We would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of these individuals for their volunteer service and their compassion for the children and youth we serve. Thank-you for lending your leadership, your talent and your skills to help plan the best fundraising Gala of 2020!

Calgary Police Foundation Board of Directors

Marketing Committee

Stephanie Tang

Madison Rowe

Chelsey Tattrie

Sandy Bottcher

Olivia Goemans

Auction Committee

Marla Cohen

Nicole Wallace

Diane Sands


Nathan Asimiakwini

The YouthLink Chief Youth Courage Award recognizes a youth who has applied the learning and knowledge gained through the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre resources and has introduced living well strategies in their life. They model behaviors of a good citizen and value kindness and have compassion for others. They say no to drugs, they are informed, assertive and bold, and they show courage to resist the detrimental influences of their time. They can impact others in their peer group in a very positive way.

Nathan first came to YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre in the spring of 2019 for YouthLink Calgary’s Police School. This week-long program focuses on students who live in areas where there is a higher risk of crime or becoming a victim of it. While in the centre, the educators observed that Nathan always had a smile for everyone. His easy-going attitude was infectious, he always helped his teachers, and was awarded the Police Training Officer Award for his willingness to help and encourage others, a positive attitude, and accepting others’ differences.

When the school term ended, Nathan was invited to come along to YouthLink’s Summer Camp at no cost and he proved to be a great help. He made sure the younger campers were doing well and helped defuse conflicts. Once more, Nathan was recognized for his contributions; this time with the Chief’s Award for his leadership ability, problem solving and compassion for others.

Nathan is known for always volunteering to lend a hand. His kind heart and helpful nature has allowed him to be a positive role model and he welcomes this responsibility. In school, he has earned the respect of his teachers and peers and continues to be a positive influence to those around him. Nathan also recognizes the incredible impact his family has had on his journey.  His brother taught him how to work hard to achieve his goals, his sister holds him accountable and keeps him in check, and his mother reminds him to never give up, while continuing to love and encourage him in all that he does. With the support of his family and the YouthLink Staff, Nathan has applied to be in the Calgary Police Cadet Corps program and hopes that this will ultimately help with his dream of working for the Calgary Police Service and serving his community.

Mamdouh Baballa

The Multi Agency School Support Team (MASST) Chief Youth Courage Award recognizes a child who demonstrates many positive attributes including kindness to others and high trust with Calgary Police Officers and other authority figures. The MASST child will strive to be an active participant in pro-social activities including physical education and healthy choices. The MASST child knows how to ask and receive help if it is needed for him/her or their family members. They understand what crime is and the type of activities that could cause harm to themselves or others. They work hard to make good choices and are able to maintain positive behaviors worthy of a committed citizen.

Mamdouh Baballa met the team from MASST at age 10. As the oldest of four siblings and new to Canada, Mamdouh didn’t always have the easiest time growing up. His family faced many challenges, including domestic violence, which ended when the father was removed from the home. He experienced fear and helplessness from a young age and this resulted in negative behavior at school and within the community. Often fighting and easily influenced by others, there was great concern Mamdouh would soon get involved in more serious criminal behaviors.

Through working with his MASST Team, Mamdouh was able to learn new social skills and took part in emotional regulation activities including skill building for communication, self-expression, self-esteem, self-advocacy and taking responsibility.These lessons that he learned have enabled Mamdouh to teach his siblings about positive behaviors as well. His mother tells us that Mamdouh has become a great role model for his siblings and they look up to him as a father figure. His courage, bravery, and honesty are setting a positive example for his entire family to follow. His mother sees her son as a fighter, someone who has fought hard to improve himself and has overcome very difficult life challenges.

As he progressed through the program, Mamdouh also attended many MASST and community-based activities. He was able to volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and with the Muslim Family Network Society. He even enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets program, something he is very proud of. His goal is to serve his country as a member of the armed forces. Mamdouh tells us that the MASST program made him feel like he belonged in the community and he had something of value to give. Having come from a place of violence, we are pleased that Mamdouh has found another way to express himself and we have no doubt that Mamdouh will be a great member of our society.

Our Special Guests

George Canyon: George Canyon will be joining us at the Awards Gala to provide an exclusive, intimate address to our guests and to perform a short acoustic set of a few of his greatest hits! George has recorded 12 studio albums and has won multiple awards and accolades including Junos, CCMAs, and ECMA’s. He is also a Nova Scotia Country Hall of Fame inductee, actor, humanitarian, Calgary Flames Home Games anthem singer, National Spokesperson for JDRF Canada, and a devoted father and husband.

Calgary Acoustic Country Duo, Belle Cabin: Belle Cabin will also be joining us as the musical entertainment for our reception! Pop country recording artist, Alex Hughes, who has performed with musicians such as Kenny G, Paul Brandt and Brett Kissel, along with classical-crossover violinist Darcy Stamp, who has performed with Josh Groban, George Canyon, and at Disney’s Epcot, will bring a bright and upbeat genre crossing repertoire to the stage and dazzle our guests!

Danny Hooper: Danny Hooper is an award winning media personality, recording artist, keynote speaker, comedic emcee, and fundraising auctioneer. Danny will bring a fun, competitive element to our Silent and Live auctions at the event and will help the Calgary Police Foundation raise vital funds for our child and youth Programs.

Leslie Horton: Leslie Horton is the traffic reporter for Global Calgary’s Morning News and Noon News Hour. Leslie is known around Calgary for her upbeat personality and hilarious on air segments. Leslie will serve as our emcee for the Gala and is sure to bring a smile to all of our guests faces!

Tad Milmine: Tad is a sworn Calgary Police Service Officer and motivational speaker who will be speaking about his life journey and bullying.

Carlamay Sheremata: Carlamay is a sworn Calgary Police Service officer and will be performing the Canadian National Anthem at the Gala.

Our final thank you goes out to all of the wonderful groups and individuals who have already purchased tickets to the Chief Youth Courage Awards Gala. We genuinely appreciate all of your support and we look forward to welcoming you on November 13th for this memorable evening.

Across the charity sector there has never been a greater need for donors and volunteers than there is now and for the those we serve, they have never needed us more. We cannot leave our vulnerable children and youth alone when we know the risks around them are high at this time.

With your ticket, you are not only joining us for an incredible evening, but you are also showing our city’s most vulnerable children and youth that you care. If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, visit our Eventbrite page to get yours today! Tickets: http://www.CYCAGala.ca

Our Promise

As a supporter of the Calgary Police Foundation, you know that we are committed to keeping Calgary’s most vulnerable children and youth safe and strong. While these difficult times have created unique challenges for our programs and their participants, we remain committed to finding new and innovative ways to serve them. 

One way to do that is by working together. Community partners, such as Birchcliff Energy and TC Energy, have stepped up to provide laptops to families in the Integrated School Support Program (ISSP) so that they can continue their school work from home, and our friends at Safeway and Sobeys have provided grocery gift cards in lieu of the meal programs that would normally serve our ISSP Elementary Schools. We have created activity kits to provide entertainment and education in place of afterschool programs, shared fun physical activity videos on YouTube, and have embraced video technology to check in on our participants’ mental health and physical well being. 

Regardless of the challenges we face, we will ensure that the most vulnerable children and youth in our communities continue to receive the help and support they need to stay safe from crime and victimisation. That is our promise today, tomorrow, and always. 

To learn more about how you can help, visit: http://www.CalgaryPoliceFoundation.ca

During these confusing and difficult times, vulnerable children and youth need our help more than ever.

Join PROMISING FUTURES – the Calgary Police Foundation’s Monthly Giving program and keep our young people safe from crime and victimisation today, tomorrow, and always.

Learn more and to sign up today at: http://www.CalgaryPoliceFoundation.ca

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