Monday, April 11, 2016

The Legacy of Ed Snider

If you can ever measure the worth of a man, I think it is to be found in his contribution to his community. If that is how you can measure the life of a man, Ed Snider has secured a legacy for the ages.

For those people who knew him, the legacy of Ed Snider was decades in the making, and it won't end here on the day of his passing simply because he is no longer physically still with us. In his 83 years, Mr. Snider did more in his lifetime to connect community, and empower people than one could possibly comprehend.

I first reached out to Mr. Snider last summer. After hearing about his Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, I wanted to know more about the man behind the foundation name. I felt that any person dedicated to the empowerment of underprivileged people in the community deserves the acknowledgement for impacting, and shifting young lives.

In Philadelphia, Mr. Snider was royalty. I can't imagine any person having more of an impact in Philly than Ed Snider. But I live in Toronto. Certainly people know of Ed Snider in Canada, but I felt he deserved much more acknowledgement for how he has successfully crafted an empire than any NHL team would model.

So I reached out to Mr. Snider. I was invited to The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation at Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey, just across the river from Philadelphia. I journeyed over night to arrive at the golf event in the early morning hours. I was welcomed by Scott Tharp, President of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, Jim Britt, Executive VP of Snider Hockey, Zack Hill, Director of Public Relations for The Philadelphia Flyers, and Ike Richman, V.P. of Public Relations for Comcast-Spectacor.

While we were waiting for Mr. Snider to arrive, I was in the back room with 2 young Snider Youth Hockey players who were speaking at the event. One of them was understandably nervous, and working on his speech, so I asked if I could listen and help him. His story was likely similar to the other kids in South Philly. He came from a single parent household, with few choices in life. When he started with the ESYHF he was 14 years old, and after 4 years in the program, his life was exponentially different. He has the choice of going to college, of learning life skills that he learned in Mr. Snider's Foundation which taught him team work, dedication, hope, faith and community service. All of which lead to a living a more fulfilled life.

When Mr. Snider arrived, I became increasingly nervous. I got the chance to interview him about his legacy and his foundation for almost 4 minutes, which you can listen to here:

When the 2 Snider Youth Hockey athletes finally got the chance to speak in front of Mr. Snider, The Flyers and all the guests, what they said moved Mr. Snider to tears. Of over 3,000 kids that the foundation helps support in the community, these 18 young men's lives were shifted from a life in gangs or in prison, to a life of contribution. They owe that all to the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.

The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation uses hockey as the hook to teach young kids the tools in life to be successful and fulfilled. In his 83 years of accomplishment, billionaire Ed Snider only gave his name and his legacy to one thing, and this is what he felt most passionate about.

Certainly, nobody can quantify the intangibles this foundation will bring. Mr. Snider will never be able to comprehend the difference this will make in the lives of the community he created, nor the impact it will have on the future generations of young people they impact moving forward. But he knew the difference it would create in the community he Loved, which is why he created it.

The world is a little worse today with the passing of Ed Snider, yet it's in a much better set of hands because of the work that Mr. Snider created securing his legacy as a man who cared deeply about contribution and service. Please check out The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation website:

Thank you Ed Snider for your contribution. You will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. Your vision and kindnesses have changed the lives of millions of people in a way you will never know.

God speed, to where you are, Ed Snider.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr.

Recently, I watched the movie, "Selma" about the march from Selma, to Montgomery, Alabama in support of the civil rights movement in 1965.

As I watched the movie, I realized that 1965 seems a really long time ago. Much of the footage we see of that time period is in black and white. However, what made it seem longer than the 50 years which have passed since that march was the treatment of human beings who opposed equal rights for all Americans.

I noticed the people who were marching for civil rights were carrying the American flag. A flag of a country which opposed them from being equal to others, yet they carried that flag. These people marching were opposed with people not carrying the stars and stripes, but the battle flag of the Confederacy. The streets were littered with white people opposing the voting rights to Blacks already guaranteed by the same constitution, which grants the same freedoms to each and every citizen in the United States. One hundred years, an entire century after President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves forever, Blacks were still struggling to enforce their rights, and the white people who opposed them. How sad that 50 years ago, people were simply on the wrong side of history and they didn't know it. Or, if they knew it, they didn't care.

Now 50 years later, it seems completely crazy that people didn't have those same rights. We could never understand why the colour of one's skin could deny a citizen of the country to be denied their inalienable rights.

Yet, the same conversation stands for many. Gay rights, Women's rights, Native rights, and the list goes on and on. When will the citizens who elect the governments who represent them stand together and give human beings the same rights and privileges as outlined by the nation they live in?
And when will human beings grant others the same right to live their lives in the Freedom that so many people have died to defend?

As today is April 4, I thought I would bring this up. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on this day in 1968. Dr. King stood for the equality of all human beings, in peaceful demonstrations. His courage raised awareness for the equality of all people, not just Blacks but for the entire civil rights movement. To watch the ignorance of people oppose that concept is just ludicrous to me, and yet as I write this, it probably happens to people I know, every day.

We as human beings are all one. We come in various colours, shapes, sizes, genders, sexuality, and beliefs. Yet, we are all souls born inside of a body we did not choose. We are souls having a human experience, treating one another as if we really were the costume that we were born into. But to judge a person solely on their costume, is to ignore the beauty of the soul inside of it.

To where you are, Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Tickle Trunk of Life

I originally wrote this in 2009, but recently re-read it and chose to post it on my blog. I hope you enjoy it...

I remember when my grandmother passed away. I was lucky to have a really young grandmother. She was 36 when I born. I was just shy of 20 when she died, a young woman, but I was lucky enough to have lived with her for the final months of her life. This gave me an immense amount of closure with her and for months knowing that she was terminal, we were able to talk about everything in her life, her kids' lives, and although she should've been bitter about a lot of cards she was dealt, she wasn't. She was a very bitchy woman to many, but to her family, she was the nucleus of what made everyone stick together.
But what made her a great mother and grandmother was the passion that she had for her family. She was very protective of her kids and grand kids. I knew this, but never as much as after she had passed away, we were cleaning up her stuff at her house and we found her tickle trunk.

It was just like opening a time capsule to your whole life. There, she had every piece of art and drawings and stories that I had made right from kindergarten to the day that I graduated high school. And they were all nicely put away and cared for, as if they were little tiny treasures. And I guess that they were for her... What was simply pieces of paper with ink and paint on them, were now part of her collection. In going through these, I found a time line from me, the eldest grandchild right down the line to the others who were so important to her. I wished that people who didn't like my grandmother could've seen this.

I know that my grandmother had battles with her kids, but her grand kids were everything to her. And I see that now, how much grandparents have the greatest moments. How life just seems to be much more spiritual, and less of an everyday battle than it does to us parents or single people.

But I can't tell you how happy and honoured that I was that my grandmother took the time to appreciate and keep my work. I looked at one drawing that I had done in Kindergarten when we had visited the Washington DC Metro Zoo and I saw my first Giant Panda which was a gift from China to the USA. I loved that cuddly looking ball of fur. I came back to class and I drew a picture of it (badly) and then the teacher quoted my caption of what I said about the Panda.
"Here is my Panda. He is smiling because he is looking at me. I love him, and I want one of my own.- Chuckie"

Looking down at that piece of paper, I was grateful for everything my grandmother did for my family, which in turn, included me. Some of my younger cousins were too young when she died, and its sad, because they missed a beautiful woman on the inside. I missed her dearly, but never as much as I did posthumously when I found all this, which just made me feel like crawling up inside that trunk to feel closer to her.

Its funny how time goes by and you remember stuff like this randomly. All the things going on these days with the economy and the hustle and bustle of everyday life and this is the good things you remember. Talking to people on facebook, I have remembered a lot of things in the past that have been put in that tickle trunk in my head. But opening it up every once and a while makes life seem a little more manageable and certainly much more lovable.

Now, my mother has taken her mother's name and has become "Nanny" to my daughter. I can't wait to see how things happen just like this in the next 20 years. I started a Journal for Kennedy, starting from the day when we first found out she was going to be a girl. I had started that journal talking to a child that hadn't existed yet in our lives, and without a sex; without a name. When I came home after finding out the sex of our baby, I could write her name in the book and say hello for the first time. Its been almost a year since I started telling her about her story and I can't wait to give it to her on her 16th birthday. With all the things a tickle trunk should have in it.

So thanks Nanny, for loving us, and teaching us how to love so dearly...