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RBC's 'Bands of Unity': Crafting Connections for Special Olympics Athletes

February 29, 2024

RBC has spearheaded an innovative program aimed at promoting inclusion and encouragement for the athletes of the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games hosted in Calgary.

Engaging students from Grades 4 to 6 as part of the RBC School Program, hundreds of young students across Calgary have been introduced to the values and achievements of the Special Olympics, fostering a deeper understanding and respect for the athletes and their journeys. This educational outreach culminated in a creative endeavour where students crafted special bracelets, each a token of motivation and camaraderie, for the more than 800 athletes participating in the games.

The bracelets, designed with inclusive language and words of encouragement, are more than mere accessories. They symbolize a bridge of support between the young creators and the athletes, carrying heartfelt "Good Luck" messages and vibrant colors.

In an inspiring twist, each child was encouraged to make two bracelets - one to send to an athlete and one to keep. This mirrored pair of bracelets serves as a tangible reminder of the connection between the students and the athletes, enabling the children to carry the dreams and aspirations of these remarkable individuals with them. It's a beautiful reflection of the initiative's goal to promote friendship, unity, camaraderie, and inclusion within the realm of sports and beyond.

Students have also decorated postcards, each bearing unique well wishes and colourful artwork, ensuring every athlete receives a personalized note of encouragement from a local Calgary student.

"Seeing the young students engage so wholeheartedly with the athletes through the bracelet and postcard initiative truly struck home for me," said Karen Dommett, General Manager, Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024. "It's a vivid reminder of the profound impact sports can have in bridging communities and fostering a spirit of inclusion. Witnessing these young individuals put so much thought and care into their messages and bracelets, creating a tangible connection with the athletes, underscores the importance of teaching our future generations about empathy and support. It's a beautiful representation of how, together, we can carry each other's dreams and aspirations, making them a shared journey towards understanding and acceptance."

Mirroring the famous multi-game pin trading tradition, these bracelets are meant to foster a sense of community and mutual support. Through this initiative, RBC has not only facilitated thousands of meaningful exchanges but has also planted the seeds of empathy, understanding, and unity among the younger generation.

The RBC School Program for the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024 stands as a testament to the power of community engagement in championing the cause of inclusion and support from the classroom to the workplace.

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