Sunday, May 13, 2018

West Broadway Youth Outreach, 5-ish Fun Run

We are not running with the ghosts of the dead
We are alive
With the spirit of our passion

Michael Franti, Passion

On your mark, get set, GO!
Start line, West Broadway Youth Outreach, 5-isk km Run
photo credit Community News Common
To say Ken Opaleke is passionate about the West Broadway Youth Outreach centre is to compare a candle to a stick of dynamite. The candle flickers while the dynamite is incendiary.  Ken is the latter.

Ken is original director of the West Broadway Youth Outreach. He's never taken a sick day in his 27 years at the helm. He refers to his deceased grandmother, Naomi Sullivan, as his spirit guide and credits her unconditional love with the success he has achieved.  His love of this often maligned community is immeasurable. The children he serves sees him as a lighthouse to navigate the rough waters of West Broadway.

I arranged to meet Ken because I wanted to learn more about the annual 5-ish km run that has it start and finish at Mulvey School.  I plugged a couple of toonies in the parking meter thinking an hour would be plenty. Little did I know that an hour simply scratched the surface of this most amazing man.  I may have wanted to meet to learn the nuts and bolts of the run, but I left with a new and profound love of my community.

Photo Credit Canstar Community News
Ken Opaleke passionately believes in the children of this diamond in the rough neighbourhood. He give tirelessly and he holds the highest expectations of the children he serves. He sees success and promise where outsiders see poverty and failure.

The WBYO centre exist on an annual budget of about $115 000.  The Winnipeg Foundation generously donates $100,000 and the 5-ish km Run raises an additional $15,000 (based on 500 participants).

Two full time staff and six part timers deliver 30 programs ranging from team sports to homework clubs and so much more. If The Winnipeg Foundation keeps the lights on, the 5-ish km run enables a sweeting of the pie.  This is an organization we want to support for the good of our community and for the future of our children.

Photo Credit Canstars Community Newspaper
 Ken's reach into corporate Winnipeg is deep.  He's forever searching for exciting prizes and motivators for our West Broadway Youth.  Jets tickets, Bomber tickets... no problem. Limo rides to McDonalds... got that. Airplane rides around Winnipeg... sure no problem.  Pizza parties, movie nights, trips to Wheelies, the museum, all free, all donated to West Broadway Youth Outreach because Ken asks and when Ken asks corporate Winnipeg responds in spades.

Ken (left) at the finish line.
Now it my turn to ask. I ask you all to put this little race in your calendar. When we run local, when we support those less privileged, when we believe in our community, great things can happen. The West Broadway Youth Outreach Centre has produced three medical doctors. Ken is not stopping until he's reached ten. Help him reach his goal.

To register and learn more about The West Broadway Youth Outreach Centre click HERE.

Ace Burpee, if you're reading this, I nominate Ken Opaleke for your 2019 Top 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans list... just saying.

Postscript.  I have just learned that Ken will be receiving the Order of Manitoba on July 12, 2018.  Go here for information.  

It's a good day to be alive.