Feature Story                                                                                                  Friday, January 25, 2013


Student Power

FortisBC and the BC Lions bring their Energy Champions program to Chilliwack kids

Staff/Voice photos



Bernard Elementary students take part in the Energy Champions program that swept through Chilliwack on Monday. Below, Jason Arakgi hoists up a student to retrieve a globe used in the presentation.


When BC Lions football players come to Chilliwack, you know they always score big with the school kids. And just because it's the off-season the players aren't slacking off.


In 2012, the program visited 75 BC schools, and spoke to over 22,000 kids about saving energy at home and school. It's all presented in a way that only kids can understand with fun and games.


Such was the case Monday, when Lions players fanned out across School District #33 as FortisBC Energy Champions, demonstrating to students different techniques to lessen their environmental footprint.

Defensive back Jason Arakgi and defensive lineman Jon Hameister-Ries, dazzled the kids at Bernard Elementary School with a series of quizzes and friendly competitions.

The Energy Champion Program, now in its fourth year, is designed for children from kindergarten to grade 7.

Energy Champions is part of the Be More Than A Bystander program, funded by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Status of Women Canada.

In 2011, the End Violence Association partnered with the BC Lions for the Be More Than a Bystander initiative which raises awareness around violence against women.

"The program breaks the silence surrounding violence against women and girls by providing tools, language and practical ideas about how to be more than a bystander, how to speak up and how to communicate that violence and abuse is not acceptable," stated a release issued last week by the BC Lions.

Jacqueline Blackwell, BC Lions Communications and Digital Media, told The Voice in an e-mail earlier last week the games help make the point to the kids.

"Games between the students and Lions players reinforce the message of being a responsible, environmentally conscious citizen," she said. "For example, games include a focus on using cold water as an alternative to hot water (i.e. laundry) and turning off the lights."

When Hameister-Ries asked for game volunteers, 300 pairs of hands instantaneously shot up in the air.

One game had Lions players pitted against the kids to see who could put the most layers of clothes on, which had everyone in stitches.

Arakgi and Hameister-Ries quizzed the kids on energy saving tips and capped off the program with a memory game with oversized cards.

Prizes, like energy savings playing cards were handed out to a lot of happy charged up kids.


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