Sam B.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax Regional School Board Fair

Joe Juneau: Making a Difference with Nunavik's Children

This project explores the work of former NHL superstar, Joe Juneau who now lives in Nunavik where he started a social and community development program for Inuit youth. The program uses ice hockey as a tool to encourage Inuit children to stay in school, to avoid criminality, and to help create discipline within their lives. It is a life-changing program for these Inuit children and it changed my life when I had the privilege to play these kids in February 2012 in an international hockey tournament in Quebec City and hear Juneau speak about his work.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I learned was that one man can change so many kids' lives and make a positive difference, not just by letting them have fun, but by keeping them active, in school and away from drugs and alcohol. One person can change the world.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I learned that even though Canada is a great country, not all children living in Canada have the same experiences and that for some of us, life is a bit more challenging. Canada's Inuit children, for example, face unique challenges and it is important for all Canadians to know about these challenges and work to correct them. Joe Juneau is a role model and a great Canadian who is already working to making a positive difference in the lives in Canada's Inuit children and we should all follow his example about service to others.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

In many ways, my life is very different from that of the Inuit children in Nunavik who are part of Juneau's hockey program. They face challenges that I can't even imagine. However, we also have a lot in common. I just played Joe Juneau's Nunavik Nordiques PeeWee hockey team and when we were on the ice together — Inuit children from Nunavik and children from Nova Scotia — we were very much the same — we all have a passion for hockey, we all did our best, we all wanted to win, we all worked hard to win that game, and we all were competitive.