Sparks of Change: Gildan Recognizes Young Leaders in Their Communities

Recognizing student athletes who are making a difference
Dec 4, 2018 8:00 AM ET

Gildan recognized six young student-athletes during the annual Foundation of Athletes for Excellence in Quebec (FAEQ) gala  on November 29. The outstanding student athletes achieved strong athletic performance and outstanding academic results while demonstrating strong leadership in their communities.  This year, the Gildan Leadership Category bursaries totalling $12,000 were presented to university students to support their continued academic and athletic endeavours.

Gildan has now donated more than $130,000 over the past 10+ years to the Foundation and is proud to support passionate, motivated students that demonstrate a unique capacity to improve the lives of those around them. The focus on youth and leadership is one of the areas that Gildan invests in, hoping to inspire and support the potential that youth have to dream big about the world they want to create.

This year’s three finalists are:

  • Beatrice Deguay:  A third-year University of Laval student studying Physical Education and playing varsity badminton, Beatrice was diagnosed with a hearing impairment early in life. She volunteers with the Association Sportive Sourds de Quebec, leading half-day programs of badminton for children with hearing impairment. Her goal is to motivate these children to pursue physical activity and inspire them to believe it is possible to be successful in whatever they are passionate about, even though they may have challenges. She also works with the École Oraliste to assist kids that have a developmental delay in their language skills. “I hope that throughout my career I can give back to the community all that I have been given and help young deaf students express themselves, excel in academics and fully actualize their potential.”  
  • Feng Chen: An aerospace engineering student at University of Montreal who plays varsity badminton.  While still in CEGEP, Feng created an organization called Running for Children to raise money for the Montreal Cardiology Institute to support research into cardiac disease. He also co-created the SAM foundation, which represents the three ways the group would raise money - sports, arts and music – with funds provided to the Montreal Children’s Hospital in support of children with terminal diseases. Feng says that it is the team effort that brings about a much greater sense of accomplishment, “creating links and working together towards a common goal helps me feel warm at heart, strengthens my passion and gives me an even greater motivation to help others.”
  • Nicole Hewlett: Studying anthropology at McGill and a varsity hockey player, Nicole volunteers at the McKay rehabilitation centre for kids, which supports children with physical disabilities and motor impairment.  “I love working with children, because they can sense when you care about them, have empathy and are trying to make a difference,” said Nicole. Her future plans include working to promote women’s health issues.

IN 2018, the FAEQ provided over $1.4 million to 475 student-athletes in Quebec ranging in age from eleven to twenty eight.

To learn more about these young leaders, watch their videos here

Learn about Gildan’s other Youth Leadership initiatives here