A few Red Deer youths were shovelling strangers’ sidewalks this past week to spread positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To be honest, it started with me looking at my kids and wanting them to get off electronics and outside,” said Rozalyn Vickery.
“Once I got them thinking about what they were going to do, a few ideas came together. … Then it just kind of happened in a few minutes and they were out there.”
Homeowners whose sidewalks were shovelled weren’t asked to pay any money for the service, but were given the option to make a donation to the Red Deer Food Bank.
On the first day, Vickery paid her children Blake and Gabrielle, as well as their friend Aiden Knutson, who has been temporarily staying with the family during the pandemic, to shovel sidewalks at 45 houses. But the three youths didn’t stop there.
“They did 150 houses that day. Then on the second day we tackled houses where the driveways maybe hadn’t been shovelled for a long time and were really packed down. It was a lot of work that day,” said Vickery.
“But when we were driving away there was an older man bent over trying to shovel a walk and the kids just about jumped out of a moving vehicle to go help him.”
Vickery, a family school enhancement counsellor, is part of the SPARC Red Deer coalition, which operates the Paint the Town Positive initiative.
One program within the initiative is the Neighbourhood Heart Hunt, which encourages Red Deerians to place paper hearts in their windows for people to see.
Vickery said her work with SPARC, which stands for Strengthening Positive Assets and Resiliency in Communities, inspired this snow-shovelling activity.
“It’s helping the kids understand that even if you don’t have a ton of money, there’s always something you can do that might benefit another person,” said Vickery.
Vickery said she’s inspired by others who have reacted constructively during “tough times” like now.
“One thing I’ve heard is, ‘This is going to be something your kids remember for the rest of their lives. What do you want those memories to be?’ I think a crisis sometimes defines a person, so both my husband and I are trying to set an example to our kids that when we’re tested, we do our best.”
The youths plan on getting outside to shovel again next week.