He was about 7 years old and he shuffled in to the Christmas Cheer office in his big winter boots, a toque and his winter coat. He was holding a small cardboard box. It held all his birthday money… $82 in coins.
That was the first year I met William Parry and our website has a great photo of our Corporate Chair Laurie Crosson leaning over to look in William’s face.
The next year William was back, with $105 for Christmas Cheer. We couldn’t believe this kid was bringing money to donate to Christmas gifts and food for families who need them, but here he was again.
Year three William showed up with $487. Nine years old.
What we didn’t know was that Christmas Cheer was receiving the leftover money, that William had gone door to door in his neighbourhood and among friends and collected up enough money to sponsor a Children’s Aid family the first year. The second year he cared for 2 CAS individuals and brought the rest to Christmas Cheer. Last year’s money was coupled with toys and food.
This fall, William Parry met his nemesis, Craig Kielburger of Free The Children. Craig was speaking at Gryphon Theatre and William was there to soak up energy, to learn, and to meet Craig. Craig was about William’s age when he started to view the world from a different vantage point and at 27 he is an international star. He’s showing the world that each of us has unique power to make change.
And so William is making change! (in more ways than one). This year William is looking for people and companies to sponsor his fundraising efforts for Christmas Cheer. He’s putting up flyers and making a presentation to every class in his school. It was Craig’s sharing of the power of corporate sponsorships that directed William down this path. While Free the Children has international sponsors, William’s efforts are local (for now) and he’s looking for local businesses. He’s hoping car dealerships and department stores and hardware stores will sponsor him. He’s hoping to raise even more money for Christmas Cheer… his goal is to arrive this year with $1000 in donations.
And this is just William’s Christmas charity. He is also on his school leadership teams, serving on Peer Mediators, Announcements, Spirit and Yearbook.
His favourite book is Under the Dome by Stephen King. His favourite movies are Salt and The Disappearance of Alice Creed. He’s a ‘sixer’ (leader) Cub helping out a Beaver colony and busy selling fundraising items to help out.
William has a strong foundation behind his commitment to those less fortunate than him. “People who are poor don’t have a voice,” he says. “And November 24, I”m participating in a Free the Children event and taking a vow of silence. No texting, no talking, no communications of any kind.” He knows why he’s doing what he’s doing.
William is also part of a Cub group that is visiting retirement homes and helping elderly people write out Christmas Cards. He plans to deliver a few of his own while he’s there.
This grade five student at Cundles Heights Public School got permission from his school vice principal two weeks ago to begin his campaign. He’s planning to get donations from every class AND to speak to the audience at large during the Christmas Concert.
Interested in helping William? His email is email@example.com. His mother Tracey has allowed him to use her email, too: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, William. See you at Christmas Cheer!