Get Inspired: Calvin's Story

Calvin Green
15, from North Bay area

Photo of Cal

My Story

"When I was 11, I was sick from school off and on for several months, so I had a lot of time on my hands. One day, my mother and oldest sister, who have both managed food banks, were discussing how they used to set aside cake mix and icing for families whose children were celebrating birthdays. I thought that it would be really neat to include a present in the bag with the birthday cake mix, so the idea of Cal's Club was born.

"I used my allowance and some saved birthday money to buy the supplies. The presents are always age-appropriate and safe. They range from plastic toys for toddlers to dolls, puzzles, board games, backpacks, and journals for older children.

"I had planned to do a one-time gift of these birthday bags to the North Bay Food Bank, but the Food Bank and other agencies called us looking for more of the bags. That was almost four years ago, and the program is busier than ever. Cal's Club has kind of become a way of life.

"I am always looking for ways to make the bags better. When I was at the dentist, I noticed that they gave me a new toothbrush and sample-size toothpaste each time I had a check-up. People often ask for toothpaste at the North Bay Food Bank, which we rarely have. Now my dentist and his wife provide toothpaste and toothbrushes to go into the bags free."

Learning experience

"In January 2010, I met a parent picking up a bag who said that because of Cal's Club, her child could celebrate her birthday on the day that it happened, rather than waiting an extra month for the mom to receive her income tax refund. Knowing that made all of the work that we've done worthwhile."

Get inspired

"Don't let your age or lack of experience hold you back. You can really make a difference. Find something that really inspires you, and get involved. You can look up social services organizations in your yellow pages and call the ones that interest you to see if you can help."

Calvin Green is the founder of the charity Cal's Club, which has given out more than 1,400 birthday bags to date. These are available to parents or guardians of kids between the ages of 2 and 14 through application at food banks and social agencies around North Bay. His latest initiative is the Walk a Mile program, which provides quality shoes to children in need in his community every August. Calvin received his school's Citizenship Award at his eighth grade graduation. He has also been named a 2009 Ontario Junior Citizen and a 2008 World Wrestling Entertainment Canadian Community Champion.

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