Celebrate National Child Day

As I sit at my desk and ponder the end of the United Way campaign for this year, I think about the many agencies that are United Way funded that support children. There are the obvious agencies that receive funding such as Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club, Justin Slade Youth Foundation and The Children’s Centre. However, there are agencies that at first glance are not as obvious such as Support Through Housing Team and Legacy Counselling.

This week on Friday November 20th, I will be thinking about and celebrating National Child Day.

National Child Day is celebrated annually to mark two historic events: the 1959 signing of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

The founding principles of the Convention include:
• Acting in the best interests of the child.
• Genuinely considering the views of the child in all decision-making that affects them.
• Ensuring children have the right to primary consideration in all economic, social, and political decisions, policies, programs, and expenditures that impact upon them


This year, the theme is “It is Our Right to Learn”. One of the pillars of The United Way of Fort McMurray that fits right in with this convention is ‘All that kids can be”. Each summer one of our community projects is Tools for School, an initiative to provide school supplies to students who need assistance to get the academic year off to a good start.

Today I think about the children not only in Fort McMurray but in countries who are at war, experiencing bombings, are fleeing their homes because of the destruction and devastation.

I urge you to take a little bit of time on November 20th to spend with your child: listening, playing or perhaps reading. Let them choose a silly supper, take them for a walk on the Birchwood Trails. For an hour, put away your electronics and give the gift of your time. If you don’t have children perhaps you could call a former teacher and tell them they made a difference in your life, volunteer at the food bank or take cookies to the folks at The HUB Family Resource Centre for their hard work with children and families. I think I might take my granddaughter swimming to Mac Island. Perhaps I will see you there.

Happy National Child Day friends!


Author: Sherry Duncan

Sherry proudly calls Fort McMurray home. Having lived in several mining communities with her family, it has been her experience that the heart of a community can be found at the volunteer pancake breakfasts, food bank drives, parent councils and similar community events no matter where your travels take you. From an early age Sherry volunteered in service to others under the watchful eye of her socially conscious father. As a parent to her own 3 (adult) children she has practiced and passed on those many life lessons. Over the years she has Chaired several volunteer events including (more recently) a Keyano United Way Campaign and served as board member for various organizations. Fort McMurray has no shortage of opportunities to be involved at many levels. Most recently Sherry's volunteered both front of house and on stage for Keyano theatre, Tedx Fort McMurray, Safe Communities Wood Buffalo PARTY Program, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo and The Western Canada Summer Games. Sherry has completed the internationally recognized Chair Leadership Academy as part of her position as Chair and Instructor in Childhood Studies at Keyano College where she was also awarded the President's Instructional Leadership Award. She is a proud Leadership Wood Buffalo alumni, facilitator and keynote speaker. For 29 years, teaching children and adults has been her career allowing her many opportunities to travel, present, facilitate and engage in both educational and philanthropic activities. Joining the United Way will truly bring together her passions for teaching, learning and making a difference in the heart of her community and the Wood Buffalo Region.