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Rise  Above  Bursaries  for  Single  Parents

To My friends! And please share with others via Facebook or other social media! All are welcome to be part of this special night!

If you are in town on friday, May 27th, please please join me for a special evening, a special cause. Even consider delaying an intended getaway to the cottage. Help send several single parents to the U of M this fall. And if you can only make it for the presentation (dessert) from 7pm til approx 8:20...thats fine! Cheesecake & refreshments will be served to tables! If you cannot make the dessert presentation, maybe you can attend the social (music, mingling, & dancing!) which follows my talk, 8:45pm til 1am. Can come late...or leave early. Whatever you wish. But many are attending BOTH (at a discount).

And to be honest, though I am really looking forward to taking the stage in support of this cause, I am also really nervous...anxious....and vulnerable, not just because of how special this cause is to me but also as to what else I will be sharing. But I am up to the challenge and hopefully I will see many “familiar, caring & loving faces!” to make me feel more at home, especially with those friends that have only seen me on the 'playing' grids (rinks, vball courts, football & soccer fields). And I am looking forward to making 'new' friends on May 27th and hopefully surprising many, even some of my own family...with a few 'hard to believe' stories & events. Tears are allowed! 

But I will share a little something right now. GOD has blessed me so much, especially with an appreciation & LOVE of & for~FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS & LIFE!!  And growing up with the dream & goal to play pro football, I regretfully passed on the scholarship offers, becoming a father at 18, and then a single dad at age 20, raising two diapered boys (22 months & 10 months). The pic within was taken the very evening when I was awarded full custody. I was completely exhausted & overwhelmed.  I had to come to the realization that I must drop out of university to work full time and care for my boys. I remember well the  finger pointing & low whispers tween moms at the St Lukes daycare when dropping off & picking up my boys! Their stares and unsmiling faces looked down upon the only father with custody of his kids, as if to say 'How dare you!' I never let them know that it bothered me, but it did! I would just smile but very few smiled back!

Though I thought myself to be a failure, I had my sons, and they were my 'everything'! I came to realise that saying 'NO!' to the pros....and 'YES' to my boys & fatherhood, was the path that GOD meant for me to follow and it also led to saying 'YES' to the amateurs and creating Canford Sports which has had over 110,000 participants over the last four decades! And many of those original participants have had THEIR sons and THEIR grand sons...now playing. The seeds for Canford Sports were sown within the efforts of keeping an inner city Broadway Optimist Community Centre~ALIVE! And now 40+ years later, Canford is intent upon establishing Winnipeg as the
cityofplay.ca  ~~  

When speaking within schools I share with our boys & young men that there is no 'masterpiece' they could help create in their lifes that can surpass that which is within the womb, a child, within GOD'S final & finest created MASTERPIECE, WOMAN! FATHERHOOD is a gift from GOD. But seemingly our city is still near or at the very top, within Canada...when it comes to teen pregnancies & 'walk away' or absent fathers! It is difficult enough to raise a child (or more) within a two parent family these days. May 27th is an opportunity for you, for us, to  make some 'out of reach' dreams come true---those of granting the wishes of single parents to attend university this fall! 

Age 20, a single father, I left university!

Much more will be shared on May 27th~ I will also touch upon a few things that I consider to be nothing short of miraculous within my life & family. Having Colleen (wife, mother & grandmother) returned to us TWICE (heart list) before losing her after 33 years together, her last 16 with cardiomyopathy and 4 out of province medical trips.  And having all 16 siblings STILL alive ( 50 thru 70)! And recently welcoming grand child #12 into this world, a 7th grandgirl, I thank GOD for each & every day that HE has gifted to me...to my family...and for all whom HE has put within my path! Each is a part of me! 

And being proudly named after my Uncle John (Robertson), founder of our Marathon and RIDER PRIDE (CFL), how can I NOT share a few stories about him? Get ready to laugh! Don Cherry, Uncle John's friend, refused to follow him when speaking at functions, Unc was that good! I will also speak about the Power of Play within families & communities. About mental health~ Anxiety~ Addictions. About fatherhood~ love~ loneliness, about 'caring, sharing, accepting...and serving others'. And GOD willing, with our primary goal of sending single parents to university, another goal PERSONALLY, will be for me to inspire you, to leave the May 27th's events with not only an increased appreciation for YOUR life but that regardless of the 'struggles & suffering' that visit all of us... LIFE IS WORTH LIVING and that you may well look at some things in a different light and find yourself smiling more often than not.  All good begins with a smile...and doing good..begets more good. The Power of a Smile is LIMITLESS~

So! If you are NOT out of town and do NOT have another MORE important commitment, please please.. “ not only make me SMILE BIG, by attending....but make several appreciative single parents also SMILE....with OUR gift of full bursaries for the upcoming fall term at the U of M! PRICELESS~Single parent families have doubled in the past 15 years and seemingly will be ever increasing in numbers going forward. For many, university is simply not a possibility. Help us change that for some!

The caring org that is staging this event is allowing me to sell a set number of tickets to those that I wish to invite. And I sure hope you will consider coming. Those close to me, know of my passion(s) for many worthy causes. Well! This is right up there. And so you know just how special this cause is (to me), I have refused a speakers fee with my wish that every single possible $ goes towards bursaries. I will share much much more within my talk about this. I hope you will be listening, and watching ...while I do so!

Tickets may be available at the door but to reserve tickets in your name to be held at front table,  contact  
canfordsportsnorthamerica@gmail.com . IF for Dessert Presentation event only, its $15 (cheesecake & refreshments included)! For Social only, its $10. If you wish to attend both its discounted to $20. And some teams/groups/families have reserved tables of 8 or 10. If you wish to, great!

Thank you very very much & GOD BLESS~~

John Robertson

And on another note....just in case you have used sports items to donate!

 Many friends have asked if we were accepting used sports items again for our JUST LET THEM PLAY program. Yes we are! Patrons for the May 27th event(s) are welcome to bring/drop off any surplus used sports items that nite. We have use of an additional smaller hall in which we can accept/store any items for that evening. This program provides FREE sports activities on a weekly basis for youths and families, especially newcomer immigrant families. Though we will accept any sports items, a need for more summer/fall soccer/football cleats, basketballs, baseball gloves, bats, vballs, whatever!! ...is appreciated! And adult cleats & sponge hockey shoes are welcome too for many parents & grand parents that play too! Also hockey sticks that can be used for the bigger kids/adults or cut down for our little ones~

                      ***DO  NOT  FEEL  OBLIGATED TO  BRING  ITEMS~ 



After a two hour work out, within our free youth sponge hockey
program, these 13 of so many, were not ready to go home! At
times we would have sooo many kids on the ice all at once...as
many as 30 +, that we would play with three pucks at the same
time! They loved it!!! What began with 6 kids in week #1 on just
one intended day, morphed into over 60+ participants by winter's
end playing four times a week! And yes, many parents joined in!


  By seasons end, over 60+ played within our free youth program! We embedded 
  hearts with their names into ice! And when a new kid would show up to play we 
  simply gave them a black marker and said "Go sign a heart & grab a stick!" Then
  their heart was added to the rink boards for all to see! PRICELESS~

  8 Smiling boys playing touch football on a friday night @ 8pm! (not online!LOL)


550 Harrow Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3M 3A2

Leslie MacGillivray, Principal Phone: 453-3347 Fax: 453-1135

August 20, 2015

Dear John,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your involvement with our community and all of the wonderful things you do to support our Harrow families! In our small school of approximately 160 students we have over 40 countries of origin represented and celebrated! The majority of our families are newcomers to Canada needing many supports and network opportunities as they settle in to life in Canada. Our families encounter many struggles in their transition such as learning a new language, learning and adapting to a new culture, financial restraints and lacking a feeling of belonging. Just Play has allowed everyone in our community to enjoy activities and camaraderie while building new friendships and connections! I also know that equipment for various sports was distributed free of charge to those children and families encouraging them to continue to play. What a gift!

A deep and sincere thank you for all of your efforts and for offering such a valuable program!


Leslie MacGillivray


Harrow School


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