Olivia is in an Honours Program in hopes of getting a scholarship. She has to do a certain # of community hours. She asked a Police Officer if he could write a letter simply confirming her # of hours. Instead, this is the letter that he wrote:
Good morning Leslie,
My name is Steve R, and I am humbled to be sending a word of confirmation, but more so admiration for Olivia. She asked if I could email you and back up the fact that she completed a 3 hour volunteer appearance at a Tour De Rock function, as a pre requisite for her leadership program.
As a police Officer, it would be easy for me to send that confirmation and simply sign the bottom of the email and carry on with my day. But through the contacts, conversations and ongoing interest I have in Olivia’s progress, I feel that she deserves so much more than a “box check”.
I have been a Saanich Police Officer for 11 years and heavily involved with the Tour De Rock since 2010. I have been on the Board of Directors, a fulltime member of the physical Training Team and my primary role while on Tour is the Emcee. I gave a keynote speech in Parksville a few years ago, which is when I met Olivia.
I remember feeling devastated after hearing her Cancer journey, and nervous for her when I learned she would be addressing the crowd with her story. I can tell you that my nerves for this young girl, standing in front of a room full of strangers immediately disappeared the moment she spoke. She lead a room full of adults on an honest, humble yet warrior like story of her struggles, her victories and her future plans. I can’t recall a moment during that talk that I heard a single person in the room breath.
Since that night, Olivia has evolved into my favorite part of Tour. Her public speaking ability has risen to unprecedented levels, and her ability to promote positive change through effort is humbling. I have a very special connection to Olivia as a Cancer survivor myself, but the truth is, she’s just an awesome human being.
Olivia spoke again this year in Parksville, and not only did she help the team really “get it” when it came to their Tour experience, but every single support crew member voluntarily attended the function in hopes that Olivia would be there speaking again.
My daughters are 10 and 7, and as a dad, I constantly navigate through the realities of parenthood and strive to have Brooklyn and Jordyn respect themselves, trust their own judgements, and become thriving, independent women that I can look to with admiration. If I could have them mirror the behaviors and the empathetic nature of another young woman as a role model, it would be Olivia.
Did she attend and volunteer her time for 3 hours at an event………..yes she did.
More importantly Olivia allows herself to be vulnerable, to create positive impact on others lives simply by sharing a room with them, and she restores people’s faith in humanity.
I have her back for life, and I give you my confident endorsement that any program would benefit from her presence.
Should you have any questions, require any further feedback or simply want to hear a 42 year old man talk about his hero who happens to be a teenager, don’t hesitate to contact me.