We love hearing about the impact Adopt-A-Grad Foundation has on our community
My son was one of the lucky young men to receive a suit for his 2019 graduation from the Airdrie Dads Adopt-A-Grad charity. I never really got to thank Mike in person for his generosity and his kind heart. He has no idea that he literally helped save my life.
I hadn’t been working very much over the last few years because of the crappy Oil & Gas market, and because of that we lost our house due to foreclosure after Easter 2019, before my son’s graduation. To be brutally honest, I was not in a good place mentally as I felt that I failed my family, failed to provide for them and had thoughts of suicide and could not bear to look at my family and felt that they saw me as a failure as a husband and as a father.
When my son was told me that he would be receiving a brand new suit and that his banquet tickets for his family would be covered by Mike, it felt like the weight of all of our problems was lifted off my chest and I could breathe again. To see my son walk across the stage to recieve his diploma and attend the dinner afterwards was a proud moment for me and my wife, a bright moment for us after a rough couple years for our family. That was the first time I felt that someone, a complete stranger in the community really cared about us.
I have not done much in the Airdrie Dads group but I see the impact Mike has in the community, he does an amazing job in rallying the troops to come through in a huge way. Since the day I took my son to get his suit, he has not stopped smiling and never stopped talking about how much this suit meant to him.
Seeing my son smile like that even after all the hard times we’ve been through as a family has inspired me to reach out and get the help I needed and literally saved my life and I thank Mike for that. I’ve been able to get back on track and found work as an equipment operator and been lucky to remain working throughout the pandemic. We have a nice house that we are renting in Airdrie and my son has been accepted into UofA in Edmonton in the Social Worker program and he wants to make sure that he’s able to pay it forward when he’s able to.
I can’t thank you enough for what you guys do in the community and making sure kids are able to graduate with their friends, and showing that people really do care in the community especially during these hard times. We will do our best to support the Adopt-A-Grad in any way we are able to.
Thank you for saving us.
With love and eternal gratitude
I heard about Project Jack & Jill through my father. When I was in grade 11 I had a friend who I knew was worried about his graduation as he was in grade 12. I found out Project Jack & Jill would take his contact info and that when they contacted him that would just say an anonymous friend wanted to see him happy on the last day of high school.
Little did I know that I would be brought to tears seeing him with a huge grin in his suit at graduation. It wasn’t that the suit had made him happy – I think it was the kindness of the program and the thought that someone was watching and wanting the best for him.
He had told me that he got a free suit and got it fitted for graduation and was planning on using it for a job interview shortly after. I still couldn’t bring myself to let him know that it was my referral, as to me that didn’t matter. The confidence that came with the suit changed his outlook on how much potential there is in the world and it let him know that even when no one seems to be there somebody still cares about you.
The following year, my family experienced some financial difficulties as my graduation approached. I applied for the program and was immediately informed about everything and they worked around my schedule. Before graduation I went to try on suits and found one and a pair of shoes and a tie that seemed to be comfortable.
I was given a date to go get my suit tailored at the mall – I was having a great night and was told to try on a few different suits in the store to get my sizes for the tailoring. Mike Reist approached me and gave me a big hug and said that Project Jack & Jill wanted to give something back to me for the anonymous referral of my friend. They presented me with a gift card to purchase a brand new suit from the store.
Saying I was happy would be an understatement. I had the feeling of “someone is watching and they are wanting the best for me” just as I had for my friend. Project Jack & Jill’s gift made me extremely confident and also extremely emotional.
The gift of a suit is more than any amount of fabric. The gift gave me hope in others, confidence in myself, striving to be better and to be deserving of the opportunities that a suit offers. When I walked into my interviews and waited, I felt like a man with purpose and someone that couldn’t be walked on. Still everytime I wear my suit I think about my friend and about seeing the feeling he had and that I have in my cheeks where I can’t help it but grin.
I want to say thank you once again to Mike and Lori for doing so much, not only for me but for my friends, family and my future and the future of graduating students. I also want to thank every single person for their donations to help someone who may not think anybody is watching.