A generous Iqaluit resident bought hundreds of drop-in passes to the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre in early April, and distributed them to local schools, organizations and agencies – wherever there might be children and youth who can’t necessarily afford the $4 to $6 fee.
Kristof Karcza stunned principal Mat Knickelbein when he dropped off 80 passes at Nanook School in Apex.
“I didn’t even understand, to be honest. I didn’t realize exactly what he had done until he explained it further,” said Knickelbein. “I thought he was just dropping off a couple of passes or something, and he dropped about 80 or 90 passes. All the kids got two or three passes each.”
Knickelbein says the donor did not want recognition or photos taken, but Nunavut News/North had the opportunity to ask Karcza what motivated him.
“Before I got those passes, I’d been four or five times to the pool. I didn’t see Inuit kids. I want to see more kids,” said the six-year Iqaluit resident.
“If you get into activities, you get tired, you get to bed,” he said, adding seeing young kids out on the street with nothing to do made an impression on him.
“It’s good for them, It’s good for the community.”
Knickelbein says the great gift came just before spring break, which was excellent timing.
“Before they left for holidays, I went around and explained to everybody what this gentleman had done. They were all clapping and cheering. They were happy about it,” said Knickelbein.
“The pool is a big deal. Especially down in Apex here. There’s a family here with four or five brothers and sisters … That’s a lot of money for one family. Some of our kids were so happy, because they wouldn’t be able to go otherwise.”
Later, in the classroom Nunavut News/North visited, the students were thrilled. There was no doubt: they love the pool.
When Karcza went on Facebook to figure out the best way to get the passes in the right hands, residents Nicole Laplante Dunn and Andy Traub threw in an addition $500 to his $2000 – which bought 450 children’s passes and 115 youth passes. In addition to visiting the schools, he delivered passes to the medical boarding home, the Qayuqtuvik Food Centre, the Makkuttukkuvik youth centre, the women’s shelter in Apex, and a couple of government agencies.
Karcza is also arranging to give away 100,000 Aeroplan points, and not just to youth in Iqaluit.
He explains: That many points buys seven return tickets to Montreal or Ottawa. He doesn’t know yet how that’s going to work, but he’s asked both Canadian North and First Air to help out.
“I’ve asked for three things,” he said. “Match the number of seats, make seats available for the days kids can travel, and generally play a substantive role.”
His motivation? He feels there’s so much to see of the world and some young people just don’t get to travel.
“I am fortunate enough that I can give these points away,” Karcza said.