OHSWEKEN – The sounds of laughter, chatter and skates on ice filled the Gaylord Powless Arena on Saturday, when the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation hosted a free public skate with event partners ILA Sports, Six Nations Council, and Six Nations Park and Recreation.
Not only were guests invited to meet Santa, offered free Dreamcatcher toques, hot chocolate, doughnuts, and pizza; they were also able to enjoy themselves with their families and friends and meet other skaters. As well, a donation table was set up so that community members could make a contribution to the Six Nations Community Food Bank.
Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation Board Member, Delby Powless, explained that the event was organized to feed the giving side of the holiday season.
“We wanted to do something for the community and there’s a lot of kids that can’t afford to come and skate, so we wanted to put it on for them and we wanted to make it special,” said Powless. “There’s things in the community that people are happy to help with, for instance Ryan Burnham donated the toques, Tim Hortons donated the doughnuts, Village Pizza donated all of the free pizza; with Parks and Recreation, Council, they’re all part of this,” he said.
“I also can’t forget that ILA Sports helped sponsor tonight, they’re here and they have their table set up for the lacrosse stuff, which is a free draw. Kids just have to put their name in and there’s equipment and gift certificates for them to enjoy. It really is all about giving back to the community, and it’s a good time to give any time, but this time of the year, everyone’s in the giving spirit and we just wanted to give that a little boost before Christmas,” he said.
“We bought gifts for all of the kids, who will all get a gift before they go home tonight and they’re all wrapped up,” he said. “It’s just something for the community; we want to give back, you know, they help us out, they donate to Dreamcatcher so we wanted to give a little bit back to the community,” he said.
With well over a hundred people attending the event, Powless remarked that the number of people is “awesome.”
“It’s awesome, but there’s probably a little bit more than last year and we keep building every year. [It’s] getting a little bit better, and we’ll get more in the years to come. This year we’ll sit down and look at what we could have done different and make it better for next year,” he said.
Powless then expressed thanks for those who attended and those who offered help.
“The staff, the volunteers and everybody that came out; we’ve got a lot of volunteers here tonight that helped to get things set up, they’ve been wrapping presents all week to give to the kids and they’ve been shopping all week. Without the staff and volunteers it would make this pretty tough to do. I’d also like to thank all of the elders that came out as well; there’s elders that watch and enjoy watching their grandkids on the ice and it’s amazing. It all gives a really good feeling,” he said.
The Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation public skate was truly a community effort, with attendees, volunteers and organizers leaving the event with a feeling of togetherness and joy.