A local youth has received praise and recognition from Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his fundraising efforts to help less fortunate children in Africa.
CJ Watters began collecting flying discs last summer as part of a local project and just before Christmas, CJ received one more signed disc by the Prime Minister himself, along with a letter commending him on his work.
“It feels really, really good,” said Watters upon receiving the signed disc and letter. “I feel pretty proud. My jaw dropped when I got the letter.”
Watters has worked on the flying disc project for several months and has had much support from the community and local organizations. One of them is the Tillsonburg Lions Club, who recently donated a cheque to cover the costs of sending the final shipment of flying discs to Uganda.
“Canada Post advised CJ that it would be right around the $200 mark and the Tillsonburg Lion’s Club gave him a cheque in November for $200, made payable to Canada Post to cover the cost of the postage to Uganda,” said Lion member, Dave Beres.
The last shipment of approximately 200 flying discs were sent to Africa just after Christmas. Beres noted Watter’s contribution to the community and the example he is setting for other young people his age today.
“It’s just great that kids today are stepping forward and doing the types of things that he’s doing,” said Beres. “It’s not self-serving, he’s trying to help other kids and projects like this do produce leaders in the future.”
Oxford MP Dave Mackenzie was on hand for the cheque presentation at the end of December and was instrumental in having Prime Minister Stephen Harper sign a flying disc and write a letter to CJ Watters congratulating him on his efforts.
“I’m so pleased to be here with CJ. I met him a few months ago and he is just a very outgoing, personable young man that is looking out for others around the world,” said Mackenzie. “And in this case, not only was it CJ but the Tillsonburg Lions Club who stepped up to help make this dream possible. That’s what our communities are about, that’s what the service clubs do and why the Town of Tillsonburg is in such good shape,” he added.
Mackenzie also had words of praise for Watter’s hard work over the past several months.
“It’s nice to know philanthropy thrives,” said Mackenzie. “And it’s not just the older generations or middle aged people, but it’s young people that have an idea like CJ Watters did and I think that’s just a great example.”
Watters said he is grateful for the community support he has received, like that from the Tillsonburg Lions Club and other individuals and organizations, and hopes to pursue future projects so that he can continue helping kids around the world less fortunate than himself.
Watters said he won’t be keeping the flying disc signed by the Prime Minister but will instead be giving it to the children of Uganda as part of the flying disc project.
“We’re going to give it to the Flying Disc Association (in Uganda) and they’re going to put it on display,” Watters said with a smile.