Join Olympic Champ Madison Mailey and Champion for Kids in Your Community

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Backpack Buddies is thrilled to announce a new Champion joining our fight against child hunger: Olympic Gold Medalist Madison Mailey! The Canadian superstar–most recently bringing home a gold medal at Tokyo 2020 in the Canadian Women’s Eight—is now joining Team Backpack Buddies as an official cause ambassador! Read our Q&A below on why Madison is joining the cause to advocate for kids in your community—and how she’s taking the cause to companies and schools across Canada through her motivational speaking.

Why Backpack Buddies?

Childrens’ food insecurity in our own neighborhoods is heartbreaking. As an Olympian and believer in the power of human kindness, I fully support Backpack Buddies. My goals are to inspire Backpack Buddies’ Kids to be confident, find passions, and help their dreams come true. I also want to inspire adults to financially support BPB and the good work they do in our BC Communities. Go Team Go!

How did you hear about Backpack Buddies?

Being born and raised in Lions Bay and going to school in West Vancouver, I didn’t know any children with food insecurity. It was not until 10th grade I learned about Backpack Buddies through my Collingwood teacher Beth McCracken. There were boxes of donated food in the classroom. “Cracks” would say, “If you get your work done you can sort!” This was my first startling realization that there were kids who didn’t get enough to eat at home. Recently, it was Beth and the Backpack Buddies team who told me that 1 in 5 and as many as 1 in 3, BC Children face food insecurity. I was shocked by this fact!

What was your personal draw?

My personal draw is that I love kids! At home in Canada, there has been nothing more rewarding than meeting children and watching their excitement in holding my gold medal! Often we pose for photos together, with this heavy medal around their little shoulders, and their smiles truly mean the world to me! Abroad, on service trips and global travels…Cuba, Belize, Africa and Egypt, I have seen the effects of poor nutrition firsthand in the eyes of the children, and asked myself what I could do to help end world hunger.

So, my personal draw to being Backpack Buddies Ambassador is for all these incredible kids to never know hunger. I want them all to have the food on their plate, and plenty of love and inspiration. I know I can offer my mentorship to help our BC kids reach their full potential…and be happy.

What does food as fuel mean to you?

Being an athlete forces you to see food in a different light. Food isn’t just something you have to have to survive, or something you use to diet or to gain weight. It is much more complex. I started to view my body as my engine and food as my fuel. Without fueling with the right foods, and fueling at the right time, my body would not function at its highest level.

On the National Team, we have the opportunity to work with nutritionists who help athletes understand how to best fuel our bodies. Specifically in my sport of rowing, I focused on keeping my caloric intake high, infusing food with protein, using electrolytes to help my body retain fluid and lastly using carbohydrates for energy.

I know people relate to the fact that I have a sweet tooth! I also know that food fuels both the mind and body. So, I’m desperately aware that children need healthy nutrition to concentrate, learn and succeed at school and on the playground. As a Backpack Buddies Ambassador I want all kids to have the fuel they need to score that goal, and enjoy learning.

How are you helping?

Before and after competing at the Olympics in July 2021, I have focused on inspiring kids to dream big! I have spoken to over 2000 students and faculty at many schools and organizations from the littlest North Shore pre-schoolers to amazing youth leaders across Canada with The Duke of Edinburgh Awards Programme! Other clients have included West Van Rec Gymnastics Club, Lions Bay Elementary School, Collingwood’s Wentworth Campus, Vancouver College, and York House School in Vancouver, BC. I feel honoured to have had such amazing people in my audiences. These speaking engagements are energizing, positive and help others realize that challenges are a normal part of life, and can be overcome with teamwork, determination and good communications.

Final Words from Madison

In the past, being an extroverted, energetic, and empathic person at heart, I have felt jealous of people who can hide their emotions. However, in the last 4 years on the Canadian national rowing team, I learned that kindness is a superpower! Being able to be there, listen, and offer a positive or supportive comment, makes all the difference in someone’s day.

In joining the conversation about child hunger, I will bring every ounce of kindness I can to the table. My message will not solve childhood food insecurity, but will fuel a conversation to help kids believe in themselves and their dreams. I will inspire others at the table to help find funding… so these dreamers have the best possible nutrition to “go for it!”

I am honoured to be a Backpack Buddy Ambassador. I want to help…. even if I impact the life of just one child it will mean the world to me. Thank you!

1996 born and grew up in Lions Bay, BC; 2014 graduated from Collingwood School, West Vancouver; 2018 graduated Northeastern University, Boston, MA; 2012 – 2021 Canadian National Team Athlete (two time U23 World Champion, 2018 World Rowing Silver Medalist and Olympic Gold Medallist in Women’s Eight); November 2021 to present Wealth Advisor Mailey Rogers Group, ScotiaMcLeod, West Vancouver and motivational speaker

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