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Kristen Dajia

POG Sports 2021

Kristen Dajia is a lifelong teacher and mentor. For thirty years, she was an elementary educator for the York Catholic District School Board--in four schools, in the four corners of York Region. Teachers lead, essentially volunteer, for many extracurricular activities. Kristen has coached just about every sport, organized a robotics club, and even started a knitting club through her schools. Seeing the students in a different light helped her to understand them better, and she’s grateful she had this opportunity.

Kristen’s parents were both lovers of sport and volunteered their time in a variety of recreational programs. Every year their family would travel to Collingwood, Ontario, where her father grew up, so that he could attend the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner—he never missed it. The whole town celebrated, and many of his friends-turned-professional athletes and builders also came home to reconnect.

Her experiences as a child, and as a teacher organizing clubs and teams in schools, had a great influence on her joining with other like-minded people to establish the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Residing in Aurora—and seeing education as a way to keep sport heritage alive for years to come and give the Hall its growing legacy—Kristen naturally became the Chair of the Education Committee. To connect young people and their schools to the Hall of Fame, she created the Aurora Cup Elementary School Hockey Tournament in 2018. This fulfilled a need she had recognized for a while: school hockey in the community, played by boys and girls of all abilities together, for the love of the game and of course school pride. The tournament continues today at the Stronach Aurora Recreation Centre; each year is better than the last, with inspiring moments of sportsmanship and fair play.

In 2015, Kristen volunteered with the Para Pan Am Games after being selected and trained as part of the tie-down crew for the field throwing events. To compete in the games, wheelchair athletes must be strapped or tied down into special throwing chairs. This must be done with speed and precision, and it prepared Kristen in many ways for her most rewarding volunteer experience yet: their crew was invited to volunteer at the Invictus Games in Toronto in 2017.

Now more than ever, Kristen says we must have a glass-half-full attitude toward our current circumstances. The pandemic will end. The world will open, and events will once again be enjoyed. In the meantime, Kristen has been discovering trail systems and creating art projects, and these solitary activities have been catalysts for new ideas and innovations.


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