Trip of a lifetime for Yellowknife six
Dreams for Life sends children to Disneyland

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 10/00) - If the world was ruled by children, heaven would look like Disneyland.

Six Yellowknife children just came back from Anaheim, California, where they enjoyed a whirlwind day in Disneyland. In all, 114 kids from Edmonton and the surrounding area, who were specially chosen for the trip, took part.

Prior to leaving one of the children, Sandra Bourque, 11, couldn't keep her smile hidden for very long.

"I didn't believe it when my social worker told me. I said, 'you're joking right?'"

Bourque planned to go down Space Mountain and meet Minnie Mouse.

The trip was sponsored by Dreams for Life, an organization comprised of Air Canada volunteers.

Bruce Kilpatrick, Director of Agencies for the Dreams for Life Edmonton chapter, says the trip offered a wonderful opportunity for children.

"I went on the trip once and it was fantastic."

In Yellowknife, Nunasi Corporation acted as a liaison between Social Services and Dreams for Life to help select the children. The corporation received bios submitted by Social Services of children who fit the criteria and forwarded them to Kilpatrick. The criteria is based on need.

The children left Yellowknife on Monday at 6:15 p.m. and stayed over-night in Edmonton. At the crack of dawn the next day, 5:45 a.m. to be exact, they hopped on a 767 airplane to Los Angeles.

From there they were to get on a bus to Disneyland, arriving around 10:30 a.m. The day ended with a 6 p.m. flight back to Edmonton.

Former school teacher and current accounting trainee for Nunasi Corporation, Martha Kanatsiak was one of the chaperons who was going on the trip.

"I'm very excited and nervous, I've never been farther south than Montreal," she said prior to their departure.

Chris Hunt, General Manager of Arctic Spirit Sports Wear, experienced the trip last year. "It was very rewarding but very intense because it's only one day," he said.

Dreams for Life began 11 years ago in Toronto. A group of Air Canada employees got together with the idea of providing children with limited opportunities a chance to experience something extraordinary.

Over the years it evolved from Toronto to the rest of Canada. Today, all major Air Canada centres sponsor children.

The slogan for Dreams for Life is, "Creating special memories for special kids."

"It's a wonderful thing," said Kilpatrick.