Some deserving youth in Winnipeg are going to be sharing in the excitement of the new stadium this season!
This year, MTS is generously donating 50 tickets for every regular season Bomber home game to a local youth serving agency through the United Way. To make sure they get the full stadium experience, they will be providing participating kids with cheer sticks, a hot dog and pop to snack on. “As strong supporters of both the Bombers and United Way, MTS is pleased to be able to share the excitement around the upcoming season with some deserving young people in our community,” says Kelvin Shepherd, President of MTS.
The donation is a part of United Way’s Dream Seats program, which takes donated game tickets andputs them in the hands of kids in our community who might not otherwise have the chance to experience a professional hockey, football or baseball game.
Donations like these can open doors to new experiences, create lasting memories and, who knows, maybe even inspire the next Olympian or NHL player to come out of Winnipeg.
The return of the Winnipeg Jets has created a sense of unity among Winnipeggers of all ages, says Amanda Shindak of the Youth Agencies Alliance. “But going to a game and feeling that sense of community spirit and pride, and having a chance to be there with a positive role model, is something that most of our youth will never be able to experience in their lifetime.”
So when they were told they were getting Winnipeg Jets tickets donated through United Way’s Dream Seats program, they wanted to make sure they used them well. “We wanted to make sure that they went to a very deserving individual that has not had the opportunity to attend a Jets game,” says Shindak.
Youth Agencies Alliance created a contest for all of their 19 partner agencies, where one youth would get to go to the Winnipeg Jets game against the New York Rangers on March 14th. Youth were asked to submit 200 words indicating why they thought they should go to the game, and YAA staff reviewed the submissions to make the tough decision.
“The particular youth we selected has been faced with a number of adversities in his life,” says Shindak. “The Winnipeg Jets hold a special place in his heart, and he’s never had the opportunity to go to a game. He shared with us that when he was a child his dad would share stories about the Jets, and he grew to love the game of hockey. He has always wanted to join a team, but due to financial barriers has been unable to play. He wrote to us that “Going to a jets game would make my dreams come true and soon when I see my dad I would tell him about this story and he would be proud of me”. We wanted to provide a positive life long memory for him.”
The goal of the Youth Agencies Alliance is to provide youth with entertainment opportunities that they would normally not have access to, in turn creating positive social experiences. Experiences that were once considered unattainable, suddenly offer positive social interaction with a positive role model from their agency.
Thanks to the generous Dream Seats donor who made this possible! We can’t wait to hear how the game goes.
With 48 hours notice, United Way takes donated game tickets and puts them in the hands of kids in our community who might not otherwise have the chance to experience a professional hockey, football or baseball game.
Your donation of a pair of tickets, or more, can open doors to new experiences, create lasting memories and, who knows, maybe even inspire the next Olympian or NHL player to come out of Winnipeg.
How Does It Work?
Simply fill out the donation form, or give us a call at 204-477-5360.
With all the action packed details of the game, we’ll reach out to one of our youth-serving agencies to find a budding young fan and arrange the rest, from supervision to transportation.
Tickets can then be emailed, mailed, dropped off in person, or couriered over to 580 Main Street in time for game day.
Fill a Seat, Fulfill a Dream
Remember the first time you saw the Jets play—the scrape of skates on ice, the clatter of players against the boards, the roar of the crowd when they scored?
How about the breathtaking view from the bleachers of the stadium or that terrifying, yet thrilling boom of the touchdown cannon at the Bomber game?
Every kid deserves the chance to get in on the action and experience that same rush of excitement, to have and cherish those memories for a lifetime, to aspire to excellence.
That’s what United Way’s Dream Seats is all about.
When Will Arnett was in the market for Jets tickets, his first call wasn’t to the box office; it was to United Way of Winnipeg.
“Will wanted to donate two Jets season tickets to United Way so youth who might not otherwise have the chance, could experience the thrill and excitement of an NHL game,” says Rob McGee, United Way of Winnipeg’s board of trustees marketing chair.
Arnett grew up watching the Leafs, but Winnipeg holds a special place in his heart. His grandfather, William Palk, was United Way of Winnipeg’s first ever campaign chair.
“My grandfather was very special to me,” says Arnett. “He dedicated his life to giving back to his community, a commitment that gave United Way such a strong start in Winnipeg almost fifty years ago.”
When Palk passed away in 2009, Arnett honoured his grandfather’s memory by contributing to the William Lawrence Palk Family Fund within United Way of Winnipeg’s endowment, the Tomorrow Fund.
With news of the NHL’s return to Winnipeg, Arnett saw another opportunity to follow his grandfather’s example.
Arnett donated two Jets season tickets, a gift which inspired enthusiastic responses from many of the recipients, including 12 year-old Skyler Pearson.
“It was so cool to be part of Jets history by being at the first game in 15 years,” says Pearson. “I was born with spina bifida and have to rely on using a wheelchair so opportunities like this don’t come very often and to be so up close and personal was so awesome.”
United Way had received similar ticket donations from corporate partners and individuals over the years, but this outpouring of thanks suggested there was a unique opportunity to do something more.
“With the response from our agency partners, and conversations with Will, we realized by formalizing the program, we could engage many more Winnipeggers and reach that many more kids in our community,” says McGee.
Moved by Skyler’s message and the concept for a new program, Arnett flew to Winnipeg. On November 29, he helped United Way volunteers, staff and agency partners announce Dream Seats.
Now, by visiting Dream Seats or calling United Way, Winnipeggers can donate Jets, Bombers or Goldeyes tickets and make even more hockey, football or baseball dreams come true.
Winnipeg Sun, Wednesday November 29, 2011. Reproduced with permission. By: Ross Romaniuk
A U.S. television star is helping dreams of watching the Winnipeg Jets take flight for disadvantaged children.
Will Arnett, an actor and comedian who has co-starred in American series 30 Rock, Up All Night and Arrested Development, joined the United Way of Winnipeg on Tuesday to unveil the organization’s Dream Seats program, through which tickets for the NHL team’s games —as well as for games of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and baseball’s Winnipeg Goldeyes—will be donated by purchasers for the use of kids and teens who would otherwise have difficulty attending, for various reasons.
Will Arnett high-fives Skylar Pearson at the Dream Seats press conference.
The Toronto-born and New York-based Arnett, whose parents are originally from Winnipeg and whose grandfather was the local United Way branch’s first campaign chairman in the mid-1960s, said his love for hockey spurred him this past summer to buy Jets season tickets and donate them to Winnipeg’s underprivileged youngsters.
“I’ve never lost that sense of awe and wonder when I go into a rink right before a game, with all the fans in there and the fresh sheet of ice,” said the 41-year-old celebrity, who had grown up as a fan of his hometown Maple Leafs. “And it occurred to me that there would be a whole generation of kids here who have never experienced that. So it makes me feel good, knowing that there will be kids who are now able to.”
After the actor contacted the United Way of Winnipeg about distributing his season ducats to kids in need, the charitable organization took his idea and launched it higher with DreamSeats.ca, which allows owners of any Jets, Bombers or Goldeyes tickets to donate them.
“If you’ve got season tickets or if you’ve just got a few tickets, and it’s the middle of the week and you realize you can’t attend the weekend game,” said United Way board member Robert McGee, “why not give them to the United Way, so we can give a youth a chance to experience that game?”
Skyler Pearson, a 12-year-old with spina bifida, showed Arnett his appreciation for tickets with which he attended the “so awesome” Jets home opener in October.
“The building erupted. The cheering was so loud,” Skyler had told Arnett in a letter, which he read aloud at the Dream Seats announcement. “Thank you for this opportunity of a lifetime chance of seeing the Winnipeg Jets.”
Arnett, the husband of U.S. TV and film star Amy Poehler, watched the Jets game Tuesday night in the Winnipeg Sun’s suite at MTS Centre.
Winnipeg Free Press, Tuesday November 29, 2011. Reproduced with permission. By: Brad Oswald. Photo: Ruth Bonneville.
For the United Way of Winnipeg, it’s a development that is anything but arrested.
Hollywood actor Will Arnett shakes hands with 12-year-old Skyler Pearson, Dream Seats recipient at United Way Tuesday. Arnett helped United Way launch a new program to help kids who might not otherwise get the chance to attend a Winnipeg Jets hockey game by donating his tickets.
Arnett, a cast member on the beloved and critically acclaimed Fox sitcom Arrested Development, who currently co-stars with Christina Applegate in the NBC comedy Up All Night, was born in Toronto, but both his parents were born and raised in Winnipeg. His maternal grandfather, William Palk, was the United Way of Winnipeg’s first campaign chair in 1965, and Arnett visited the city often during his childhood and maintains family ties in the community.
When Palk passed away in 2009, Arnett honoured his memory by contributing to the William Lawrence Palk Family Fund within the United Way’s’ endowment, the Tomorrow Fund. And when he heard Winnipeg was getting its NHL team back, Arnett – a lifelong hockey fan – had an idea, and placed a call to the local United Way office.
“I was in my apartment in New York, and I saw online that the team was coming back here,” Arnett explained, “and I thought, ‘That’s great – there’s a whole generation that has probably never had a chance to go to an NHL game who will now be able to go.’ … And as I thought about it a little longer, it occurred to me that there’s probably a huge percentage of the population who would still not have access. And I thought maybe I could reach out to someone and get my hands on some season tickets, I could donate them.”
The United Way took Arnett’s donation and expanded the idea to create Dream Seats and its website, DreamSeats.ca, which will allow local corporations and individuals to donate hockey, football and baseball tickets under one umbrella campaign.
“Hockey is not just our sport, it’s our national passion,” said Arnett. “To be able to go see those NHL players perform at the highest level is something is something all Canadians should experience, because it’s the best example of the thing we all love so much, and that kids play on ponds and rivers and outdoor rinks across the country.”