Albert Community School
Since her parents are both teachers, Stacey Laing once thought a school setting would be the last place she would seek employment. However, her desire to help students through sport led her to join the Dream Brokers team five and a half years ago.
“I’ve always been a believer that sport is a major key in developing communities and providing major life skills for participants. This is what made the Dream Brokers job posting so attractive to me,” Laing said.
As a Dream Broker, Laing said her official responsibilities are to foster relationships between families and sport, culture and recreation organizations by supporting families facing financial barriers to participating. She helps book transportation for families, works with them to navigate various funding sources, provides programming opportunities through the school, and supports nutritional and equipment needs.
She added that like all Dream Brokers, she also has unofficial responsibilities diverse to the school participants she works with.
“I find families will come to me first when they have questions about many other systems they are working through: questions about social services, legal systems, health care, mental health care and many other avenues,” Laing said.
Laing has had many positive experiences during her time as a Dream Broker. Many of these revolve around finding the right sport activity for a child and seeing his or her whole outlook on life change.
“I’ve had kids call me in the morning and say, ‘Stacey? Are you coming to school today? Ok; then I will go to school too’,” Laing said.
Laing feels that sport is a key player in child development because it teaches them self-confidence, work ethic and teamwork. She also feels that sport puts kids into experiences that will give them skills to help them be successful at life.
“One of the boys I worked with went down to California for a football tournament and that was the first time he was on a plane, went to a National Football League game, and swam in the ocean,” Laing said. “Those experiences can be life changing for kids and I get so excited being able to be a small part of that.”
Although Laing has had a positive impact on many children through her time as a Dream Broker, the position has also helped her grow as a person. She said the greatest thing she’s learned comes from conversations with families and the students.
“They’ve taught me so much about their First Nation or the countries they’ve immigrated from. They’ve taught me not just facts about these places, but have also given me an understanding of how we can work together to make our community a better place,” Laing said. “They’ve taught me that you have to start small to make big difference. They’ve taught me the complexities of living in poverty and the many different daily battles they’re up against. But they’ve also taught me how resilient humans are.”