YNOT Shares!

At YNOTFORTOTS, we strive to provide all children with the means to play, learn, and grow. We hope to provide them with the tools they need to dream big and be whatever they want to be; this is just our way of showing them that they can.

We will be asking notable and successful figures in our community a single question: what childhood item influenced your life the most? Below are their stories.

YNOT Shares! Mr. Zeke Blumenkrans:
Claim to fame: CEO and Co-founder of Generocksity.

Childhood item of choice: Pink cast.

“After snapping my femur when I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare bone disorder. Following two emergency surgeries, the doctor asked me to pick a colour for the cast. I have always tried to see the fun and joy in most situations, so the decision to go with fluorescent pink (at the time) seemed ridiculous, hilarious and right. While the next five years would be filled with countless lengthy hospitalizations and complicated surgeries, my family and I always derived joy from seeing that goofy cast in my room. Now I keep this cast as a reminder that while there will often be obstacles beyond our control, we can always play a role in deciding how we will react to them. It also reminds me to always try to see the humour and beauty in everything and everyone I interact with, even smelly old casts.”
YNOT Shares! Ms. Tessa Bendyshe-Walton:
Claim to fame: BSc in Biochemistry, current MSc Experimental Medicine Student, and board member of Fertile Future

Childhood item of choice: Yellow bike.

“The first thing that comes to mind is a yellow bicycle that I received for Christmas one year. I grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe, and this bike allowed me the freedom to explore as a kid and learn about the town I grew up in and the different people around me. I would often ride through the local villages and see children playing with homemade soccer balls that they had crafted from rocks that they had wrapped in tape. Seeing this from such a young age made me appreciate how lucky I was to have things like the yellow bike or an actual soccer ball, and motivated me to always be actively involved in trying to help others in my community who were not awarded the same opportunities that I was fortunate to have.The first thing that comes to mind is a yellow bicycle that I received for Christmas one year. I grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe, and this bike allowed me the freedom to explore as a kid and learn about the town I grew up in and the different people around me. I would often ride through the local villages and see children playing with homemade soccer balls that they had crafted from rocks that they had wrapped in tape. Seeing this from such a young age made me appreciate how lucky I was to have things like the yellow bike or an actual soccer ball, and motivated me to always be actively involved in trying to help others in my community who were not awarded the same opportunities that I was fortunate to have.”

YNOT Shares! Ms. Jamie Shorter:
Claim to fame: Completed Bachelor of Arts in Criminology & Certificate in Legal Studies, Current Law Student.

Childhood item of choice: Piano.

“I have been passionate about music for as long as I know. I began taking piano lessons when I was 7 years old and soon after I went to the piano store downtown to pick out a new piano for our family home. Playing the piano has taught me the importance of dedication, focus and creativity. All skills that I am bringing with me into my first year of law school.”

YNOT Shares! Ms. Diane Nguyen:
Claim to fame: UBC Science Undergraduate Society President.

Childhood item of choice: Ballerina wooden figurine.

“My interest in art sparked when I watched Art Attack on TV for the first time. From there, my curiosity grew in terms of seeking understanding of the relationship between shading, colour, poise and the depicting the 3D world on paper. When I received a wooden figurine as a gift years ago, I did not realize the role it would play in shaping who I am. It helped me bring my imagination to life and explore my passions through a hands-on approach to learning. Even today I am still always searching for models to practice drawing and ways to stay inspired and I believe it all began with this wooden figurine.”

YNOT Shares! Mr. Kenrick Whitney:
Claim to fame: Ex-CFL offensive lineman, RCMP officer, and owner of Whitney’s 12Round Transformation.

Childhood item of choice: Team jersey.

“I would have to say that my influence would be based on being part of a team. The first time I had my last name on a uniform was in junior high. When your name is on a jersey, that’s when it sinks in. Growing up I was always involved in some sort of team, whether it was basketball or football. My influences during that time would be the great coaches I had growing up that instilled the importance of teamwork, from high school to the professional level. After retiring from football, I always maintained that the positive influences in your life would determine your future.”