Ex-NFL pro helps youth achieve athletic excellence

Friday, October 19, 2018 — The OCH Foundation will work with the Ottawa Sports Training Academy to ensure that youth of all backgrounds have the chance to excel in their favorite sports. Starting in 2019, the OCH Foundation will select low-income youth to receive the Christo Bilukidi Bursary for Athletic Excellence which will subsidize the costs associated with participating in competitive sports.

“We believe that all children and youth should be able to play the sports they love, at all levels of competition,” said Wayne French, Chair of the OCH Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Although there are currently options available to youth who want to play sports at a recreational level, those who want to play at a competitive level are left to themselves to pay thousands of dollars in registration fees and often struggle to do so. This bursary will help remove that barrier.”

The initiative gained momentum when Christo Bilukidi, an OCH Ambassador from whom the bursary gained its namesake, approached the Foundation and expressed his desire to motivate and to inspire youth to achieve their athletic dreams. An ex-OCH tenant who played in the National Football League for five seasons, Christo has learned what it takes to rise from a difficult living situation and to achieve success on his favorite sport’s biggest stage.

“I grew up in OCH’s Russell Heights community and didn’t necessarily have all the privileges that other kids my age had coming from higher income households,” said Christo. “Football helped me become the man I am today and helped me achieve many of my life’s goals. I hope that this bursary can help pave the way for other youth aspiring to play professional sports.”

The OCH Foundation will work with Christo and the Sports Training Academy to identify potential bursary recipients and will launch its application process in 2019. Visit ochfoundation.ca for more information.