The Votes are in…

Congratulations to Anne Adewumi – the Basketball Superstar! Anne is the recipient of the 2018 Fit Communications Inspiration Award. Anne will take home a $500 grant to be used towards the continued pursuit of sport excellence. For more on Anne and our five finalists, please see below.

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Anne Adewumi – Basketball Superstar

Anne is a junior high student at Acadia Junior High. Basketball is more than just a sport and passion for her. It’s a way of life. In the past two years, Anne has won the awards for Most Valuable Player and Athlete of the Year through track and field, volleyball and basketball. Her basketball career started just two short years ago with who she feels are “the best two coaches in the world” Darren and Jodi Sampson. Her coaches have brought so much knowledge to her life – both on and off the court. She has learned discipline, leadership and selflessness and has been encouraged to be the “best Anne” that she can be.

Anne quickly rose to the top. After her first year of play, she joined the Center of Performance and joined Team Manitoba’s U-15 team. This year she is playing two years higher on the Junior Bison team at the University of Manitoba. The court has become a second home for Anne, pushing her to greater limits, making her work hard and has taught her how to be a role model and leader to other girls.

Anne’s future is bright and her goals are set high for herself. She wants to play for a D1 college, Team Canada and eventually the WMBA. She wants to encourage young girls to get active and play a sport, and to know that playing sports doesn’t make you any less feminine. In fact, it makes you even more! She believes we should all be able to do whatever makes us happy and strong.

Anne’s intentions for the Inspiration Award grant funds are to use the money to help pay for her club fees for the Junior Bison Basketball program. She would also use the funds for two different training camps that are happening in 2019 that could really help her game. The North Pole hoops showcase and another one of her choice. She really wants to go into the North Pole hoops showcase because it’s a chance for Canadian female athletes to be discovered and that’s just a stepping stone to be taken. The other camp of her choice will allow her to learn new things and meet new girls who play basketball in Winnipeg.

Anne feels she deserves this award because she is devoted. “I dreamt one night, made a specific goal and that’s what I live off every time I step on the court. I want to be a role model to girls all over the world because every female should be able to know, feel and understand the empowerment and strength that comes with being healthy fit and athletic.”

Claire Signatovich – The Role Model

Claire is in Grade 12, plays on the varsity basketball team for Oak Park High School and trains with the Centre for Performance Program. At 17 years old, she is beyond her years in maturity. This superstar is not only a star basketball player – being on the Provincial Team for 4 years, winning multiple player of the year, MVP, and female athlete of the year awards, but she is also a top student. She has received Academic Excellence Awards and plans to pursue a biomedical engineering degree while playing university basketball either in the US or Canada. And the scouts have already come knocking!

In addition to being intelligent and athletic, Claire also “gets it”. She recognizes the positive impact her coaches have had on her not only as an athlete but also as a person. She realizes the importance of volunteering, giving back, and being a strong female role model.

Perhaps what impresses us the most is that Claire is applying for the Inspiration Award grant to be able to run a free introductory camp for girls in grades 5 – 7 who are interested in basketball. She not only wants to be a good role model to develop her leadership and coaching skills but also be able to give back to the sport in the province that has already given her so much.

Genevieve Michael – The Coach and Underdog

This woman is totally inspiring! At 49 years old, Genevieve is what it means to make a comeback and work hard for every step in her pursuit of health and fitness. She had to step away from her post-high school soccer career 4 years ago due to a knee injury that had doctors saying she would never run again. Well, as if looking for a challenge, she decided that she would join her son’s training program for rehab, and then maybe start to jog for cardio and then eventually run a race. Not only did she run one race…but she ended up running 15 in one season! Whoa!

Clearly after this, she would be ready for her next challenge. She joined United Boxing club and took classes like everyone else – started from the bottom and worked her way up. She went through vigorous training and became the only female boxer to earn a spot on the competitive team. She has now decided to take this passion, dedication and inspiration and apply it to the role of coach. She knows how important it is to empower females – especially being a female coach in a male dominated sport. She’s also very cognizant of being “body positive” and believes that it, along with a shift in language, is part of a coach’s responsibility to her athletes.

As a part of her role as a coach at United Boxing Club, she is one of the key committed volunteers that runs their “Rock Steady Boxing program”. This program is absolutely amazing – it is a non-contact boxing inspired exercise program for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease and their case partners. It includes a wholehearted commitment to the idea that exercise is medicine, and they use this to seek improvement to physical well-being and push back the advancement of Parkinson’s disease. It is a group of volunteers that “build love of our sport, fostering respect for one another, while creating stronger mobility and dexterity for our Parkinson’s athletes to help them fight back against their disease.” The group of coaches purchase items out of their own pockets for the program. If granted this award, Genevieve will use the funds to purchase equipment for the group and would be able to open more spots for individuals waiting to join the program.

Genevieve loves being a fitness motivator, has an attitude of gratitude and strives to better herself every day in order to live a better life and be the best version of herself.

Richelle Ready – The Soul Nurturer

Richelle is a social worker and the founder and creator of Bloom Yoga. Richelle discovered the physical practice of yoga when she was competing for the University of Manitoba’s Track & Field and Cross-Country Running program. She used yoga as a tool to heal several of her own physical injuries. As she explored the practice further, she learned that it could also be used to heal emotional, psychological and spiritual injuries.

Richelle believes that humans are resilient and capable of healing. She believes that everyone deserves access to tools that create well-being and that we all deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion. It’s from these beliefs that she created Bloom Yoga. Bloom Yoga is a community-oriented company focusing on providing accessible yoga, in the form of movement, breath work and meditation, from a trauma-informed and healing centered perspective. This includes providing access to yoga for peoples residing in residential treatment facilities, women residing in emergency housing arrangements due to experiences of violence, children and youth who are currently residing within the child welfare system and peoples who are providing care to disenfranchised populations, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She also offers classes on a sliding scale and scholarships so that she can increase the accessibility of yoga to a broader community.

Bloom Yoga provides all necessary materials for a class as most of her participants cannot afford these items on their own. If she receives this award she will use the funds to purchase props that are used within a class to promote physical accessibility including bolsters, straps and blocks. In addition to this, any funds left over will be used to offer additional subsidized classes to a broader community.

Richelle is making a difference. She is succeeding in her own quest to be positive and a good role model. She believes in bettering the lives of people that need it the most – and at their most troubled times. She’s not doing this for the paycheck or the glamour. She does this because of her kind soul and belief in the power of yoga to change peoples’ lives.

The Water Sport Twins… Tamara Chaput and Oksana Chaput – The Athletes Pursuing Excellence

The sisters, twins in fact, have more than similar genetics – their fierce commitment to their chosen sports is an admirable trait they both share. Tamara is an artistic swimmer (or as most of us know it – a synchronized swimmer) training with Winnipeg Synchro over 20 hours per week. Oksana is a speed swimmer who trains with Manta Swim Club. Both sisters have won awards such as Athlete/Swimmer of the Year in their respective sports. Tamara is currently on the Manitoba Provincial Team set to compete in the Canada Winter Games in February 2019. She must be hot on her sister Oksana’s trail having just won 4 medals at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg in 2017.

Their training schedules see their teacher-parents driving across the city before and after school to support their dreams. A part of supporting their dreams is the high training and travel costs that see the family having to fit the bill for a minimum 6 trips each year for out of town competitions.

What is even more impressive than their desire to help support their parents support them, is two-fold: First, is that at only 14, they recognize that they are positive female athlete role models (yay!!). Second, is their relentless desire to pursue excellence and make no apology for going after what they want. Tamara wants to make National Team and Oksana has her sights set on making the 2020 Olympic team. As Oksana states “I am an inspiration to younger swimmers – especially girls. I am strong, fast and I work hard to achieve my goals.”