When it comes to championing a fundraising cause for KidsAbility, Max Rousseau is a true superhero.
Max is neurodivergent. He approaches life with unconditional love for every dog he meets, a detailed and focused passion for Turner Classic Movies, and thrives on helping others. He is a past volunteer favourite with the former Guelph Superhero Run keeping a careful watch over the pint-sized Batmen and Wonder Women who enjoyed the bouncy castle. When the pandemic restricted his volunteer activity with KidsAbility’s outreach programs, Max and his family looked for ways to turn one of his daily routines into a fundraising activity.
Regular exercise helps Max manage his anxiety and reduce daily stresses while staying fit. When pandemic restrictions due to COVID-19 meant he could no longer meet with his personal trainer, he began tracking 20-minute intervals with his elliptical machine at home. It kept him motivated and channelled his passion into a personal goal to continue helping KidsAbility virtually. Together with his parents, Max created a Superhero Challenge fundraising page for friends to wish him well and cheer him on.
Accolades were quickly joined with a flood of donations coming from the U.S. and as far as England. Max quickly surpassed his $1,000 goal. At the time of this writing, his stretch goal of $2,000 shows no signs of slowing.
Max’s involvement with KidsAbility began four years ago when he moved to Guelph with his parents. With assistance from the provincial Passport Program, his parents sought to help Max become more involved in his community and live independently. When work experiences became harder to find, they turned to volunteer opportunities.
Volunteering with KidsAbility’s Active Start Program in Guelph was a suggestion by his behavioural therapist. It was an instant fit for Max. The program seeks volunteers to help mentor young children with disabilities aged three to seven to stay active. Through one-on-one and small groups, volunteers encourage participation by targeting skills like running, jumping, catching, throwing, and balance awareness.
One meaningful volunteer moment for Max came while helping a young girl who refused to participate. He whispered that he did not catch a ball well and asked for her help. A moment later, he had the child on her feet, smiling and engaged for the duration of the program.
While he misses engaging with the kids, he is excited to know he is raising awareness and funds for the greatest needs of his community. And, with such a deep desire to support KidsAbility, Max is just the kind of superhero that kids need right now.