A Superhero for Kids: volunteer Max Rousseau

June 2021

a smiling man in three photos 

When it comes to championing a fundraising cause like KidsAbility Superhero Challenge, Max Rousseau is a true superhero.

Max, a young man and neurodiverse, thrives on helping others. When the pandemic restricted his volunteer activity with KidsAbility’s outreach programs, Max and his family looked for other ways he could help – and found he could turn one of his daily routines into a fundraising activity.

Regular exercise helps Max manage his anxiety and reduce daily stresses in addition to staying fit. When COVID meant he could no longer meet with his trainer, he began tracking 20 minute intervals with his elliptical machine at home. Not only has it continued to keep him motivated, it gave his family the idea to build on his passion to help KidsAbility. Together, they created a Superhero Challenge fundraising page – affectionately named “Max Webster” after a nickname coined from one of his favourite bands – where friends could wish him well and cheer him on.

Accolades were quickly joined with a flood of donations and Max’s $1000 goal was surpassed instantly. Donations have come from the U.S and as far as England, surpassing his stretch goal of $2,000 with no signs of slowing.  

Max’s active involvement with KidsAbility began 4 years ago when he moved to Guelph with his parents. With assistance from the provincial government’s Passport Program, his parents sought to help Max become more involved within his community and live as independently as possible. But with work experiences hard to find they turned to volunteer opportunities for him.

His behavioural therapist suggested volunteering with KidsAbility’s Active Start Program in Guelph. The program seeks volunteers to help mentor young children with disabilities aged 3 to 7 to stay active. Through one-to-one and small groups, volunteers encourage participation by targeting skills like running, jumping, catching, throwing, and balance awareness. It was an instant fit for Max.  

Max found his greatest joy while helping one particular child who was refusing to participate. He whispered to her that he couldn’t catch well and asked for her help. A moment later he had the little girl on her feet, smiling and engaged in the activity, teaching him for the duration of the program.

A passion for helping KidsAbility means Max has volunteered with the former Guelph Superhero Run, keeping a careful watch over the pint-sized Batmen and Wonder Women enjoying the children’s bouncy castle. While he will miss that role, he is excited to know he’s raising awareness and funds for the greatest needs of his community through his Superhero Challenge.

While Max waits to once again volunteer in the community, he’s making lasting friendships with each dog in his condominium, treats in hand. When he’s not the neighbourhood dog whisperer, he’s busy with his vast collection of Turner Classic movies. He knows the details of every actor and actress of the era, facts and stats about the movie directors, the cinematography, the score and the number of Oscars (or losses) of each movie ever made before the 90s.  

One thing is certain about Max. While such a deep desire to support KidsAbility, he’s just the kind of superhero our kids and our community need right now.


 

KidsAbility Superhero Challenge is a fun, friendly and inclusive challenge that builds community spirit annually in June across all communities of Guelph, Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo and Fergus.

Everyone in our community – individuals, families, schools, businesses and regional leaders – is encouraged to participate in ways they choose and become Superheroes for KidsAbility! 100% of funds raised support life-changing therapy, innovative programs and the latest technology to help children and youth with their families achieve great things at home, at school and in the community.