Linked arm in arm, students from Lasalle Secondary School marched across New Sudbury Saturday, to support health and wellness at Finlandia Village through the fourth annual Sling Choker SISU Family Walk.
The group was joined by Logan Stutz, head coach of the Sudbury Five and his family, and welcomed to Finlandia Village by Deputy Mayor Al Sizer for the third consecutive year.
Over the past four years, the annual event has raised more than $100,000 towards fitness initiatives at the retirement community said Brian Koivu, president of the Finlandia SISU Foundation. This has helped introduce and maintain a state-of-the-art fitness centre, fitness coordinators, as well as an accessible trail system wrapping around the left-hand side of the property.
Koivu said with these projects well supported, the aim of this year's event was to install outdoor fitness equipment along the property's one-kilometre trail. In addition to encouraging physical fitness, Koivu said these trails will help to develop closer relationships between residents, many of whom join the community on their own.
"(Finlandia Village) is not only a place for people to live and be cared for and be provided for," said Koivu, "but to have a life as well."
"Activity and socialization is a big part of that."
While too soon to give a final tally as to how much was raised this year, Koivu said the goal was set at $20,000 and he expects to surpass that amount. This confidence he said, is due to the outstanding level of participation in this year's event.
"In this day in age, it's kind of easy to say, well, it's not like it was in the good ole' days," said Koivu.
"But in my experience with Lasalle (Secondary School) in particular, (I have found) students and young people are as engaged about making their community a better place as ever before."
This was the first year that Lasalle Secondary School hosted a Spirit Day leading up to their annual walk said Maureen McNamara, principal of Lasalle Secondary School. She said when coupled with an increase in awareness and support for the initiative by the greater school community, this helped increase attendance significantly.
Lasalle Secondary School's commitment to health and wellness at Finlandia Village is very much aligned with the school stands for, said McNamara, which is supporting the physical and mental well-being of individuals.
This fundraiser is part of an ongoing partnership with Finlandia Village she said, which tells a "beautiful story" of youth learning, embracing, and working with elders.
"It's about education, it's about great citizenship and it's about giving back to the community to which you live in," said McNamara.
This event not only supports the residents of Finlandia Village but contributes to Sudbury being an age-friendly community said Deputy Mayor Al Sizer. These efforts are most often championed by Greater Sudbury's Senior Advisory Panel he said, which effective, rely on community support.
"As the population in Greater Sudbury grows older, it's important to recognize (senior's) contribution and assist in whatever way we can."
Find more information on Finlandia Village here.