When Mike McDonald came to the University of Saskatchewan (USask) to pursue his Bachelor of Kinesiology, he had no idea his work would one day influence more than 200,000 children across Canada.
Founder and CEO of the charitable organization Saskatchewan Blue Cross Recess Guardians, McDonald has
McDonald and his staff of seven have visited more than 500 schools across Canada to empower youth to lead through play. He said his goal is to “create a bold and imaginative world where everyone has someone who believes in them.”
The concept for the organization was born out of McDonald’s experience working in an inner-city school in his gap year between high school and university. He saw a troubling trend in Saskatchewan, where recess periods were being
“I thought that we have to change this for recess to be fun again,” he said.
When McDonald began his studies at USask, he originally wanted to be a
With the help of his classmates, he approached community
The program has grown steadily since it was launched 11 years ago, and now thousands of schools across Canada have requested support.
McDonald, who graduated in 2010, will be on campus as the keynote speaker for One Day for Students activities on March 6—the university’s annual day of giving to promote philanthropy. Faculty, staff, alumni
“I feel it’s important to give back to the University of Saskatchewan for all that they have done for me and my family,” said McDonald, who added that he is getting involved to show his appreciation for the place where Saskatchewan Blue Cross Recess Guardians started.
An advocate for volunteerism, he noted that he hopes to convey to students the importance of giving time and energy in support of important causes.
“It also shows students that it is important not to forget where you came from, who influenced you, and how certain institutions and people have really made a difference in who you are,” he said.
Once again, the university asks its community to support the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust with a gift of any amount. The fund helps students facing crises continue to meet their educational goals and supports students with flights for funerals, funds for alternative living arrangements after a fire or family breakup, personal medical emergencies, and loss of employment.
The fund was created by Professor Emeritus Dr. Kay Nasser (
To donate to the cause, or find out more, please visit give.usask.ca/oneday. Students struggling with a crisis can contact Student Central at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust.