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12-year-old raises $15K for John Tavares Foundation by helping community

A 12-year-old has raised $15,000 for the John Tavares Foundation by doing odd jobs in his community.

Christopher French worked from July until late August or early September, and instead of being paid for his efforts, he asked that the money be donated to the foundation.

“I always loved helping people in my community and like shoveling the driveway and salting the driveway for people and they insisted on giving me money, but I didn’t need it,” he told CTV News in an interview. “I thought I could give it to somebody that really needs the money.”

And it wasn’t hard for him to pick which charity he wanted the donations to go to.

French says he has been playing hockey for years and when he turned seven, he had the option of picking number 91 – John Tavares’ jersey number.

“I did because that’s the year that John Tavares got traded to the Maple Leafs, and it really makes sense because first of all, he’s my favourite hockey player, and second of all, the goals are the foundation for helping kids in the community, or even in Canada, that need the money more than we do,” French said.

French did all kinds of jobs like washing windows, raking leaves, planting trees with Trees Canada and working at food banks sorting carrots, to which he joked he didn’t want to see another carrot again.

“As a parent, I like that he’s already thinking about others,” said Jason French, Christopher’s dad, “this is bigger than him. And, you know, from a work ethic standpoint, it’s good that he just wants to get up on a Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and go, you know, wash windows or, you know, sort carrots at the food bank.”

The foundation has also noticed his tenacity and work ethic.

“It’s been truly inspiring to watch his journey thus far, his tenacity and really wanting to make a difference and give back is incredibly special,” said Brent Butler, chief operating officer of the John Tavares Foundation. “Chris takes pride in helping others, and that’s been evident throughout my conversations with him and even getting to talk to his parents, you know, who share and instill the same values in Chris.”

The John Tavares Foundation helps vulnerable youth, and money goes a long way, like the amount French has raised.

“We have four pillars that we focus on: […] human connectivity, healthy eating, healthy activity and mindfulness,” said Butler. “As an example, we activated three months ago on a basketball court, our multipurpose court with Pascal Siakam, the Toronto Raptors player. And we went in, we renovated this court to bring it back to life.”

French even got to meet his idol.

“He’s like, ‘Buddy, you come on, keep going, and you will one day be like me in the NHL,'” said French.

French hopes to continue the initiative next summer. “I just like that feeling of helping people. And then I’m hoping that it puts a smile on their face,” he said.

His goal is to raise $25,000. 

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