It seems as though my involvement with Mamawi Atosketan was simply inevitable.
When I was one-year old and my brother a little older, the court awarded us in a custody battle to my paternal grandmother. Nan was Mohawk, born on the Tyendenaga Reserve, living in Toronto and married to my Poppa, an Ojibway Indian. She sacrificed a full pension to stay home and mother us. Together, they taught me about love, family and sacrifice, but mostly about love. She chose us.
I spent my teenage years going to school and flying back and forth to the Arctic to work in construction. My father saw that I was lost and told me he would send me to any university in the world if I would go. Beach Boys were cool back then so I chose California, and he chose Pacific Union College, an Adventist university.
The Canadian dollar was at an all-time low. My dad had to move into a tiny little rental to keep up on my tuition. Knowing his sacrifice so that I could be the first in my clan to attend a school of higher learning, I worked hard and graduated near the top of my class. I was so impressed with the Adventist School System that when my son was of age, I sent him to a Canadian Adventist university. He is at this moment flying across Canada, interviewing for a residency in emergency medicine.
My life has taught me a few rules that I have written in stone:
- Love the children—all children—even when doing so requires sacrifice.
- We give everything we can to our kids, but sometimes it’s not all good; sometimes they need additional help. For me and my son, the Adventist School system was that help.
- From those to whom much is given, much is expected.
I have extremely high expectations for the children of MANS. I believe in them. I know them. I know what happens when we choose children, sacrifice for, and educate them. I know who they will become. They will lead the next generation and teach them their own life lessons. Gratitude will guide their lives.
Honorary Campaign Chair Larry Wilkins, Owner & CEO
External Affairs Medical Spas,
St. Albert & Edmonton