Canada’s aftermarket steps up for kids: Making a difference

by | Sep 18, 2023 | 0 comments

The Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario annual golf tournament raised $10,000 for the AIA High Fives for Kids Foundation. Pictured (left to right): Tom Dunlop, Vice President Sales at Specialty Sales and Marketing and H54K board member, Diane Freeman, President of Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario AARO, Brad Thomas, CSP/ASE, District Sales Manager, GTA & Eastern Ontario, Mevotech (organizer), Andy Murphy, Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Product Development, Bestbuy Distributors (organizer), and Patty Kettles, Manager, Events and Programs, Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO).

With the aftermarket’s fall activity ramping up, it’s heartening for the AIA High Fives for Kids Foundation board members and supporters to have some wins to celebrate.

Firstly, a long-time strong supporter of the Foundation, the annual AARO Charity Golf Tournament hit it big with a take of some $10,000 for the AIA High Fives for Kids Foundation in early September.

And that was just the most recent of successful fundraisers. In August, Vast Auto Distribution’s golf tournament generated $5,000 for the Foundation, and the Monks Golf Tournament in Vancouver added more than $4,000.

The results from other fundraising efforts are still to be to be tallied and added to the previous sum of more than $14,000 already committed, but signs are that this puts the results for the 2023 H54K Chairman’s Challenge in good shape to surpass 2022 fundraising totals.

As important as those top line numbers are, however, the real results – the real “bottom line”– is what is done with the funds once they find a worthy cause.

In addition to some perennial recipients (see sidebar), there was a commitment made in 2022 to look for causes that provided assistance to youth coming from Ukraine as a result of the conflict there.

One of these selected organizations, Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services (NEEDS ) Inc. in Manitoba, recently provided a review of how a donation from the Foundation was put into action:

“Since April 2023, we have served 177 Ukrainian clients who attended our Introduction to Canada (INTRO) Program. This program runs four days a week, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The primary objective of the program is to assist newcomer children and youth make a smooth transition to the Canadian school system. 

“INTRO Program sessions address language barriers and provide a secure environment for clients to practice English before starting school. The sessions also help clients become familiar with Canadian school routines and feel confident to begin education in the Canadian school environment. On average, each client attends the program for five weeks.

The NEEDS Inc., INTRO Program sessions in Winnipeg address language barriers and provide a secure environment for clients to practice English before starting school.

“The INTRO Program includes healthy hot meals and snacks free of charge. Hot lunches are prepared in-house for participants, and can include rice or pasta, a main hot dish, and then fruit or vegetables. 

“Approximately 3,540 meals were served to the Ukrainian clients during the period of April-August 2023. The donation received from AIA Canada was primarily spent to purchase food supplies for the Hot Meals and Snack component of the INTRO Program. We are thankful for your support in serving our Ukrainian clients.”

The program notes that its activities are also supported by additional complementary funding from other sources.

A second recipient of funds from the Foundation was Sunflower Camp for Ukrainian children in the Ottawa region. Run by the Ottawa branch of Ukrainian Canadian Social Services, this year the camp hosted 35 campers, all children displaced from their homes in Ukraine by the war. The camp has 15 counsellors, a mix of adults and teenagers, and many of them have also fled the war in Ukraine, and understand well the needs of these displaced young people.

Sunflower Camp for Ukrainian children in the Ottawa region is one recipient of funds from the Foundation.

Many are in Canada without both parents—most fathers remain in Ukraine fighting the war, and most are living with host families.

Accordingly, councillors are careful not to over-schedule their programming at the camp, being sure to provide time to just be with other kids and make some friends.

Reports are that the young campers successfully started building connections and friends.

It is a valuable recognition for all that the Foundation fundraising and contributions make a difference in the lives of youth and children through many organizations and in many communities across Canada.

Visit to learn more and to donate.

Special thanks to event fundraisers, anonymously donating individuals, and organizations including:

  • Tenneco
  • Modern Sales Co-op
  • APD Automotive Parts Distributors
  • Specialty Sales and Marketing
  • KYB Americas
  • Grant Brothers Sales
  • Fountain Tire
  • Mevotech
  • Aurelis Consulting Sp.
  • Magnacharge Battery Corporation
  • CHAT Integrated Media Inc.
  • Piston Ring Service
  • Wakefield Canada
  • SMP Bluestreak
  • Robert Bosch Inc.
  • Vast Auto Golf Tournament
  • Monks Golf Tournament
  • AARO Golf Tournament

Organizations receiving donations from the AIA High Fives for Kids Foundation in the past year, include:

  • YWCA – Edmonton
  • The Children’s Breakfast Clubs (Ontario)
  • Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba
  • YWCA of Calgary
  • Kerr Street Community Services (Oakville, Ontario) and the
  • Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta.  
  • Newcomer Employment Education & Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc. in Winnipeg, Man. that provides a variety of youth-oriented services including recreational, and educational, and psychological services for youth.
  • Ottawa Ukrainian Canadian Social Services organization has Ukrainian response activities, and including offerings like summer camps and other support services focused on youth.
  • Through its educational scholarship program, the foundation contributed more than $15,000 to students attending Canadian post-secondary institutions. 


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