In the early hours of September 19, 2023, the Edmonton International Airport came alive with wonder and adventure as over a hundred children from Alberta and the Northwest Territories, most of whom had never set foot on an aeroplane, embarked on an extraordinary journey.
This momentous event marked the 30th anniversary of Dreams Take Flight Edmonton in collaboration with Air Canada. Beyond the celebrations, here is the story of how this initiative has impacted the lives of children, shedding light on their levels of resilience, hope, and the transformation of dreams into reality.
Rekindling Childhood Dreams Since 1989
For an impressive thirty years, Dreams Take Flight and Air Canada have been steadfast allies in brightening the lives of Canadian children who confront physical, mental, emotional, or social challenges. Guided by dedicated Air Canada employee volunteers and supported by the Air Canada Foundation, these trips are catalysts for creating cherished memories.
The first Dreams Take Flight station was founded in Toronto in 1989, and ever since then, each year, the organisation has selected 1,700 kids to take part in the trip of a lifetime to a theme park in Florida or California. So far, over 40,000 special children have benefited from it in three decades.
There have been so many stories that have fueled the partners involved to continue with the initiative, and one such story is that of Naomi, a participant in the 2011 Dreams flight from Edmonton. Despite her ongoing battle with cancer, Naomi embraced the opportunity with unwavering enthusiasm.
Her mother fondly recalls how Naomi revelled in every moment, from dawn till dusk, during the trip. The lasting impact of the journey was evident when the family received a photo book a few months later, a cherished memento of their daughter’s joy. Naomi’s story, like many others, stands as a testament to the transformative power of Dreams Take Flight.
Kyle Chrystian, President of Dreams Take Flight Edmonton, expressed his pride in the organisation’s work.
After 30 years, stories like Naomi’s only reinforce our belief that, one child at a time, we are making a difference. This knowledge fuels our dedicated team of volunteers and keeps them devoted to this wonderful endeavour. I am extremely proud of the difference we make in the lives of children from Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
This is the first Dreams Take Flight departing Edmonton Since 2019
After a challenging hiatus brought on by the global pandemic, this is the first Dreams Take Flight to leave Edmonton. The excitement was palpable as these young adventurers boarded the plane bound for a magical theme park in California. For many, this was a dream come true, an escape from the daily difficulties.
This journey signified the return of Dreams Take Flight to Edmonton and reaffirmed their commitment to making dreams a reality.
Of course, it is not an isolated event but part of a larger mission. Dreams Take Flight plans eight trips across Canada in 2023, each designed to bring joy and unforgettable experiences to children facing adversity.
Four more flights are scheduled this year, departing from Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa. Earlier this year, Dreams flights from Winnipeg, Toronto, and Halifax already touched the lives of countless children.
It’s Been Three Decades of Impactful Partnership
Dreams Take flight, in partnership with Air Canada, has become a beacon of hope for children facing adversity. They have transformed dreams into reality for three decades, showing that every child’s dreams matter.
As these children soar to new heights, they carry with them the magic of Dreams Take Flight and the unwavering support of Air Canada, embodying the spirit of resilience, hope, and dreams. In a world filled with challenges, initiatives like Dreams Take Flight remind us of the power of unity and compassion.
Together, they have made 42,000 dreams take flight, and they show no signs of stopping. Their journey continues, a testament to the enduring power of dreams and the unwavering dedication of those who make them come true.
What do you think of this initiative? Have your kids benefited from it, or do you know someone whose kids have? Please share with us in the comments.