When it comes to celebrating diversity in the community, local business owner Jimmy Hassan is no stranger to drawing attention to how important all Kingstonians are to making this city thrive.
Having emigrated from Pakistan in 2003, Hassan has since not only set up a popular Pizza Pizza location on Bath Road, but he has also spearheaded a number of community groups and initiatives aimed at celebrating diversity in the Limestone City. In fact, Hassan was recently award the Community Builder Award from the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area for his efforts in this area.
So when Hassan read about the achievements of a number of local athletes who competed in the Youth Invitational Games hosted by the Special Olympics this May, he felt the need to help some of those athletes celebrate.
“As a local business owner and a proud Kingstonian, I support everything we achieve locally. I feel as if it is also the responsibility of everyone else to support our achievements. One such example is everything that our Special Olympics team from LCVI has accomplished, with the teachers, coaches and students deserving our praise for all their hard work,” Hassan said.
The team from LCVI brought home gold medals in both field hockey and basketball from the Special Olympics’ Youth Invitational Games. And for Hassan, it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the young athletes from the high school just a few blocks away from his restaurant.
“As part of my on-going efforts to help give back to and move forward our community, I wanted to recognize, appreciate and thank the students for their efforts in competition,” he said.
To do so, Hassan welcomed the whole team to his Pizza Pizza location for a celebratory lunch, which came complete with smiles and laughter as they all reminisced about their accomplishments at the Games.
“I also wanted to recognize the teachers for their ongoing support for the team and its activities, as well as the coaches for their dedication that helped strengthen the team as a whole and the effort they put into teach the students, as well,” Hassan expressed.
“It is because of these efforts that these students with special needs can not only prove their capabilities, but also grow and strengthen their independence to help them live a better and happier future with the same opportunity and rights as any other Canadian.”