Creating a better future for youth

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Photo by Courtney Bell, Hidden Heroes: Faces of Quinte."I think No Limits organization has a hero attitude because we want to help families no matter their financial capabilities. No child should never have opportunities because of finances or because of their disabilities. I don’t think that the obstacles should be there to stop them," said Brenda Gabriel.

BELLEVILLE – Brenda Gabriel's children inspired her to create a fun and active place for children in Belleville to spend time.

The concept for the No Limits Youth Organization was developed 10 years ago after Gabriel had trouble finding activities for her kids at an affordable price.

One of her biggest inspirations for the organization was her son, who has special needs.

"He’s autistic and he missed out on a lot of activities and programs when he was younger. We couldn’t afford the activity plus a worker on top of that for him to attend and it was always difficult for him to be in a regular group setting," she said.

She explained why he has made such an impact on her life.

"My son is an inspiration to me because he keeps me level-headed and patient. He inspires me to never give up on youth no matter what their ability, and when it comes to potential there are no limits," she said.

Learning this lesson from her son is what helped build the concept for her organization.

"That's why we call it No Limits. Every child deserves opportunities because opportunities are stepping stones for a brighter future," she said.

She explained that the program has helped her son develop into the young man that he is today.

"Whether it’s just making friends or giving him the experiences he needs, there is nothing more that gives me greater joy than seeing all kids participate," she said.

The organization started out with hip-hop dance and has since expanded into other activities such as basketball, football, and even a running club.

Gabriel wants every kid to take away a learning experience from her program.

"I think the biggest thing for youth to walk away from this would be if they felt inspired. I like it when a child comes in and they feel they can’t do something, but then they walk away feeling proud that they did accomplish something. That is very meaningful to me and that's what keeps me going," she said.

Gabriel believes that it's important to give back to your community because you are not only helping yourself you are helping others.

"I think helping out in your community really just makes your community a better place to live," she said.

"The kids are already learning to pay it forward so I think that it's important to do that to keep our organization evolving, so it keeps the mandate going," she added.

The goal of the program is to involve the kids in activities that the Belleville community may not provide; Gabriel wants to give each kid the chance to shine.

"I really think that we are targeting areas in our community that it is lacking making our community a more balanced," she said.

"Not all kids play hockey, not all kids play soccer. Some kids are just interested in other sports. I think that kids can learn a lot from other experiences too," she explained.

Gabriel doesn't consider herself a hero; she just sees herself as someone who wants to help others.

"I’ve never though of myself as a hero. I'm just a person that believes in youth and believes in our community and just wants to make a difference," she said.

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