Walking My Talk - Naim Cardinal

Posted: Feb 25, 2014

Who I am:
Tansi! Hello, my name is Naim Cardinal. I currently live in Edmonton, AB but I am originally from Fort Vermilion, AB and a member of the Tallcree First Nation located in the Treaty 8 territory of Alberta. My home community is a small and isolated place located approximately 800km north of Edmonton. Additionally, I come from a big family, with three brothers and two sisters, and was brought up in a very tight financial situation; but, was given a lot of love and support from my family. In my spare time I enjoy playing basketball competitively, being physically active, participating in other sports, reading, pursuing my studies, and spending time with my family and friends.

I am currently working as the First Nations Metis & Inuit (FNMI) Liaison at Centre High Campus in Edmonton, AB which is one of the largest high schools in western Canada that has an FNMI population of over 300 students. I love my job and enjoy working with students on a daily basis as I feel very humbled to have found an occupation that is fulfilling and allows me to give back to the community. In addition to working at Centre High Campus, I am also pursuing an after-degree in Education at the University of Alberta and I am very close to completing my program. I also hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology which I completed in 2006 and had the privilege of being on the Concordia Thunder basketball team for one season during the final year of my studies. When I finish my after-degree, I hope to continue working in an educational environment to educate and be a positive role model for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth.

My Personal Vision:
My vision is that I see our communities healthy and walking away from the health issues that are prevalent amongst our people – diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. – are all diseases that I feel are avoidable and we can overcome. Moving in a new direction means being more physically active, changing habits, and following a healthier diet. I enjoy helping our community move toward these goals and feel it is a privilege and is also very humbling to give back to the community every day. I plan on continuing to do this through my community work, promoting an active lifestyle, coaching basketball, and by walking my talk.

Why Wellness is Important:
I am a strong believer in physical, social, and emotional wellness for myself and especially youth. Physical fitness allows us to improve our self-esteem, find a sense of identity, and live a long and healthy life. I have always pursued personal fitness and believe it has given me opportunities to feel better about myself, make new friends, give back to the community, and has provided myself with a good self-esteem. Seeing yourself make progress and become healthier can help you feel good about yourself, provides you with motivation to keep going, and gives you the ability to see yourself overcome anything in life.

Why G.Y.M?
Growing Young Movers (G.Y.M) is an awesome program that promotes healthy living and maintaining a balanced lifestyle for our youth. G.Y.M provides youth with a place to go to participate in positive activities, stay healthy, and provides role models for youth to look up to as they become healthy people too. I feel that G.Y.M is needed in the community as many of our youth are becoming less active and are not leading healthy lifestyles. Getting out to play, participate, and progress towards healthy living is an essential part of becoming a stronger community.  G.Y.M will ensure that our future generations see the importance of how being physically active has a major contribution to our youth holding a positive self-esteem and living long healthy lives. 

Program funding for the Growing Young Movers After School Club is provided by: