Young Leaders: 8-Year-Olds’ Generosity Leads to Major Impact

When 8 year old twins Zara and Priya decided to donate their birthday money to help others, the community Early Supported Discharge Stroke and Brain Injury Rehabilitation team was thrilled to hear that they were selected to be supported by the two philanthropists!

Jason Knox, Manager of the Tertiary Neuro Rehabilitation Program, was extremely impressed with the show of generosity from the twins and was able to express his gratitude to the girls and their mother, Seema, when they came to meet the team.

“I thank you and your twins profusely for this thoughtful gesture. On the one hand it is so adorable and sweet that these children are so kind, and at the same time it is such a show of maturity and selflessness even beyond their years,” said Knox. “You [Seema] have done a fabulous job raising your children, and I can see how your example has modelled exemplary citizenship and awareness in their young hearts and minds.”

Calgary Health Foundation and the Early Supported Discharge (ESD) in-home rehab team knew it was important for the twins to understand how their generosity was changing lives as part of supporting their young attitudes towards charity and philanthropic leadership. The girls visited Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre to learn more about how their contribution is impacting the community and helping people dealing with the impact of aphasia. From here, the ESD team visits clients in Calgary from all acute and tertiary rehabilitation sites.

Aphasia is the loss of one’s ability to understand or express speech. It is caused by stroke, illness or trauma and can impair all aspects of communication. There are different types of aphasia, all impacting an individual’s ability to communicate and comprehend speech to varying degrees.

“Some people compare aphasia to being in another country where everyone speaks a different language,” Speech-Language Pathologist Carolyn Knoechel explained to the girls.

The Heinrichs twins armed the team with new apps to help people suffering with aphasia work with speech-language pathology services from the comfort of their own homes. The two apps are helping with reading and comprehension, as well as writing. Both apps are customizable to the reading and comprehension level of the user.

The generosity shown from these two young donors is an inspiration to any budding philanthropist. Every one of us gives for a different reason, but at the heart of it, Zara sums it up perfectly: “I just wanted to help people!”

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