Hurts, Student Finds
Patrick Nickel of
Delta, B.C., receives 2007–08 Spirit of
Sometimes, serving others hurts. Just ask
Patrick Nickel—he knows.
Nickel, a second year student at Canadian
Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, injured
his ankle trying some new tricks while
skateboarding. But it was all for a good cause;
Nickel was hurt at The Edge, a Youth For Christ
skateboard park where he volunteers five hours
each week with inner city youth.
“Some of the kids I work with are phenomenal
on skateboards,” says Nickel, who was hobbling
around the university on crutches during the
last month of school. “I, on the other hand, am
For his service at The Edge, Nickel, of
Delta, B.C., is CMU’s 2007–08 recipient of the
Mennonite Foundation of Canada Spirit of
Generosity Award, which is given annually by the
Foundation to students at Mennonite schools in
Canada who have demonstrated a spirit of
generosity in their personal lives.
Each Spirit of Generosity award winner
receives $450 from the Foundation, $225 of which
is given to a charity of the recipient’s choice.
While at The Edge, Nickel does more than
skateboard—he also seeks to develop friendships
with the kids and take interest in their lives.
“It’s about relationships as much as it is about
skating boarding,” he says, adding that The Edge
seeks to provide youth with a safe space to hang
out, develop friendships and be mentored.
Many of the youth also lack good role models
in their lives, says Nickel, a member of Delta’s
Cedar Park Mennonite Brethren Church. “They
aren’t bad kids. They just have had some bad
modeling when it comes to discipline, school,
alcohol and drugs.”
Nickel, who is studying youth ministry at
CMU, says his time at The Edge has shown him why
“some kids struggle so much and get in trouble
with the law. It’s not because they don’t care,
it’s often that they aren’t taught any better.”
“Patrick is committed to shaping future
generations of young adults through a Christian
model,” says Marilyn Peters Kliewer, Dean of
Students at CMU. “Through laughter,
encouragement, and a lot of love he is breaking
down the barriers that prohibit youth from
redefining their own future, as well as the
future of the city of Winnipeg.”
Next year Nickel will do his practicum
assignment—a requirement for all students who
graduate from CMU—full-time at The Edge, helping
to develop a new discipleship and mentoring
program for youth. “My goal is to build
friendships and be a good role model,” he says.
Mennonite Foundation of Canada is an
organization that encourages stewardship
education and service from an Mennonite
perspective. Its head office is in Winnipeg.
Posted April 29, 2008.
For more information contact CMU Communications Director, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 2N2, telephone: 204-487-3300 ext. 630, fax: 204-889-1694, (www.cmu.ca)