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Program creator wants students to commit to changes.

CALGARY

Scott Brass has certainly changed his life.

The turning point came in 2004. At the time Brass was a single dad with custody of his five-year-old daughter.

Brass though wasn't making some wise lifestyle choices. Besides being a heavy drinker and smoker, Brass was also doing his share of drugs.

"I knew I had to change," said Brass, adding he had even contemplated suicide. "I knew what I was doing was wrong."

Even some of Brass' friends told him it was impossible to change his ways. But he has done just that and these days he is promoting his I'm Possible program, a venture which features a clever play of words for those who doubted him.

Brass, 42, is a Plains Saulteaux who grew up near the Key First Nation in Saskatchewan. He now lives in Calgary.

He has teamed up with some others, including former Olympic speedskater Michelle Giangualano (nee Morton) to deliver the I'm Possible program.

"I think we'll be able to create a buzz with what we're doing," Brass said.

And what Brass and his I'm Possible partners are doing is introducing a fitness and nutrition program to Aboriginal schools.

For starters, the Morley Community School, located west of Calgary, will be introducing the program to its students. Some sessions are expected to be held in the spring. However it is anticipated the program will be kicked off this September.

Brass, who is now a running addict, will be responsible for

starting the running/walking program for the school's students, who are in Grades 7-12.

Later this year Brass wants to start visiting the Morley students three times per week after school to boost their fitness by taking part in a running/walking program. Eventually he wants Morley to have its own running team.

"It will evolve from there," Brass said. "I just want to see what they are capable of doing."

Since changing his lifestyle, Brass has completed 30 full marathons (42.2 kilometres) and has participated in the Ironman Canada triathlon race four times.

Ironman Canada is a gruelling event which starts with a 3.8-km swim, followed by a bike ride of 180 km and finishing with a full marathon run.

Giangualano, who represented Canada at both the 1994 and '98 Winter Olympics, is now a holistic nutritionist. In 2009 she founded a company called Bundles of Energy.

Her role with I'm Possible will consist of meeting with participants to stress the importance of proper eating.

Brass is hoping to expand the program to other schools - and one day take it nationally. He has a meeting scheduled for early February to determine whether he can start the program in six Treaty 7 schools in Alberta.

"My long-term goal is to get this across Canada," said Brass, adding after an initial set-up it would be easy for teachers or other program supporters to keep it running.

Giangualano is confident the program will be successful.

"We need to start off with a few schools," she said. "But I can see it expanding very quickly."

BY SAM LASKARIS

Sweetgrass Writer

COPYRIGHT 2012 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Laskaris, Sam
Publication:Alberta Sweetgrass
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Feb 1, 2012
Words:514
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