It takes passionate people to build a community

It takes passionate people to build a community

Craig Sled

You've heard the expression "It takes a village to raise a child?" Would you believe it takes only nine guys to noticeably improve the quality of life in a city?!

If you're skeptical, just talk to Craig Sled, Director – Sales (Business) at SaskTel in Saskatoon. Like so many of the employees at SaskTel, Craig is dedicated member of his community, and it shows by the way he personally volunteers his time to help with causes that make Saskatoon an even better place to live for everyone who calls the city home.

Together, he along with eight of his friends – all working at different companies throughout Saskatoon – are part of a group called Synergy 8 Community Builders. Listening to their story, it's plain that Synergy 8 have more than just "two-upped" the Magnificent Seven.

Synergy 8's mission statement commits the group to collaborating with other local community groups and organizations to provide leadership in community engagement and innovative strategies for building community development. The group has eight "foundational beliefs" – hence their name. They include: fundraising, youth building, community leadership, community engagement, community partnerships, community philanthropy, community building, and community of the future.

During the nine years that the group has been active, Synergy 8 has grown from being simply a group of friends into community leaders who have helped to make Saskatoon a better place. "I've only been active in the group for the last six years," says Craig. "During that first year, we helped raise money for pediatric ambulances."

Their other efforts over the years include helping to support projects such as a pediatric ultrasound unit for Royal University Hospital, a new primary care health bus for Saskatoon, renovating the crisis nursery home and backyard, supporting the Ronald McDonald House renovation, purchasing incubators and ventilators for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), supporting child and youth programs at the Saskatoon YMCA, and most recently the redevelopment of the chemotherapy section at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre.

Over those years, Synergy 8 has raised more than $3.58 million in support of the community. They accomplished this by partnering with community foundations, non-profit organizations, health care organizations, children and youth service organizations.They have also assisted with and led fundraising and community awareness efforts when needed.

With a track record like that, you'd think that Synergy 8 would receive a little recognition.And they did! At an annual dinner ceremony last November, the Saskatoon B'nai Brith Lodge acknowledged their contribution to the community by awarding them the 2017 "We're Proud of You Award." B'nai Brith, a Jewish philanthropic organization, presents this award each year to individuals who serve the community through volunteerism and dedication to making Saskatoon a better place.This event attracts about 1,000 businessmen each year.

"It's an unbelievably fulfilling feeling to have raised that kind of money that's going to help the community… and especially kids," says Craig. "To be a part of this has demanded really hard work from all of us. But it has been so rewarding in return – we've bonded like brothers because of this."

It may take a village to raise a child. But nine special guys have helped to make that village a better place.

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