Karina LeBlanc visited Dominica as a Unicef Ambassador in 2015. She lived there until she moved to Maple Ridge at the age of eight.

LeBlanc Foundation for Maple Ridge athletes

Help for girls with big dreams.

Karina LeBlanc wants to give back to her hometown.

“Maple Ridge is a community that really helped shape me, not only into the athlete I became, but also the woman who I am,” said the soccer player who guarded Team Canada’s net for 18 years.

She has started the Karina LeBlanc Foundation, which aims to help girls from all socio-economic backgrounds to achieve their dreams, and to produce future leaders.

“I had this crazy dream of being an Olympian,” she recalls, and her mother made LeBlanc approach local businesses to ask for sponsorship.

“You would not believe it now, but I used to be the shyest kid,” she said, but Marv Jones made her ordeal easy.

The Honda dealership owner asked simply, “How much?”

And before she left, he had cut her a cheque for $500.

“For me, that was a huge deal,” she said.

Now LeBlanc wants to help out hometown girls who are “courageous enough to dream big.”

On her website karinaleblanc.com there is a link to her foundation.

It explains how her foundation aspires to continue the good work of Marv Jones, in collaboration with generous donors. Monies received will be put into bursaries and grants that allow girls to attend summer camps and enhance their skills.

The foundation will also create mentorship programs.

“I’m all about living purposefully every single day,” said LeBlanc, adding everyone needs to ask themselves whey they are here.

“What is the ‘why?’ in your life? Once you know that, then everyday decisions get easier.”

She remembers national teach coach John Herdman saying, essentially, “If you think your purpose in life is to kick a soccer ball for Canada, then I’ve failed you.”

From her beginnings in Maple Ridge, LeBlanc went on to play professional soccer. She played for Canada in two Olympic Games, winning bronze at London 2012, at five FIFA Women’s World Cups and two Pan American Games. She won gold at the 2011 Pan Am Games, stopping two penalty shots in the final. In total, she played 110 games for Canada, making her the country’s longest-serving keeper, and retired in 2015.

LeBlanc has not been at a loss for things to do since. She has gone on to join FIFA’s Female Leadership Development Program, is a Unicef ambassador, and is a motivational speaker, broadcaster and on-air host. In 2016, she logged 150,000 air miles.

One of her newest initiatives is called 48 hours of purposeful living, where she challenges people to be the very best version of themself for 48 hours.

“I want to give hope to people who don’t have it,” she said.

“I still dream big. I want to change the world, in my own way, one person at a time.”


Just Posted

Letter: Time change has outlived its usefulness

More negative effects on people and communities then positive ones

Rotary duck race winners given sports car

First big win for Maple Ridge mother of three boys Jody Makela

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Burrards lose to Shamrocks in double overtime

WLA championship series moves to Maple Ridge Sunday

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Most Read