If there was a reality show dubbed Canada’s Next Top Role Model, Wallis Kendal would win it by a landslide.
His may not be a household name but Kendal is one of those unsung heroes out there who make our city tick.
For the past 10 years Kendal has been instrumental in helping youngsters at risk through outreach at the ihuman Youth Society, a non-profit organization that works with high-risk youth to promote their re-integration into the community through arts and life skills development programs.
Kendal says ihuman has managed to survive for so long because of its philosophy.
“We do not leave you,” he said.
“Even if you go to jail, you can come back. We’ll do all we can for you and if it takes time we will be patient.”
At the society, employees do not have dental or pension plans and nobody is paid much money, said Kendal, but everyone has a vested interest in seeing the kids succeed.
Now in his 60s, Kendal has a laid-back personality that endears him to the youth that walks into the doors of the society. He jokes with them and when they give him the finger, he gives it back.
Ihuman helps hundreds of at-risk kids, including from diverse backgrounds .
Not everyone succeeds, he says, but the ones who don’t are a “work in progress.”