Jason Pottinger was selected by the Ottawa REDBLACKS in the third round of the 2013 CFL Expansion Draft after spending the previous five seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. During his stint with the Argos he spent some time down the QEW in Hamilton, Ontario (where he attended McMaster University and played for the Marauders earlier in his life) working closely with John Smith and Connecting Countries Adopt-a-School, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the education of children in Kenya and Canada through projects designed to improve the quality of education environments in Kenyan public schools.
This past season Pottinger and Connecting Countries teamed up with the Toronto Argonauts for the third annual Tackles 4 Toilets event at the Rogers Centre in October.
“It was awesome. There was a much larger support from the team this year,” said Pottinger. “Last year only a few guys jumped on board, but this year we had 29 guys from the team who donated at least one ticket to bring a kid to the game and support the cause so it was kind of like a full team effort from the Argos this year.
“There were a total of 154 total tickets sold which is a 62% increase from last year and 90 of those tickets were donated to the at-risk youth in Toronto through the Boys to Men club, which is a Toronto District School Board club for young kids who are at-risk and underprivileged. I went into the stands after the game to get pictures with them and just to see the smile on their faces was something else.
“We managed to raise $3,862 to build latrines in Kenya and upcoming this spring at Riverside Public School which is in desperate need of a new latrine stations because the ones they have now are falling apart. The school will be shut down by the Health and Safety Board without the new latrines.”
Pottinger’s time with the Argonauts may have come to an end, but it doesn’t mean that his partnership with Connecting Countries has to end as well. Perhaps the move to Ottawa will lead to bigger things for him both on and off the field. One thing’s for sure, he wants to continue making a difference and helping out the organization he has worked with since its inception.
“Obviously I want to continue my partnership with Connecting Countries and helping John Smith raise money for the cause, but in what form that help will be will be determined by what happens over the next few months,” explained the two-time Grey Cup champion.
Aside from getting the Argonauts to team up with Connecting Countries for Tackles 4 Toilets this past year, Pottinger spent a lot of time visiting local grade schools in Hamilton talking to the kids and teaching them about the cause and how to make a difference as the Connecting Countries ambassador. With the distance between Hamilton and Ottawa, it’ll be a little hard for him to make his regular visits to the schools where he has become a familiar face, but it shouldn’t take very long for him to become a familiar face at the schools in Ottawa.