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Matt Hill earns Meritorious Service Medal with Run for One Planet
Matt Hill at Public Charter School, Washington DC
Matt Hill, changing the miles 13
Currently, recording the animated series “Dinotrux” (Dreamworks/Netflix), “Kate & Mim Mim” (DHX Media) and “Supernoobs” (DHX Media), MATT HILL is seven years out from a grand project of his very own which allowed him to use his lifetime of storytelling through animated characters to share messages and passions that are very dear to him personally.
In the spring of 2008, Matt took the first steps across Canada and around the perimeter of America on a tour called Run for One Planet, inspired by his childhood hero, Terry Fox. He and tour partner, Stephanie Tait, ran out of Vancouver with a mission to inspire a continent to take actions to improve the health of our children and the planet – to educate and empower people with the revelation that if each of them were to make one small change in favour of protecting our earth, the overall impact on improving conditions would be monumental.
Early on in their marathon-(each) a-day tour, it became apparent to Matt and Steph that while they were ‘strangers’ in the schools they visited, the many animated characters Matt had voiced for 20 years were not. These characters lived in the imaginations of the children – and teachers – as very dear friends whose opinions mattered. These were voices that would be heard. The idea was not new: Children are the future. If they can be inspired to live healthy, eat healthy, respect the land… they will set a strong example and create positive change on each step of their own journeys.
Having broken down their 30th pair of runners, completing the final steps of the tour, Matt and Steph built something up, by creating the “Run for One Planet Legacy for Kids” with the Vancouver Foundation, supporting kids’ “green dreams” in schools across Canada on a yearly basis. The legacy has supported student-inspired and -led green dreams since 2011, with projects such as organic gardens in schools, local fruit orchards and solar projects. This year (2016), $1,200 was granted to Windermere Bike Society. It is exciting to see what next year will bring!
This kind of passion and commitment should be recognized – and it has been!
May 8 (officially declared by Mayor Gregor Robertson as “Run for One Planet Day” in the City of Vancouver) marked the 7th anniversary of Matt and Steph’s completion of the Run for One Planet tour, by each running a marathon a day (11,000 miles; 22 million steps). They have spoken to over 50,000 kids to date in more than 250 school and community presentations. On May 10, 2016 Darcy DeMarsico (Director of Honours, Orders) wrote individual letters to Matt Hill and Stephanie Tait on behalf of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, informing them they had been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for setting an example for others and bringing benefit to our country, and for the lasting impact the tour will have on Canada’s children.
We wish Matt and Steph “Congratulations” for this incredible honour! May their efforts continue to influence and bring benefit for years to come. Matt continues to speak to youth leaders and other organizations on the lessons and stories from the tour and on his deeply held belief in the power of a dream to change the world, when he is not voicing cartoons!