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'I want to give people joy': 11-year-old delivers hundreds of handmade cards to seniors

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Oak Bay, B.C. -

If you ask Atlas Parker about one of the best things to do, he'll tell you bouncing on a trampoline, and say it feels "joyful."

But if you ask the 11-year-old about one of the worst ways to be, he’ll tell you being “a little bit alone,” and show you what he’s done about it: “I want to give people some joy.”

Which brings us to a couple winters ago, when Atlas and his dad Neil Parker were walking by a nearby retirement residence.

“(Atlas) wondered aloud, ‘Does everyone get Christmas cards?’” Neil recalls.

Neil answered “No.” Atlas felt bad. But then the boy wondered if he could make some cards, and his dad replied “sure.”

“(Atlas) thought about it for a second,” Neil remembers. “And then said, ‘Yeah. I’d like to do that.’”

So his parents got a list of the residents at Carlton House and Atlas spent much of the month hand-making cards for all 60 of them.

“It was pretty amazing,” Atlas smiles.

Because not only did a bunch of people write appreciative cards back, one resident even gifted Atlas an original painting.

“I can’t believe someone painted that for me,” Atlas says, pointing at the bright canvas that's still displayed above the fireplace.

The positive correspondence inspired Atlas to craft 60 more Christmas cards the next year, before writing 60 valentines this year.

“I want to give people a little bit of Valentine’s Day vibes,” Atlas smiles.

While Cupid may aim his arrows from afar, Atlas delivered his cards in person.

“To think a little boy would do this is so very special,” one resident beams, accepting Atlas’ card.

“Oh, isn’t that nice,” another woman smiles. “I love it.”

Now, Atlas is planning to expand his campaign of caring by making cards for seniors at other centres.

“Isn’t it lovely to be cared for in the moment,” a resident says after reading Atlas’ card. “Instead of the indifference we so often encounter.”

“I just want to give people some happiness,” Atlas says.

While the boy says bouncing on a trampoline is one of the best feelings, Atlas has learned that making others feel seen and loved is proving to be even better.  

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