When he’s not breaking up passes or returning interceptions for touchdowns, you can find defensive back Elie Bouka lending his time to the community.
Most recently, Bouka attended Westmount Charter School Elementary to speak to Grade 2 students about developing a growth mindset. The day included talking to the children about his story and running them through some activities.
For Bouka, it’s important to start developing these skills at a young age.
“I think the most important thing is having awareness,” said Bouka. “I think sometimes people go through things not totally aware of what they are going through and how they are feeling about it.
“(I want them to learn that) it’s normal to feel stressed and nervous. You just need to know how to handle it and understand why those feelings are there and how to use that to your advantage.
“It’s a lot about perspective and you need to be aware in order to do that.”
The fourth-year safety runs a strength-and-conditioning company called Bouka Performance and Wellness. The goal is to train young athletes between the ages of 10-23 with a focus in athletic development as well as in football, hockey and lacrosse.
His passion for the community stems from a young age; it’s always been part of his life.
“It definitely comes from my family, my parents,” he said. “We’ve always been involved in the community and specifically the African community in Montreal.
“It also comes from my church background. (I’m) from the LDS (Latter Day Saints) community and it’s always been huge for me (to be involved). I think growing up it just became one of the reasons why I play this game. I want to be able to have an impact in the community and I feel like I have a responsibility to (maintain that).
“Community service is one of my big motivators to continue to play the game.”