Mark is heavily involved with two major charities that sit very close to his heart. Ice Factor & Blue September.
The Ice Factor program was established in 2005 to assist schools in their efforts to keep ‘at risk’ students at school, as most show a high probability of leaving prematurely. Ice Factor provides these students with a focus through which they can develop vocational and life skills in a team.
These ‘Life Skills’ are developed around the formation of an ice hockey team and are discussed in a concise university-tutorial style class at the beginning of each training session. These skills are then reinforced and applied to the on ice training session, and then recapped in a short wrap-up session at the end of training. Life Skills classes include student orientated discussions about leadership, team work, respect, humility, and ambition.
By introducing the students to a new situation (ice hockey) they have something unique to add to their skill set, and are also on equal ground with one another with this new skill. This situation allows them to foster the development of the skills taught in the Life Skills sessions, and allows them the opportunity to encourage each other through the complexities of learning to skate, pass, shoot, and other ice hockey skills.
While there is considerable emphasis on teaching the skills of ice hockey, the students are also given tasks to help in the development of literacy and numeracy skills. Tasks such as team management, keeping statistics, producing a newsletter, fundraising, and developing promotional material are designed to teach the students vocational skills, while also adding to the sustainability of the program.
At the conclusion of each term the Ice Factor and Ice ArenA host a tournament for our participating schools, called the Challenge Cup. The schools are divided into two divisions based on their skill level. Our major fundraising event, the bi-annual Ice Factor Spectacular is a modeling show that brings together schools and local business to support the Ice Factor. During both events the skills taught during the on ice training and Life Skills lessons are applied in a practical effort to show how these attributes can be used to the benefit the students in any life situation.
Mark Holden has been a long time Ice Factor supporter and ambassador. Mark has spoken to the Ice Factor students in the Life Skills sessions as well as hosting some of the Ice Factor spectacular fashion shows.
Blue September is a campaign created to get the message out about cancer in men. It aims to raise awareness among all Americans about this devastating male cancer and urges men to take preventative action by improving lifestyle choices and getting a regular check with their GP.
Mark has a been a dedicated supporter of Blue September for years and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.