It was great to present the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Ward 22 resident Christo Bilukidi with Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Jean Cloutier.

The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

Christo Bilukidi was born in Angola and lived in France and Brazil before his family settled in Ottawa. He attended and played football for Georgia State University on a scholarship, and later played in the National Football League for the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. When Christo left the NFL last August, after four seasons in the League, he wanted to come back home to Ottawa, where he knew he could find happiness.

A few months ago, Bilukidi became an ambassador for Ottawa Community Housing and is excited about the role. Getting involved in the community is important to him. In his work with Community Housing, he is having an impact on youth. He now runs a summer camp for OCH youth with the help of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. He also has a love for fashion, which has not only translated into a business, with his men’s clothing line, Idlewood Bespoke, but a great way to give back to the community, by participating in OCH Arts Camps where he has the chance to discuss fashion and entrepreneurship with kids of all ages.

He shares with the youth that coming from a low-income area shouldn’t discourage them from succeeding in life. Bilukidi’s conversations with kids go much deeper than just football; he is there to talk about anything that may be on their minds. For these reasons, Christo is glad to be back in the place he calls home.

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