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Alea de Castro with her award. Photo: Awesome Ottawa.

Awesome Ottawa: February award to support basketball and plants project for kids struggling during pandemic

By Awesome Ottawa on February 25, 2021

February’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Alea de Castro to support a creative project for kids who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The project connects my love for plants, basketball, the arts, and community-building with underserved communities who need a creative outlet right now,” says Alea.

Alea de Castro with her award. Photo: Awesome Ottawa.

Since December, Alea has been running a business called The Pick and Grow, selling handmade planters made from real basketballs. Now, she wants to create a set of white ones that kids in Britannia Woods can paint with supplies she’ll provide, offering these kids a chance to take care of and grow a plant.

“This project may seem simple,” says Alea, “but the pandemic has taken a huge toll on everyone, particularly these kids and their families. Many kids are not using their creativity, are not moving as frequently, and are not being stimulated – especially by anything relatable. By connecting with basketball and providing art supplies,” she explains, “these kids will be given the opportunity to stay creative and practice responsibility during the pandemic.”

Grown-ups into basketball and plants can purchase Alea’s planters through her website.

Alea is a Registered Nurse, a multidisciplinary artist, and the founder of Moov Ottawa Dance.


Awesome Ottawa is part of a global movement of self-organizing chapters forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time. At each chapter, 10 or so “trustees” each contribute $100 every month, and review short applications received online to decide on the recipient of the pooled funds — usually a local project, but occasionally a particularly awesome one far away from home. Globally, over $5 million has already been awarded – $136,000 of that by Awesome Ottawa. For more information, visit http://www.awesomeottawa.ca.