- BC Games
Program helps kids get Jump start
The benefits to kids in sports are endless, but the more obvious ones are better health, well-being and social networks.
"Organized sport can help children grow, giving them a sense of achievement while building teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, decision-making, and communications skills," states Stats Canada's website. "Sports also enables children to channel their energy, competitiveness and aggression in socially beneficial ways."
Unfortunately, not all folks can afford to enroll their children in programs.
Recent Vision Critical 2011 statistics summed one in three Canadian families cannot afford to place their children in activities.
Thankfully there's a national program helping get kids into the sports scene.
Canadian Tire Jumpstart and its network of 332 local chapters is dedicated to removing barriers so children can participate.
Each chapter, including the Cowichan's, is volunteer-based and includes representatives from Canadian Tire stores, Canadian Tire dealers and petroleum agents, a variety of non-profit organizations and charities, and community leaders.
Collectively, they work with over 2,500 organizations across Canada (including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association and YMCA-YWCA) to discreetly identify financially disadvantaged children that might benefit from the program.
In Cowichan, Denise Williams is the leading lady in charge of applications.
"We get our funds from donations from community, the Canadian Tire and Sport Chek stores," said Williams. "We get a base amount from the corporate side, but the rest is dependent and based on local donations.
"Ever since Sport Chek came on board, we've seen donations increase, which is really exciting. That means we can help more kids with more money."
Applications for assistance can be submitted from Jan. 15 to June 1 for spring/summer programs, and from July 1 to Nov. 1 for fall/winter programs.
The program is based on family income (which varies depending on how many members are in the family).
Sports programs up for grabs must take place over five weeks, and have included everything from hockey and ballet to Scouts and fencing, Williams said.
Anyone families interested in applying can contact Williams at 250-746-0417 or email email@example.com to see if they qualify.