Hugh Cairns V.C. School, Saskatchewan- Saskatoon

The Active Healthy Kids Canada annual report card has provided Saskatchewan students with a failing grade for their overall physical wellness.  Teacher Daryl Lesyshyn’s goal is to make sure students at Hugh Cairns V.C. School aren’t part of the problem, but instead helping to be part of the solution. 

With assistance from GoodLife Kids Foundation, 160 students in grades K – 5, and students with special needs, will have an opportunity to experience a greater variety of instruction in their physical education program. Offering students the opportunity to learn new skills and learn from different instructors will provide students with an enriched experience beyond what is required by the curricular. This grant will also allow the creation and introduction of Home Activity Kits, for any of the 242 students to take home and use with their families. Kits will include energy exercises, skipping ropes, balls, pedometers and a journal for students and family members to track their use of the Home Activity Kit.

Both of these initiatives will allow the students to develop not only better physical skills but social, emotional and personal skills as well. The program will instill an attitude that physical wellness is a lifelong journey to be enjoyed. By showing at school that being active can be fun, entertaining and creative, the students can take what they have learned in class to their families and share with them how to be physically active for life.

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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