KidsAbility Centre for Child Development Foundation, Ontario- Waterloo

Waterloo Weber GoodLife Fitness staff and members showed their tremendous support for GoodLife Kids Foundation by being a Top Fundraiser in the 2011 Superhero Campaign. Their fundraising efforts are being recognized with a grant to KidsAbility Centre for Child Development Foundation to help children with special needs get active. 

Children with special needs encounter barriers to learning and mastering sport skills, resulting in frustration with physical activities, and fewer opportunities for participation.  In order to ensure this special population develops habits for regular physical activity, they need additional skills training. A GLKF grant will support the Active Start and FUNdamentals programs designed to teach children ages 4 -11 the fundamental movement and sport skills they will need to enjoy an active lifestyle, in a supportive, specialized environment.

The programs will run in the winter, spring and fall, giving the opportunity for physical activity to up to 60 children with special needs.

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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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