Larkhall Academy, Newfoundland- St. John's

Larkhall Academy is a K-6 elementary school in inner-city St. John’s Newfoundland. One of Larkhall’s healthy-school goals is to commence a volleyball program for students.  A number of years ago the school had to discontinue volleyball due to the low level of safety and disrepair of the volleyball posts. Because of the Fundraising efforts of GoodLife Fitness St. John’s Atlantic Place students of all abilities will now be able to participate in volleyball.

Volleyball encourages co-ordination, strength & movement, and it is a social and team-building experience for all players.  Since players rotate through all positions, they have more understanding and empathy for co-players.  Because both genders excel equally in this sport, it is a sport that boys and girls can play together.  In short, it is a skill-building, team-building, inclusive game.

With a grant from GoodLife Kids Foundation, approximately 190 children at Larkhall Academy have the opportunity to learn a new sport, experience the benefits of team work, and increase their physical activity levels through the new volleyball program.

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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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