Okanagan Boys & Girls Club, British Columbia- Vernon

Okanagan.jpgAlexis Park Elementary School approached the Okanagan Boys & Girls (OBGC) Vernon Club about the potential to run an after school program for students aged 10 – 12 who are often left unsupervised during the after school time period.  Children of this age range who are wandering about unsupervised are at risk of engaging in dangerous, unhealthy behaviours and require programs and activities that give them a place to belong with positive adult role models.

Most children at the school do not participate in active recreation outside of school due to lack of financial and transportation resources.  Many families in the school area live in subsidized housing, with 55% of the students supported with school based meal programs.

GoodLife Kids Foundation grant funds are being used to support a new partnership between OBGC Vernon Club and Alexis Park Elementary School, in the form of an after school recreation program for 20 children.  The program will operate out of the school gym giving children a safe place to go, grow and belong, while they embrace a life-long interest in participating in physical activity and healthy nutrition.

 

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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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