The R.E.A.L Program, Newfoundland- St. John's

The R.E.A.L Program’s purpose is to provide recreation and leisure opportunities through the provision of program and financial assistance to as many children as possible who, due to financial circumstances, are unable to participate in registered activities.

R.E.A.L targets children and youth in low income areas, new Canadians and high risk youth to ensure these children have the opportunity to be involved with ongoing physical activity and learn about nutrition, while engaging with others in a positive social environment.

A grant from GoodLife Kids Foundation will make it possible for 30 children to participate in recreation through R.E.A.L’s partnership with over 70 recreation organizations.

This grant is made possible due to the tremendous fundraising efforts of St. John’s Atlantic Place GoodLife Fitness Club during the 2011 Be A Kid’s Superhero Campaign for GoodLife Kids Foundation.

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#FEELGOODFRIDAY "You can do it!" yells 10-year-old Arabella as she cheers on her peers who are tackling riding bikes for the first time. Arabella has cerebral palsy, which causes her to lose her balance easily, but give this girl a set of wheels and she can keep up with any kid her age. Several years ago, Arabella had the chance to try out a balance bike with larger wheels. With advice from an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist, her family ordered her a customized bicycle, and she hasn’t stopped since. Thanks to a GoodLife Kids Grant, families in Winnipeg can continue to try out specially adapted kids' bicycles at the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation. “Many children with physical disabilities end up sitting on the sidelines while their family and friends are being active. We find a bike that works for them and help them get active and join in on the fun,” said Christine Schollenberg, executive director. There are bicycles with all kinds of adaptations to suit various needs - like head support, trunk support and low riders for kids who need more stability. Once families find the right bike for their child, they can order one of their own with funding through the program. Arabella’s father Trevor says the adapted bicycle was the starting point for Arabella discover her love of cycling. She's since grown out of her balance bike and plans to donate it back to the centre so another little girl can enjoy it. “Now we ride together as a family and Arabella has a regular bike," says Trevor. "We learned that she doesn’t have to restrict what she does. Arabella can do almost anything a kid without disabilities can. That’s been a huge boost to her confidence and physical abilities and it’s brought our family together.”

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