River Heights School, Saskatchewan- Saskatoon

Physical Education Teacher Kailey Smith focuses on developing a safe and fun atmosphere for students to increase their physical activity levels at River Heights School. With support from GoodLife Kids Foundation, a program will be offered to promote school wide physical activity outside of regular physical education.

The grant from GoodLife Kids Foundation will allow 190 students in grades K – 8 to experience enriched physical activity programming during the 2013/2014 school year.  Students will develop better physical skills, as well as social, emotional and personal skills. It will also provide students with a greater variety of instruction, both in learning new skills and learning from different instructors beyond what is required by the curricular. Unique activities include outdoor skating, yoga, aerobics, fencing, kickboxing and dance.

The goal of the program is creating engaging and enjoyable activities that promote life long active living, and developing skillful movement in a variety of activities. The program will complement the already existing extra-curricular and intramural programs focused on providing students with additional physical activity opportunities. 

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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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