Run for Life, National

Run for Life (RFL) is a national non-profit that offers school and community based running programs throughout Canada. Run for Life’s mandate is to bring accessible running programs to diverse audiences. Running is an easy and accessible way to change the obesity statistics and get more children active at an early age in an activity that will hopefully sustain them throughout their lives.

RFL’s school based programs currently influence about 10,000 children at over 200 schools.  Lead by volunteer ‘coaches’ children participate in the RFL program for both non-competitive and competitive benefits.  A grant from GoodLife Kids Foundation will help 20 more schools introduce the program.  This means that approximately 1,000 more children and their volunteer leaders will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of daily physical activity and develop lifelong habits of staying active.

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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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