St. Charles Garnier School - Ontario, North York

GoodLife Kids Foundation is supporting St. Charles Garnier’s Basketball Program. This is an elementary school that houses 420 students in grades one – eight, in North York ON. Many of the youth that attend the school were getting into fights, were defiant and demonstrated anger and a lack of respect towards their teachers. Some were even involved with gangs outside of school. Basketball is used as a key vehicle to keep kids out of trouble and set them on a lifelong track to success. The Basketball Program thus far has been successful in minimizing the number of behavioural issues and promoted attendance, increased engagement in the classrooms and improved the physical fitness of students. The funding will provide a proper basketball court that is both fun and safe, encouraging students to continue down their current path of success.

This grant was made possible through fundraising efforts of the GoodLife Fitness North York Willowdale club.

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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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