Win 4 Kids Finalist: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ajax-Pickering

$8,000 Winner

BBBS Ajax-Pickering.JPG

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ajax-Pickering’s Power Play – Mentoring Through Sport program addresses the growing need for accessible, inclusive physical activity opportunities. Targeting at-risk children and youth, ages 6-16, in Durham Region, the program will be delivered during the school year as eight-week sport programs and one-day sport events.

During the eight-week program, participants meet once a week for 60-90 minutes. The duration of the sessions depends on the participant’s age and the type of activity offered. Regardless of the program duration, participants are active for 95 per cent of each session.

Each session includes a warm up, active co-operative games, fundamental movement and sport skills drills and a cool down. The final component is a wrap up discussion to summarize the days learning. The sport programs include basketball, floorball, lacrosse, soccer and volleyball. In addition, the free one-day events give participants and their families an opportunity to try a sport they normally would not be exposed to such as bowling, fencing, golfing and gymnastics.

Participants are encouraged, supported and coached to develop their fundamental movement and sport specific skills. Themes such as physical literacy, fairness, teamwork and leadership are emphasized in all Power Play activities, programs and events. Participants will also learn about good decision making and developing healthy relationships that will empower them in sport and active living throughout their whole lifespan.

The funds from Win 4 Kids will be used to offset the equipment, transportation and program-coaching costs.

 

The Big Brother Big Sisters Power Play program has made a huge impact on our family. My now 10-year-old son has completed 3 seasons of Power Play and loves it so much. Without Power Play my son would not have been able to participate in four different sports, including floorball, soccer, basketball, and now heading into lacrosse. My son has fine and gross motor skill delays but all of that is pushed aside when he is in Power Play. The encouragement from the Mentors and the acceptance from the other kids melts my heart.

Not only does this amazing program help children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in sport, get children exercising in a fun way, but the program also has other events where kids explore outside activities and are able to have learning and life experiences - all together in a loving and accepting environment. I cannot say enough about this program. It means so much to families such as mine. Thank you Power Play and Big Brothers Big Sisters!

Karrie, parent of child participant

 

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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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