Win 4 Kids Finalist- Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba

IRCOM_PHOTO.jpgStaying active through the winter months is hard enough for most Canadians. Newcomer kids from refugee and immigrant backgrounds face even more barriers to participating in winter sports then the rest of us. Hockey is the quintessential Canadian sport and not only does it provide the kids a way to stay active but it helps with their overall settlement and transition to Canadian culture.

The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) created the New Lease on Ice program which takes place in an inner-city neighbourhood with high numbers of Aboriginal and newcomer populations. This area of the city is also associated with a higher proportion of families and individuals living under the poverty line. Through the New Lease on Ice program approximately 60 children aged 6 – 14 will learn to skate and or improve their skating skills.

The program runs twice a week for a total of four hours per week. They have time to warm up and skate around and then are divided based on skill level. Some will be working on their skating while those with more developed skills will start practicing basic hockey drills. There will also be plenty of fun activities with an emphasis on participation and not competition. The goal is to have the children ready to be able to play an organized hockey scrimmage at the end of each session.

Funds from Win 4 Kids will be used to ensure there are skates and helmets for each participating child. As well, children will be transported to the rented ice space, and trained coaches will be available to provide lessons for the children and also technical support to the staff and volunteers.


Please vote for us because this is what we hear every day when we don’t have the hockey program:

Delina, participant age 11 asks “How come we don’t go play hockey this year?”  IRCOM Staff Member answers  “Don’t worry we are going tobogganing next week.” Delina, participant age 11 responds “Bogganing isn’t as fun as hockey. Hockey day is the best day ever! “ 


Twitter: #IRCOMsNewLeaseonIce




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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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