Woodstock Collegiate Institute - Ontario, Woodstock

GoodLife Kids Foundation is supporting Woodstock Collegiate Institute’s Developmental Physical Education program. The Developmental Education Program at Woodstock Collegiate Institute is designed to provide opportunities for students with developmental challenges to improve their life, living, job and communication skills to the degree that they are able to reach their potential in the areas of independence, productivity, and contributions as members of their community. Physical and mental wellness are major components of the program, with 75 minutes dedicated to daily physical activity. Funding from GoodLife Kids Foundation will allow for enhanced physical activity offerings including implementation of the DrumFIT program as well as support for specialized activities such as yoga, bowling and badminton. Incorporating opportunities outside the school will help students to build a level of confidence and comfort in participating in activities within the broader community throughout their lives. This range of activities will help students with special needs to develop a variety of skills and maintain interest in a physically active lifestyle.

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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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