Giving kids the chance to participate in sport, culture and recreation builds stronger communities, increases the sense of belonging, provides a safe place for mentorship and coaching, creates strong peer and community connections, aids with community involvement, improves skill and mastery in various activities, and much more. Studies have shown that students who engage in these opportunities feel better physically and mentally, and come to the classroom better capable of learning.
Accessibility and Inclusion
Give Kids a Chance Charity is vital in creating opportunities to bridge the gap between Saskatchewan children facing poverty and their peers. This charity includes programs that work to relieve poverty by helping children overcome barriers to participating in sport, culture and recreational opportunities. Those barriers can be the cost of registration fees, access to equipment and facilities, nutrition during the program, and/or transportation challenges to and from activities.
In some rural areas, for example, students have difficulty participating in afterschool programs when there is no late busing support available (either late afternoon or evening). Part of the Give Kids a Chance Charity programming works to help those families who need extra driving/transportation assistance for their children.
Stronger, Connected Communities
Whether as an individual who is performing, a family member watching from the bleachers, a neighbour walking by the soccer field, a coach on the sidelines, a volunteer coordinating team jerseys, or an advocate who helps to raise money for an activity…Give Kids a Chance Charity programming creates environments and networks that provide important opportunities for connection and belonging. By funding these programs, you are helping to build stronger communities, and encouraging active lifestyles in a safe and inclusive environment.
Sport, it has been reported, “fosters trust, reciprocity, and a sense of security and belonging among community members.”1 It can connect people of different cultural and economic backgrounds, and create inclusive communities that play together, learn together and grow together.
Leadership for the Future
Give Kids a Chance Charity programs provide children with the experience of positive role models – including instructors, leaders, coaches, peers, volunteers, athletes, artists, guides and more – that help teach leadership and life skills and improve self-esteem and interpersonal skills. As children witness, learn and adopt leadership skills, they are then more apt to reflect those qualities towards others in their various interactions at school, home, rink, playground, etc. In fact, studies have shown that introducing children to positive leadership at a young age increases their potential for future community involvement.
Investing in leadership development programs and initiatives will ultimately improve a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan residents, as more and more leaders grow up to lead our communities and future programs.
Social and Cultural Development
The Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth recently published a report detailing the need for “meaningful and diverse activities for youth” as one of the six “calls to action” that Northern Saskatchewan children and youth “saw as important to providing a sense of wellness and to fulfilling their right to reach their full potential.”6 They believe that “healing and recreation activities” positively affect their self-esteem development, goal setting, confidence and Indigenous pride, “especially for some youth, where life at home may be difficult or unsafe.”7 Youth also said that participation in activities was a positive distraction and “an effective coping strategy to deal with issues that may be weighing on their minds”—like suicide.8 Spending time with other youth in activities provides a space where they can connect with friends and build positive peer relationships that contribute to a sense of belonging and self-esteem.
Organized sport and physical activities are often used in many countries to address social issues, such as youth crime and substance abuse.9 These activities provide opportunities for youth to develop cooperation, communication, and other healthy life skills in a safe and healthy recreational setting10 -- often distracting and diverting youth away from negative environments and/or behaviours and towards positive social development.11
Overall Health and Wellness
In Saskatchewan, where 1 of 4 children live in poverty, Give Kids a Chance Charity provides opportunities to try and change that number and positively impact our children’s mental, physical and social health. These programs provide children and youth with the tools, resources, and knowledge to increase positive behaviour, improve health, advance academic success, increase their employability as adults and improve their overall wellbeing.
When children do not participate and experience sport, cultural or recreational activities at a young age, they are less likely to ever participate when they grow older. Without knowing how to participate, they are then less likely to feel confident enough to try and learn these skills later in life. Particularly, for girls, if they do not participate in sports by the age of 10, there is only a 10% chance that she will be physically active as an adult—consequently affecting the health of girls and women.12
Sport has been reported to benefit people and communities by “improved physical, psychological and social well-being, increased civic pride, engagement and cohesion and increased economic development and prosperity.”13 In Canada, sport is ranked the 2nd most positive influence in the lives of youth, after family.14 And here in Saskatchewan, 95% of those surveyed agree that being physically active benefits their mental health.15