by Josée My husband is a middle school teacher who loves teaching gym and coaching various teams; he's seen first-hand the wonderful effects that participating in sports has on kids. Getting kids involved in sports definitely improves their physical fitness, but it also does much, much more. It raises their self-esteem, develops their leadership skills, teaches them to work as a team, instills discipline, and gives them a safe, positive outlet for all that energy. Needless to say, my husband insists that our children participate in a variety of sports programs. We first enrolled them in the City of Ottawa's Parent and Tot gymnastics program when they were six months old!
As physical education programs are slashed from school curriculum and our kids become increasingly addicted to computers and television, the prevalence of sports in their lives will only continues to diminish. More and more, we need to take active measures to make sure our children get the exercise that they need. My family is lucky that we can cover the costs of putting our kids in sports; not every family has the means, especially as registration fees and equipment costs keep increasing. I recently discovered that Ottawa has a wonderful non-profit organization, KidSport™ Ottawa, whose mission is to help disadvantaged children and youth overcome social and economic barriers preventing or limiting their participation in organized sport. They do this by providing grants for registration fees and/or equipment to eligible families. Their staffing and overhead expenses are funded through government grants, so every penny donated goes to help disadvantaged youth here in Ottawa.
KidSport™ Ottawa offers grants, SportShips and SportsCamp assistance programs. The deadline for grants for sports taking place between April 1st and August 31st is February 15th. If you know a child who faces social and/or economic barriers that keep him or her from participating in sports, KidSport™ Ottawa may be able to help.
KidSport™ Ottawa could use a little help, too. They have a great relationship with Play It Again Sports Ottawa- you can bring your used sports equipment to Play It Again Sports Ottawa and ask that the proceeds be directed to the KidSport™ Ottawa consigment account. You can visit their website and make a monetary donation; or you can volunteerat one of their many activities, like the 1st Annual Polar Bear Hockey Tournament and the KidSport™ Ottawa Skate-a-Thon that took place at Brewer Park on Saturday, February 12th.
I really love this organization's motto: KidSport™ Ottawa - So ALL kids can play! I think that says it all.
Joséeis mom to three-year old daughter B.G., and one-year old son Bonhomme. She is always searching for fun and frugal Ottawa events and activities, and puts her research to good use at her website, www.frugalfunottawa.ca.