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Canadian Tire Jumpstart After School Program

Canadian Tire Smiths Falls Makes a Difference for Kids

May 14, 2014


Smiths Falls, ON - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County, in partnership with Canadian Tire Smiths Falls and Jump Start, is hosting an After School Program focusing on mentorship, healthy activity through sport and healthy eating and lifestyle choices.  The program is being piloted at St. Francis School with hopes to expand it in the fall.

The program offers children an opportunity to participate in a two hour session after school, with mentors and peers, at no cost.  Each session focuses on physical activity, (including swim time at The Hub!) a healthy snack and self-esteem and confidence building activities.  Mentors are paired with up to four mentees each to allow for small group interaction as well as large groups.  Often we have seen strong connections form between the mentors and the mentees, facilitating avenues for open communication and a safe place to hang out. 20 children are participating in the pilot.

After speaking with the children (mentees) in the program it is clear that they are gaining so much from their time at the program.  One child said “I feel accepted even though I didn’t know anyone here before.” Another comment was “I can have fun in an open area where people have my back.” 

The key to the success of any Big Brothers Big Sisters program is the volunteers. There are currently five volunteers assisting with this After School Program, and more will be required for the fall sessions.

Volunteers come from all walks of life, some are students wanting their volunteer hours, some are taking their lunch hour from work to spend time with a child, and some are sharing their retirement time as a way of giving back to the community they care about. Regardless of age or background, it can be a life changing experience seeing a child develop and flourish simply because someone cared.

Funding can also be a challenge for this small agency, which does not receive government funding. Combining funds from the United Way, special events, and their thrift store all help make the agencies programs grow. Individual and corporate donations are also welcome, and tax receipts can be provided. A Major Gift Campaign is underway, and recognition plans are available.

Financial support from Canadian Tire and JumpStart are making this After School program possible.

Jumpstart Day will be held at Canadian Tire Smiths Falls on May 31st from 10 to 2. There will be games, a BBQ, and a silent auction. All money raised will help support local programs and help kids in this community.  Funds raised on Jumpstart Day are matched by Canadian Tire Corporation.   

Research shows that mentoring can change a child’s life. School based mentoring programs have a staggering impact. “Participation in mentoring programs in school time decreased behavioral problems, improved social and communication skills, relationships with others (peers, parents, teachers), increased self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy, lower levels of depression and anxiety, development of initiative, improved feelings and attitudes toward self and school.” (Social/emotional Outcomes; Harvard Family Research Project, 2008)

To find out how you can get involved with mentoring programs in your community, please call Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County at 613-283-0570.

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