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After School Program

The new Canadian Tire JumpStart Program at Stewart School has been an outstanding success! Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and volunteers have based the program on Go Girls and Game On curriculum and the children are enjoying the program.

The artcile below is taken from the Perth Courier (EMC).

EMC News - Kids are having fun... and getting some exercise, and that's what it's all about.

A pilot project at The Stewart School in Perth is bringing together a group that is committed to healthy lifestyles while giving children a place to hang out, eat a nutritious snack and build social skills, all while having a blast doing it.

The school, along with Big Brother and Big Sisters of Lanark County, the local Canadian Tire store and Jumpstart program coordinators have been working together to bring a new afterschool program to the school.

Daryl Kelly, principal, says it's a huge hit and the children love it.

"They were a little skeptical at first, but now they have recruited some of their friends," she said.

The program is facilitated by Big Brothers and Big Sisters and is funded by the Jumpstart program, as well as by Pierre Hofstatter, the owner of the Canadian Tire store in Perth.

"There are huge benefits to the students," Kelly said. "We have maximum participation and hope to continue this into the fall."

Kelly said the children meet in the gym for some inside activities, organized sports and a healthy snack. There is also an outdoor program all facilitated by Big Brothers and Big Sisters' mentoring program volunteers.

"We have one mentor for every four students," says Haley Vollrath, the program coordinator and case worker for BBBS. "We mostly do sports activities and help promote healthy, active lifestyles. We have games like tag, capture the flag and soccer. We also provide healthy snacks."

Vollrath says it gives the participants a sense of teamwork and building along with a social aspect that gets them involved in a program outside school. It's meant to be fun and challenging at the same time.

"The kids are really enjoying it," she says. "We would love to expand this to other schools, providing the funding is there. This is the first time that we have had this kind of partnership. And the program is inclusive - it's for all youth."

Already into its second month, the after-school program runs only at The Stewart School. On Tuesday afternoon, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. the Grade 6 to 8 students participate, then on Thursday afternoons, the Grade 2 to 5 students participate. It's free of charge, thanks to the funding provided by Canadian Tire and Jumpstart.

FUNDING WILL CONTINUE

Marc Wolvin is the regional manager for Eastern Ontario's Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. He says the funding will "absolutely continue" for this program.

"The local Canadian Tire store has made a significant contribution to the project and that doesn't always happen," said Wolvin. "He has taken a real interest and made investments in his community and that's glorious."

Wolvin says that one in three Canadian families cannot afford to enroll their children in sports or recreation activities because of financial barriers.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart is dedicated to removing barriers so children can get involved with organized sports and recreational activities, Wolvin said.

"We provide funding and equipment," he said. "They supply the kids and the facilitation."

JUMPSTART DAY

Saturday, May 26 is Jumpstart Day.

Drop by any Canadian Tire store and be part of the fundraising effort to help kids from financially disadvantaged families in the community get involved in sport and recreation.

Some examples of events taking place this year include: Go Clean waterless car washes, balloon pops for your chance to win some amazing prizes, table top games and much more.

According to the Jumpstart website, last year, this one day helped 30,000 children get off the sidelines and into the game.

ljweir@metroland.com

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