Two-time Olympian and former KidSport BC recipient Richard Hortness is living proof of the huge impact KidSport can have, MLA and Paralympian Michelle Stilwell said, as she announced $400,000 in funding support today.
Hortness benefited from KidSport BC funding as a youth after a job loss in the family meant there was no money to pay his swimming registration fees. KidSport BC came to the rescue, and Hortness excelled, going on to become an elite-level athlete and realizing every athlete's dream of going to the Olympics. He competed in both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Summer Games.
KidSport BC is a grant program that provides confidential financial assistance for children under the age of 18 to enable them to participate in an organized sport of their choice. Approximately 6,200 kids receive grants each year. The average funding amount is $200 per grant.
Stilwell made the announcement on behalf of Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes, while taking part in the Corporate Kids Challenge - a lively KidSport fundraiser, with a school sportsday theme. The fundraiser featured celebrity athletes, including Hortness, former CFL player Tommy Europe, snowboarder Maëlle Ricker, and swimmers Tera van Beilen and Savannah King.
Michelle Stilwell, MLA, Parksville-Qualicum -
"Richard's amazing story shows the difference that KidSport BC makes in the lives of B.C. families. Whether kids want to go on to high-performance sport or just want to play soccer on Saturdays, we want to be sure that every kid in B.C. has that chance. KidSport does amazing work in helping ensure that no one is left out."
Richard Hortness, Olympian -
"KidSport meant that I could do the sport that I loved. When the money was not there for us as a family, KidSport was. Without them, I would have had to quit swimming and would never have become an Olympian."
"The support that KidSport gives is a saving grace for families that understand the value of sport but cannot afford it. Every penny counts at that point, and this helps families breathe and grow and excel. I learned and saw this first-hand and know what a difference it makes."
Pete Quevillon, KidSport director -
"The generous support of the Province of British Columbia is critical to the success of KidSport across B.C. Last year, more than 6,200 kids realized their sporting dreams, thanks to KidSport assistance."
"This funding provides tremendous support to the amazing volunteers in our 40 community KidSport chapters and allows them to leverage this contribution to engage local businesses, the sport community, service organizations and individuals to ensure that no child is left on the sidelines. We are thrilled to have the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development as such a committed partner in this, our 20th year of existence."
- Since 2006-07, the Province has invested more than $2.6 million in KidSport.
- In 2012-13, 6,234 kids were assisted by KidSport, an increase of 8.6 per cent over the previous year.
- With the help of the Province and other supporters, KidSport BC has expanded from fewer than 20 community chapters to 40.
- KidSport was established in 1993 by Sport BC.
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development