After school sport and arts programming for vulnerable kids is getting $2 million to double the existing number of program spaces up to 15,000 announced Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes today as she visited Harwin Elementary School.
The After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI) is designed to help kids who otherwise may not have access to organized activities in their communities after school when they may be inactive or at risk of participating in unhealthy behaviour. Currently, over 150 schools in 30 communities throughout the province are offering sport and arts programs through ASSAI, which enables students to have the skills that contribute to a healthy life through participating in creative and physical activities.
The program began with five pilot communities in 2010 as the After School Sport Initiative. Its tremendous success led to the expansion in 2012/13 to include an arts component. It is primarily meant to benefit children and youth ranging in age from kindergarten to grade 8 who face financial, social or geographic barriers to participation in after school sport and arts programming. Activities are specially designed for the unique needs of the children at each school and focus on building their abilities, confidence and connection to their community.
Typical sport activities cover a broad range and aim to teach fundamental movement skills such as running, jumping, throwing and balance as well as popular or unique sport skills like basketball or hip hop dancing. The arts programming connects youth to local artists and builds positive self-expression skills through an exploration of a variety of arts and culture forms, including performing, visual arts and cultural learning.
Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development -
"I have seen first-hand what a difference these programs make in the lives of kids who otherwise may not have connections to the community. One child characterized it, literally, as life-changing. The After School Sport and Arts Initiative goes way beyond sport and arts. It's about building confidence and life-skills that these kids will rely on for a lifetime."
Shirley Bond, MLA Prince George-Valemount -
"The After School Sport and Arts Initiative is a smart investment - innovative programming at its best. Some children would not have the opportunity to participate in organized sports and art activities without this type of program. Each school site that receives funding creates unique programs designed to meet the needs of their students. Activities encourage children to get active, to be creative and help them to feel more self-confident."
Mike Morris, MLA, Prince George-Mackenzie -
"The sparkle in the eyes of the kids tells the story. It's great to see them getting so involved in their after school sport and arts projects and the pride they're taking in their accomplishments. They're experiencing well-deserved success and connection with community. Even better that through the After School Sport and Arts Initiative, the story is being repeated in many other communities all over the province."
Nevio Rossi, principal, Harwin Elementary School -
"After school programs have a significant impact on the social, emotional and academic lives of children. Consistent program delivery by empathetic and caring role models builds a sense of community and kinship that further develops children's self-esteem and self-worth. It is a privilege to witness children connecting to their school community in such a manner."
- Funding is provided to selected school districts which then choose schools. Communities were also selected to reflect a variety of BC's regions and urban, rural and remote settings.
- There are many partners in the After School Sport and Arts Initiative who help to ensure the success of the program. Partners include the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH), the B.C. Parks and Recreation Association, First Nations bands, municipal recreation services, local sport recreation, arts and community service organizations, foundations/granting agencies and businesses including the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation.
After School Sport and Arts Initiative: http://www.dashbc.ca/what-we-do/programs-initiatives/after-school-sport-and-arts-initiative/
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development