The Province is creating a new grant program to help children and youth during and after government care participate in sport, physical and cultural activities.
Young people in and from care face barriers that limit their participation in sport and other activities. Financial barriers such as sport registration fees or practical challenges like getting to and from practices can become obstacles. The Province is investing $3.6 million to give equal opportunities with the new RISE Grant Program. RISE stands for Resilient, Inspire, Strength and Engage.
“All children and youth have the right to play and should be able to participate and grow through the benefits that sport and cultural programs have to offer,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Sport is the great equalizer. It has the power to foster a strong sense of belonging while also building confidence and resilience in young people. The new RISE grants were created to open doors for young people in and from government care to increase their participation in sport, cultural and recreational programs. Our government is committed to seeing youth in and from care thriving, dreaming big, and shining in all aspects of their lives.”
RISE seeks to enable and promote participation and connect young people to their communities and culture, creating a positive impact in their young lives. The program will provide direct financial support to approximately 350 young people per year for the next five years, helping them to play sports and participate in cultural activities.
Grants for as much as $1,000 annually will help individuals cover costs for registration, equipment and travel for sport, physical and cultural activities. Examples of eligible activities:
- sports, such as soccer, hockey and basketball;
- physical activities, such as drop-in fitness or aquafit classes; and
- cultural programming, such as Indigenous traditional dance, hiking, art and canoeing.
Grants for as much as $10,000 are also available for organizations to develop and deliver programs for children and youth in and from care.
“Participation in sport and cultural activities helps children and youth be more active and connected their community and peers,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Indigenous youth and young people in and from care often don’t have the same access to sports as other youth, and that’s why I am so pleased the RISE program will make it possible for more children and youth in and from care to participate in the kind of activities that we know can have positive impacts that last a lifetime.”
The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (ISPARC) has developed the program and will administer it in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport and the Ministry of Children and Family Development. ISPARC is a provincial organization established with the purpose of improving the health outcomes of Indigenous people by supporting and encouraging physically active individuals, families and communities.
“The power of sport, cultural and recreational activity contribute to transformational and social change. It is the common thread across our diverse cultures that interconnects the physical, intellectual, emotional, cultural and spiritual facets of life,” said Rick Brant, CEO, ISPARC. “We are proud to be working with the B.C. government in the delivery of this new grant program. Making sport, cultural activities and recreation more accessible will advance our shared goals for a healthier future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and youth in and from care.”
“This is such a win for Indigenous youth, and all youth in and from government care,” said Isaac Foot, member of the Minister of Children and Family Development’s Youth Advisory Committee. “Athletics were deeply important in my upbringing, as it provided me a safe and fun space to grow in an otherwise turbulent life. Perseverance, resilience and communication are skills I developed through sports and I still carry those lessons with me every day. Participation in any activity creates opportunities to connect beyond all the troubles we face, and share laughs and grow with others even when times are tough. I’m excited to know that, through this program, others like me will have better access to those activities that matter to them.”
This and other initiatives, such as the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program, which waives tuition fees for B.C. students who are former youth in care and attending public post-secondary institutions, also highlight government’s commitment to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action.
For more information about the RISE Grant Program, including eligibility and application process, visit ISPARC’s website: https://isparc.ca/
For more information on transition supports and programs for youth in and from care, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/youthtransitions
A backgrounder follows.