After School Sport and Arts Initiative

The After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI) supports after school sport, physical activity, and arts programming in selected school districts around BC. The Initiative’s programs aim to help students develop skills that contribute to a healthy life through creative thinking and physical activity.  At the same time, students develop confidence in their abilities and a stronger connection to their schools, classmates, program leaders and community.

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A Unique After School Initiative

The ASSAI is based on a set of program standards that guide schools to implement programs that are school-based, connected to the community, and accessible. The ASSAI currently supports children in kindergarten to grade eight in 31 BC communities in 17 school districts.

The ASSAI is the recipient of the 2015 Premier’s Award for Innovation, recognizing its support for children facing barriers to participation, involvement of multiple community partners, community-driven programming, and strong learning network of ASSAI practitioners across the province.

Check Out Some Videos Showing ASSAI in Action

This video celebrates the participation of students and staff in the British Columbia After School Sport and Arts Initiative. (*At the time this video was made, ASSAI did not yet have an arts component and was called the After School Sport Initiative)

Additional Videos:

  • Click here to see a video recognizing the ASSAI as the recipient of the 2015 Premier’s Award for innovation.
  • Click here to see a video highlighting the After School Sport Initiative in Haida Gwaii, a 2011/12 finalist for the Premier’s Awards Promoting Innovation and Excellence.
  • Click here to see a video from the 2012 ASSI Community Forum, where after school program coordinators from around the province came together to share their experiences and learn from each other.
  • Click here to see a video of former Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes’ visit to the ASSAI programs at Harwin Elementary in Prince George.

Ways to Get Involved

Support ASSAI programs by becoming a partner.

  • If you are a funder or community organization looking to partner with the ASSAI by providing funding, program resources, sport and arts instruction, or other types of contributions, get in touch with us. To explore local partnerships, take a look at the list of ASSAI communities. If you are based in or near an ASSAI community, contact DASH to reach the local program coordinator.

At this time, the ASSAI is only available in select communities. If you are a school or community group looking to start or expand an after school program, there are many other resources and granting programs that can support you. Check out the links in the Resources section below and click here for an up to date list of healthy schools grants.

History and Participating Communities

The After School Sport and Arts Initiative started out in 2010 as the After School Sport Initiative, a 3 year pilot project funded through the 2010 Sport Legacy fund.  In selected neighbourhood schools across BC, the pilot set out to determine how best to provide after school sport opportunities for students who typically faced barriers to participation for financial, social, or geographical reasons.  In 2012, funding was added for communities to incorporate arts activities into their programming.  In 2013, the commitment to arts programming expanded, leading to a new name: the After School Sport and Arts Initiative, or ASSAI.

The communities taking part in the ASSAI pilot were selected by a committee representing several BC government ministries.  The committee used a variety of data and experience to determine places in BC where there was both a need for after school programming and readiness to implement it.  Communities were also selected to reflect a variety of BC’s regions and urban, rural and remote settings.  Currently, ASSAI supports 17 BC school districts to deliver programming in over 30 communities.


DASH supports the ASSAI by:

  • Providing resources for program planning
  • Connecting local programs with training and partnership opportunities
  • Evaluating successes and challenges of the Initiative
  • Developing tools to assess health and learning outcomes for students
  • Facilitating a learning community of practice among ASSAI program coordinators


The ASSAI would not be possible without the participation of a number of partners such as:


For more information on the ASSAI, contact us at or call 604-681-0600.

For more information on after school programming, visit:

  • Canadian Active After School Partnership – Contains information on after school programs and related policies across Canada and resources for after school program planning, delivery, and evaluation.
  • BCRPA’s Collaboration Site – Contains recreation related reports, best practices, grant opportunities, and a discussion forum with a BC focus. Searches can be filtered by “After School Hours” topic area.
  • The Lower Mainland Out of School Time Alliance – Lots of research on the benefits of after school programs.

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