It’s June and in 16 communities around BC, elementary schools are wrapping up their after school programming as part of the After School Sport and Arts Initiative. The initiative, funded by the BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, provides free programming for kids who haven’t had the chance to participate in after school activities in the past. As DASH’s new Community Engagement Liaison for this Initiative, I have had the privilege over the past few weeks of learning about all of the amazing activities kids have taken part in this year in communities all over BC, from New Hazelton to Grand Forks to Victoria. Programs have included soccer, mural painting, snowshoeing, gymnastics, Bollywood dance, Aikido, basket weaving, wheelchair basketball, and more. The activities follow the interest of the kids and represent the variety in geography and culture of the communities involved.
I was also lucky to attend the Surrey Jumpstart Academy’s end-of-year celebration, where students from 25 elementary schools came together for a fun event. Gathered at the field at North Surrey Secondary School, the kids rotated through activity stations with relay races, soccer, karate, and creation of a mixed-media mural.
I am thrilled to join this initiative and support programming going forward into the 2013-2014 school year. My job will involve: supporting communities in the planning and implementation of their programs, facilitating partnerships with community-based and provincial sport clubs and organizations, and exploring the outcomes of the program. Beyond the benefits of increased physical activity, physical literacy, and creative expression for the kids, there are other impacts we are seeing as part of this initiative. Kids are excited about the program, gaining confidence in their abilities, and feeling more connected to their schools.
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