Jumpstart, KidSport programs seeing ‘demand like never before’

Two local organizations that provide financial assistance to children so they can participate in organized sports and other activities are seeing dramatic increases in their numbers of applicants.

Two local organizations that provide financial assistance to children so they can participate in organized sports and other activities are seeing dramatic increases in their numbers of applicants.

The culprit is the recession Alberta has suffered through as world oil plummeted to rock bottom prices and many people directly or indirectly have lost their jobs or faced reduced work hours.

In the first quarter of this year, Jumpstart helped 464 children in its Red Deer chapter, almost five times the number when compared with 94 in the same quarter last year. In the same comparative time period, a total of $34,218 was disbursed in 2016 and $17,927 last year.

KidSport, which helped a total of 192 local children in all of 2015, has provided money to over 50 children so far this year, a pace that represents about a three-fold increase in applications. Registration for spring sports activities hasn’t even started yet, said Ashley Ferguson, chair of the Red Deer chapter.

Rob Hatch, chairman of the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities chapters in Cochrane and Calgary, and Alberta spokesman, said demand is up right across Alberta. He is seeing “demand like never before.”

Jumpstart provides funds through a number of community partners to help a child with costs of registration, equipment and even transportation, to a maximum of $600 per year.

Hatch said they are seeing more families that typically wouldn’t have accessed a program likes Jumpstart in the past. “Without question it is a growing need out there.”

Families can access the program through Jumpstart community partners, which include Red Deer Youth and Volunteer Centre foundations, City of Red Deer Recreation Parks and Culture, Fox Run School and Central Alberta Refugee Effort.

“There’s help out there and it can be very discreet and our community partners are incredible at maintaining and developing these relationships with the families,” Hatch said.

He said that funding for Jumpstart is stable and includes, among other sources, regular funding from Canadian Tire stores and public donations.

Given the KidSport numbers so far this year, Ferguson said her organization became quite concerned, so at their last board meeting it was decided to reduce the annual amount of funding per child from $250 to $200.

“We are on pace to set a phenomenal record for Red Deer.”

She said that as soon as they feel comfortable that they will have sufficient resources, they hope to boost the amount of individual assistance back up to $250.

Their funding comes from donations from local organizations or businesses, partnerships, and fundraisers. The local Kinsmen are providing $30,000 over three years to KidSport.

“Sports are more than just play. They help our children grow and develop and they teach social skills and life skills and how to be responsible and work together — all those kinds of things that they’re going to need in their adult lives and the workforce. It’s just so important,” Ferguson said.

More information on the two groups is available online at kidsportcanada.ca and jumpstart.canadiantire.ca

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read