Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Give a Child a Jump Start on Life

Several years ago I had a friend who was trying to raise a couple of kids on welfare. Every once in a while she would hear about some families in her situation that got some sort of benefits she had no idea how to get access to.  It's just another example of the fact that there are all kinds of agencies and programs out there designed to help people, but they fail to let the very people who need them know how to apply for them.

One day, when I was at Tim Hortons with another friend, I saw the poster about the camps they send kids to.  I asked a lady who was working there how one applies for these camps.  She didn't know, but she said she would get the manager for me.  Apparently the manager wasn't sure how to go about that either, but said she would find out and happily give me a call when she did. Well, by that time the friend who had the children who would have benefited from such a thing had moved away, and the kids were nearly grown up, so I didn't bother to pursue it.   I did make a point of telling the manager and her worker about my friend who never knew how to apply for such programs, and suggested that they find a better way to publicize it for those who need it. They should at least have access to the application forms when someone asks about it.

A computer search gave me the information just now, but many people who struggle to make ends meet do not always have computers.  As it turns out parents cannot directly apply to have their children attend these camps. Children are specially selected and referred by schools and community organizations who work with the economically disadvantaged.  That's nice, but I do know some families do the best they can to cover up the situation they are in, so perhaps the schools aren't always aware of all the children who might be eligible.

The program I have become especially fond of lately is the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program. It is meant to remove the financial barriers that prevent kids from participating in organized recreational activities. Jumpstart will supply funds to help with equipment needed, or the fees to take part in sporting activities because participating in such programs increases a child's self esteem  and a chance at success in life. If your family needs this kind of help call 1-877-616-6600.

One hundred percent of customer donations to Jumpstart go directly to help kids in financial need participate in organized sport and recreation.. The amount of the benefit to the families needing it directly relates to how much money is in the fund, and how many people in any given area apply.   As someone who runs a karate club,  I've seen this program in action more than once.  The parents applied, and the fees were paid directly to the club. Kids who might not have been able to attend were able to continue their classes uninterrupted. Next time you see that little display by the Canadian Tire cash register, offering little balls or whatever, drop a bit of loot in the box. You could even make a donation online.  I guarantee you will be doing something good for some children in your neighbourhood.


  1. To the anonymous person who thanked me for this article, I'm sorry to say I must have fat fingers. I reviewed your comment on my tablet and tried to publish it, but the screen thought I hit the delete button instead, so it was lost. I thank you for you comment though, and want you to know I did see it.

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