A Para ice hockey program in Winnipeg, day camps for visually impaired alpine skiers in British Columbia, and a boccia club in Ottawa for children with cerebral palsy.
These are just a few programs who have made a difference in the lives of kids with disabilities in their communities.
Each organization was provided funding from the Para sport Jumpstart Fund, which is one way the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities have worked together for many years to remove barriers for children and youth with disabilities to access Para sport.
It so far has provided grants of close to $2 million, with another $800,000 set to be awarded this summer. Over 7,000 children and 70 organizations have benefitted from the fund.
“For kids, the opportunity to participate in sport and recreation is about more than just getting active; sport teaches valuable life skills and helps foster self-esteem,” said Scott Fraser, president, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. “Jumpstart strives to give all kids of all abilities the opportunity to learn and grow through sport, and our partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee allows us to impact the lives of thousands of kids through Para sport.”
Vicki Keith, a Para swim coach at the Y Penguins Aquatic Club in Kingston, Ont., noted last year how Jumpstart funding expanded her club’s reach to more children with a disability.
‘’It’s amazing to see young people wanting to participate in sport,’’ she said. “One of the things Jumpstart was able to do was to allow us to get younger participants in the program. So, the last few months we were able to bring kids who were six, seven, eight years old.”
In addition to its support of introducing more children with disabilities to sport and providing them with greater access to play, Jumpstart has also helped with the development of Canada’s Next Gen high performance athletes.
As a lead partner of the Paralympic Foundation of Canada’s ImagiNation campaign, Jumpstart gifted one million dollars last year towards providing Para athletes with the resources to take the next step, through avenues like coaching, training and competition environments, sport science, and equipment.
ImagiNation aims to raise $6 million towards the development of Para athletes across the country, unlocking an additional $4 million of matching funds from the Government of Canada for a total $10 million investment.
From children with disabilities to the next generation of Para athletes, Jumpstart has supported many steps of the Para sport pathway with an aim of making sport more accessible at all levels.
Along with helping kids play through Jumpstart, Canadian Tire has also been a long-time supporter of Para sport. As a sponsor of the Canadian Paralympic Team since 2013, they have cheered on the nation’s Paralympians as they train throughout the year and compete at the Games.
The Canadian Tire family of companies is currently celebrating Jumpstart Month with an aim of helping even more kids participate in sport and recreation with the support of Canadians.