Fitness chain offering grants to keep children active

Matt
Matt Gardner
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Applications are now being accepted by the charity wing of Goodlife Fitness for a grant to promote physical fitness among area youth.

To recognize the fundraising contributions of local branches and supporters, the GoodLife Kids Foundation is offering grants to 14 communities across Canada, including Prince Albert, to fund physical activity programs for children between the ages of four and 14.

“It’s well-noted that 93 per cent of children five to 17 are not getting the recommended 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity,” executive director Lisa Burrows said. “So we’re trying to make a difference (and) eliminate some barriers that some kids, families, organizations are having.

“By providing financial support, we’re able to ensure that there are programs that are in the community that kids can participate in and that the organizations that are running them are able to make them a sustainable program because they have received funding from us.”

The grants aim to fund sustained physical activity programs at registered charities, elementary schools and other applicable organizations. Criteria and application forms are available online at www.goodlifekids.com.

Grant applications are due Friday, April 22. Money will go towards perceived needs of the programs, which can include anything from staffing to transportation.

“What we do with the funding is trying to eliminate barriers so that the programming can actually run,” Burrows said. “So some programs may be brand-new … and some may be ones that have been running and they are looking for new funding for their program.”

This year marked the first time the Prince Albert location took part in the Spin4Kids event, which is the major fundraiser for the grant.

In total, Prince Albert raised more than $15,000 at the local Spin4Kids event in March.

“Prince Albert club was one of our top fundraisers this year, so we’d like to recognize those clubs with their staff and members that were top fundraisers by ensuring that a grant does go back into their community,” Burrows said.

“Right now we have specifically designated at least $3,000 to an organization or organizations in Prince Albert,” she added. “Certainly it depends what the project is, if there would be additional funding available. So that has to be evaluated on an individual basis when we receive the application.”

Right now we have specifically designated at least $3,000 to an organization or organizations in Prince Albert. Lisa Burrows

The assistant general manager at the local GoodLife fitness branch, kids foundation coach Daniel Wasyliw served as event co-ordinator for the 2014 Spin4Kids in Prince Albert, having helped organize the event in Saskatoon for the past three years.

Participants in the Spin4Kids worked in teams of eight. Each team had to collectively raise at least $1,000, with each person responsible for raising a minimum of $125 and a maximum of $700.

Describing the Prince Albert event as “huge successful,” Wasyliw noted that the team of one group exercise instructor alone raised approximately $5,000.

“We blew it out of the park in year number one … We did close to roughly around $16,000 and we even beat Saskatoon on their very first year that they did the event, which was exciting,” Wasyliw said.

He anticipated that the $3,000 grant to help Prince Albert children stay active would have a “huge effect” on the local community.

“Being the assistant general manager, I’ve been … interacting with teachers that are members here and that are wanting to apply to actually get kids active because -- knowing that there is a lot of low income within P.A. -- that’s going to be able to have the opportunity of actually exposing kids to doing sports, to nutrition.

“It’s going to have a big impact on P.A. once we can get the grants handed out.”

Based on the success of their fundraising this year, the local branch of GoodLife is looking to make Spin4Kids an annual event.

Wasyliw suggested that the branch would likely increase their fundraising target next year to between $25,000 and $30,000.

“This year, we got handed a $3,000 grant,” he noted. “My goal next year is to be known as a top fundraiser in Western Canada and actually get the $5,000 grant.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, GoodLife Kids Foundation

Geographic location: Western Canada, Saskatoon

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