“I was one of the many children put in a foster home with few choices for activities. I now have a loving family and the privilege to do ice skating, ballet and horse-back riding! This is very important to me.” – Kacey, age 12
About the IGNITE THE SPARK FUND
One out of every 25 children in Canada are at risk and need our help. Many have suffered in poverty and are victims of abuse or neglect. As a result, 300,000 of these children and youth have a social worker, while a staggering 76,000 are Crown wards who live in foster care or residential programs.
For these vulnerable children and youth, there are often significant gaps in funding that prevent them from enrolling in hockey, taking dance or learning to play a musical instrument. However, these very experiences can be the catalyst to restoring self-esteem, developing interpersonal and coping skills and finding the inner strength to build successful lives.
Inspired by their adopted daughter, Mark Daniels and Andrea Weissman-Daniels founded the IGNITE THE SPARK FUND – a unique initiative to fund “enrichment” programs. Spark is unlike any other fund because it helps children who have no access to, or can’t afford to have new experiences in sports, arts and recreation.
The Fund is also unique because it allows children to enrol in any program of their choice within their own communities and provides a commitment over multiple years. It also covers the costs of related clothing and equipment and gives them a level playing field with their peers. The IGNITE THE SPARK FUND not only supports children and youth involved with child welfare organizations in Toronto, (such as: Jewish Family and Child; Native Child and Family Services of Toronto; and Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto) it also supports children under the watch of child welfare services across Canada.
In 2011 and 2012, the SPARK Gala raised funds to benefit the IGNITE THE SPARK FUND. Specially chosen celebrities, leaders in their field for their achievements, were honoured as Luminaries. Each one crediting someone who ignited their spark. At Children’s Aid Foundation, we hope for all children to have the same opportunitiy to IGNITE THEIR SPARK.