Growing up, many children are able to participate in enriching activities such as sports, art lessons, summer camp, and more. For children growing up in the child welfare system, this access to enrichment opportunities is often unavailable due to financial constraints. When given the chance to participate in extracurricular activities, children have the opportunity to connect with their peers outside of a school setting and feel less socially isolated, build self-confidence and a healthy body and mind, and create an identity outside of being a “foster kid”. These activities allow them to escape the stress of their daily lives and just be kids.

Here are some examples of our programs that are helping to enrich the lives of vulnerable children and youth:

  • The Ignite the Spark program was founded by Mark Daniels and Andrea Weissman-Daniels to help fund enrichment programs for children who do not have access to, or can’t afford new experiences in sports, arts, and recreation. Kids are able to enroll in programs within their communities, and are also supported with the necessary equipment for their activity. Supported by Ivari, in 2019 this program helped provide 341 children and youth involved in the child welfare system across Canada with access to life-changing enrichment opportunities.
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  • The CIBC Miracle Fund supports children and youth with access to activities like sports and recreation, arts and culture, and education opportunities. Last year, this fund supported a total of 708 young people as they participated in enrichment activities that helped to improve their self confidence and sense of belonging.
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    For youth aging out of care:
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  • Citi Foundation is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and is currently partnering with the Foundation on Phase 2 of the Creating Pathways for Youth Initiative; a web-based resource to provide essential digital support for youth transitioning out of child welfare into independent living. Learn more in our feasibility study report.

Story of Impact:

Meet ANTHONY*

ANTHONY is 16 years old and was brought into care at a young age. He has always demonstrated athletic prowess, whether in gymnastics as a young child, soccer in his early teens, and now basketball. Over the past 3 or 4 years, he has dramatically excelled in basketball. Utilizing our allotted funding from the government, ANTHONY was able to pursue his interest on a casual basis and helped him afford the basics to play. However, the opportunities that Ignite the Spark funding provided for ANTHONY have helped him flourish and develop his interest into a passion and significant skill development and achievement. Over the past 2 years, your funding has allowed ANTHONY to participate in skills development camps, supplemental tournaments, and summer leagues that he would not have been able to attend otherwise. As a result, this past year ANTHONY was named the playoff MVP for all of AAA high school basketball in Manitoba. His high school team, under ANTHONY’s leadership, were undefeated in league play, won their league championship, and then went on to win the AAA Provincial Championship for Manitoba. Subsequently, ANTHONY was invited to a Banquet hosted by Basketball Manitoba where he was publicly acknowledged for his achievement, and presented with his award.

Along with the success in basketball, ANTHONY has excelled academically and as a leader. The confidence that he has built up in himself through sport appears to be carrying through to other aspects of his life, and he is thriving.

*Name and visual identity protected

About The Author

The Children's Aid Foundation of Canada funds programs to help Canada's most vulnerable children and youth, those who have experienced or are at risk of abuse and neglect, overcome the obstacles in life that prevent them from reaching their full potential. We are committed to giving ongoing support to those who need it most.

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