KidSport Wood Buffalo will be receiving a total of $40,000 in funding over the next two years thanks to a new partnership with the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
Jamal-e-Fatima Rafat, executive director for KidSport Wood Buffalo, said the money would help approximately 30 to 40 kids each year.
“That means community to us,” she said. “I see it as a two-way street. It also helps the community understand how to work with children who come from sometimes difficult financial backgrounds and it also creates resiliency in the community.”
By providing up to $600 per child each year, KidSport sponsors kids in the community to help cover costs for organized sports.
Since starting in 2010, KidSport has provided $525,000 to help kids in the community access sports. In 2018, the organization helped 521 kids play in organized sports.
Rafat said that over the years the demand for the organization has grown and that “partnerships like these are crucial.”
“It is our bloodline. Funding and donation is what keeps us going and what keeps those kids playing the activity they want to participate in.”
The Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame recognizes athletes, builders and coaches from the region.
Owen Erskine, president of the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, said that while the hall of fame focuses on recognizing sports excellence, there also has to be support for access to those sports.
“The sports hall of fame isn’t just about the all-stars right away, it’s about growing the foundation of community and athletics,” he said.
“Our hope is that down the road some of the children that are helped through our partnership with KidSport will end up in the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.”
Erskine said the two-year donation is just the beginning, saying they are looking to have a long-standing commitment with KidSport.
“When you take kids and give them something, you’re not just giving it to kids who are going to be all-star sprinters. The funny thing about sport is that all different kids can play sports and we’re seeing that a lot more in town,” he said. “When you join a team, whether it’s an individual sport or a team sport you have those links that you may not have otherwise.”
Erskine said the hall of fame is also currently working on other partnerships with Keyano college, as well as the Fort McMurray public and Catholic school boards for scholarship programs