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This Holiday Season, Give the ‘Gift of Sport’

by Shanine Sealey

KidSport has been an important addition to the community for many years; however in recent years, the number of families applying for financial assistance through the program has risen substantially. As the population grows, so does the number of applications coming in annually.

As a fundraising initiative to help children in the community participate in sports when their parents don’t have the means to afford them the opportunity; KidSport relies on donations from the community to provide this. Funding for the program comes through various means such as; raffles (KidSport Playhouse), events, corporate sponsors, sports teams, local organizations, memorial donations and more. “One thing that I think is really important is that all money raised in Martensville, stays in Martensville, and helps the youth within our community,” Angie Reddekopp, City of Martensville Program Coordinator, said. The City of Martensville hosts several events throughout the year with funds going to KidSport. The Martensville Shopping Extravaganza was held November 24th and all entry donations went to the program, and Play and Skate with Santa will be taking place December 9th with admission by donation to KidSport. Reddekopp also added that KidSport has been in contact with the local schools to see if there is a way that they can partner up to help support the program. “These are the kids that are going to be getting jobs in Martensville and giving back to their community. Sports play such a vital role when it comes to learning life skills and the City of Martensville often hires local youth to run various programs, so if they go through the process of being involved in a certain activity, it can open so many doors and opportunities for them to get involved with other things later in life,” Reddekopp explained.

Over the past 5 years, Reddekopp noted that the number of applications has doubled with this year marking the first time the program has run out of money for financial support. This year alone through KidSport, over 34 kids were given the opportunity to participate in sports and approximately $13,500 was provided to do this. Through a lack of funding, some children were unable to receive full funding for a program. “Our goal is to try to fund everyone the full amount; however, when the money isn’t there, we always try to provide something, even if we can’t do all of it. With this year being the first year we have run out of money, there has been more thought and demand to try to figure out ways to generate more money.”

Reddekopp attributes the surplus in applications to the fact that more and more residents are becoming aware of the program. “It is great that people are becoming more knowledgeable about KidSport, but at the same time, we have to continue to get those funds coming in.” Throughout the year, donation cans are available at local businesses and at the Martensville Athletic Pavilion (MAP). “Every little bit helps. People don’t need to make big donations, but a little bit can go a long way for these kids,” said Reddekopp. Amounts provided to families vary and can be as little as $70/child each year and as high as $700/child each year. Funds can go towards one activity, or multiple activities throughout the year and all money gets paid directly to the organization.

For those interested in donating to KidSport this holiday season, you can donate the ‘Gift of Sport’, a gift that will last well beyond the holidays by visiting www.kidsportcanada.ca and select Martensville, or you can visit www.martensvillemessenger.ca/kidsport-donation.

Applications for KidSport are available at the MAP and can be picked up in person, or emailed. The application process is quite simple; however, families are required to have someone on their application that endorses it, such as a teacher, social worker, church member, etc. For more information, contact the MAP at (306) 683-5576.

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