Getting a jump into sports

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For many children, participating in sports can be a valuable experience to learn, grow and become physically fit. But for many, the cost of getting in the game has become an insurmountable barrier.

That’s where Canadian Tire has been stepping up to the plate with their national Jumpstart program.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart helps cover the costs of registration, equipment and/or transportation for sports and physical activity.

Families in need of assistance are identified through various avenues, including Surrey’s parks and recreation department, Boys and Girls Clubs, community school staff and the YMCA.

Tong Louie Family YMCA General Manager David Woollven helps co-chair the local chapter of the Jumpstart program and sees the benefits firsthand.

“We identify kids through our daily work who otherwise would not be able to participate in sport based on their individual family circumstances,” said Woollven.

Through funds raised by the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, Woollven is able to distribute grants to families in need in Surrey and White Rock, with all funds raised locally staying in this community.

Jumpstart deals with each family individually to determine their specific needs and decide on appropriate funding.

Since its inception in 2005, money collected for the Jumpstart program has been able to help more than 740,000 children and youth stay active in sports across the country.

Jennifer and Ken McAllister and their five children are one such family who have benefitted from the program.

After adopting three foster children, Jennifer – who had previously been unable to conceive – gave birth to two daughters.

With a total of five children to care for, finding extra money for recreational activities became a challenge.

“Because we needed them in sports - for their sanity and for ours – we looked into different programs, and at Canadian Tire they have the Jumpstart logo all over it, so I got the information and went from there.”

Most importantly, the children are happy and staying healthy, she said.

Families can generally register for up to two seasons per calendar year of funding for kids aged  four to 18.

“When you look at the stats out there, kids are less and less active and getting them active really helps them develop,” said Woollven. “And the goal of the funding is to get the kids participating in sport.”

May 31 is Jumpstart Day across Canada, with each individual Canadian Tire offering in-store activities for kids while raising funds and awareness for Jumpstart in each local community.

In Surrey, Canadian Tire stores are located at 13665 102 Ave., 7878 120 St. and 7579 King George Blvd.

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