June 1, 2014: United Way Perth-Huron’s Program Review and Allocation Committee, as well as the Board of Directors, are pleased to announce that the YMCA’s Across South Western Ontario, led by their Goderich Office, has received a Demonstration and Development grant in the amount of $15,000 for the Huron County Youth Recreation and Sports Program.
Development & Demonstration Grants assist with the start-up or expansion of projects that address new, emergent, or critical issues that; foster partnerships between organizations and individuals; or improve organizational structure to build capacity within the charitable sector.
With this grant, YMCAs across Southwestern Ontario is launching the Huron County Youth Recreation and Sports Program aiming to improve the mental health and well-being of families receiving social assistance benefits by providing subsidized recreation and leisure opportunities for preschool children to 17 years of age.
In Huron County, an estimated 2,000 children live in poverty and the majority of these families are single parent. A range of agencies are currently serving our community aiming to improve the lives of children, youth & families, however, an opportunity exists to coordinate our efforts, share our resources and build greater capacity to serve more children. Working in a collaborative effort to reduce barriers to participation and increase opportunities for children & youth, YMCA is partnering with the Huron County Social Services, the Huron County Health Unit and the Huron Perth Children’s Aid Society.
The program will provide access to participate in recreation, leisure, arts and cultural activities across Huron County by partnering with existing service providers. For example, a child may participate in a dance class, guitar lessons or with their local minor soccer league. It will also provide assistance with transportation and equipment along with working with families to identify any further barriers to participation and work towards reducing these barriers.
Recent studies by many social service and physical education professionals indicate that children from lower income families are less likely to participate in structured and unstructured activity and sport. This polarization of participation along income levels is a concern, especially in light of the recent research that indicates that children who participate in these activities tend to perform better scholastically and socially and grow into adjusted adults.
The aim of the program is to maximize the number of children who participate in sport, recreation, leisure and arts activities, ultimately reaching to ensure every child in Huron County has access to participation.
United Way Perth-Huron supports nearly 50 agencies, projects and programs in Perth and Huron Counties with over $960,000 invested locally.