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Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada-Support Young People

by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada-Support Young People

Thank you for your continued support to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC). Your generous donations allow us to continue providing important programs that support the healthy development of young people.

BGCC recently launched a video that shows just one of the amazing programs we run to support young people and advance their future. The program is called the Skilled4Success- Hospitality program and is supported by Cara. Most teens find their first job in the hospitality industry, and the skills and lessons they learn at these jobs can help shape their future work ethic, as well as attitude. The Skilled4Success- Hospitality program helps youth practice the skills they will need for a job in the hospitality industry. Practicing these skills can help teens gain the confidence they need to find their first job.

Check out the video here and listen first hand from Youth about how the program impacted them.

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Dunk for Diabetes
Dunk for Diabetes

Thank you for your continued support to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC). Your generous donations allow us to continue providing important programs that supports the healthy development of young people.

BGCC recently launched a new program called Dunk for Diabetes. The Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes aims to bring awareness to type 2 diabetes while teaching youth at Boys and Girls Clubs the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. The program has participants take part in weekly, basketball-themed fitness and nutrition challenges, with the chance to win prizes after each challenge is completed. The top 10 kids from each Club location will celebrate their achievements with NBA talent at the end of the program.

As part of the national expansion, over 600 kids from Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada are participating in this innovative six-week program and have committed to maintaining healthy lives on and off the court.

“At Boys and Girls Clubs, we know that physical activity and healthy lifestyles are critical to prevent type 2 diabetes and other health risks,” said Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. “The Dunk for Diabetes pilot program has received rave reviews from our youth and staff, and thanks to Sun Life Financial, NBA Canada, and the Raptors, we are proud to enter the second phase of this national initiative and bring the program to 20 more locations in 2018.”

Thank you again for your generous support.

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Providing a safe place to be
Providing a safe place to be

As the weather gets nicer, many families look for activities to fill the time outside of school hours. This time of year is an important reminder that the hours spent outside of school are critical for children and youth, and it is important that they always have a safe place to be. It’s easy to forget that many families struggle to find a place to send their children, whether it is after school or for their summer vacations. For many parents, the idea that their child could have a productive, engaging place to go when they’re not in school is hard to imagine.

When you support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, you’re helping many young people overcome significant barriers to a fun, safe place to go during these times. Camps and after-school programs not only provide a safe place for kids, they also provide the opportunity to learn, grow, and try new things. Our Clubs offer a wide variety of activities to choose from, meaning that kids can spend their free time doing everything from visiting museums, to exploring creative passions, and learning new skills.

However kids choose to spend their time at Clubs, staff are trained facilitators who focus on fostering a place of belonging for everyone. Ensuring that a young person meets their full potential is a year-round job and, as a result, our staff maintain a supportive space for children and youth throughout the summer months and during after-school hours. These can be difficult times for many families; kids can struggle when they find themselves without the structure that they are used to during the school day. Our member, Brendan, describes the importance of our Clubs at times like these:

“The Club helps push us in the right direction at a time in our lives when we are really vulnerable. Kids can fall in with the wrong crowds easily, and the Club helps us stay on the right path.”

                              – Brendan, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton

All young people deserve a place to learn and grow this summer. Your support is critical in providing these opportunities to children and youth across Canada.

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Hezzy Gets in the Game
Hezzy Gets in the Game

Thank you for your continued support!  Boys and Girls Clubs across the country are very busy running programs and services for children and youth in Canada.  A great example of a program that we offer is the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Get in the Game program.  Please read about the program offered at the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club in Hamilton, Ontario.


Hezzy Gets in the Game

Getting a sporting chance with Canadian Tire Jumpstart 

When 7-year-old Hezzy watched his older brother play drop-in basketball at the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club in Hamilton, he knew this was the sport he wanted to play.

“I used to arrive at the Club before it opened, so eager to start playing,” says Hezzy, remembering his first game 7 years ago. “Waiting for the staff to unlock the doors, I used to pass the time dribbling outside.”

It didn’t take long for the Hamilton Club to recognize that Hezzy had a gift that would open doors for him.  By age 11, Hezzy’s team had won 3 championships and he had been named Most Valuable Player by the Hamilton Basketball Association. 

“When I was scouted by the Hamilton Wildcats Basketball Academy, I was really excited because I knew that competitive basketball is a big deal and you have to be at a high level to play in the Ontario Division.  I was so grateful when they told me I made the team.”

Now at the age of 14, Hezzy has recently made the Under 15 team at CIA Bounce. His U15 team competes against top high school teams in the United States and he has already played games in New York and Pennsylvania. 

“I like exploring new cities and being on the road with the team,” he says.  “But I’m proudest of scoring 8 points in 30 seconds to help win the championship game by 3 points.”

The 14-year-old rising star credits Canadian Tire Jumpstart Get in the Game for eliminating the financial barriers to competing at this level.  Get in the Game provides funds and equipment to Boys and Girls Clubs so that members can enjoy the benefits of organized sports and physical activities, even when family budgets can’t stretch enough to cover these costs.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Get in the Game is currently offered at 13 Boys and Girls Clubs across the country and has helped more than 5,000 children and youth get in the game.

Looking to the future beyond high school, Hezzy hopes to play college basketball in the United States. “Just being able to play at such a high level would really pay off,” he says, and it doesn’t matter which college team he might play for.  Glenn Harkness, Executive Director of Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club in Hamilton says he believes Hezzy is on his way to the NBA one day, like Boys and Girls Club alumni Anthony Bennett—the first Canadian to become a #1 NBA draft pick.

“If I didn’t go to the drop-in program at my Club, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” Hezzy adds, as he heads back to the basketball court for practice. “Everybody was always so nice and the coaches were great. I have to thank all of them for helping me along the way and lending their support.”

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A studio of dreams at the Kawartha Lakes Club
A studio of dreams at the Kawartha Lakes Club

We are very grateful for your continued support to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.  Your donations allow us to continue providing much-needed programs and services to underserved children and youth across the country.

We are pleased to share with you an article about opening a music studio at the Kawartha Lakes Club.  This is a welcomed addition to the Club, creating space for aspiring young musicians from the community to record their music, which they would otherwise not be able to do.


 If the Community Builds It...

As Lacey picks out the notes to Dust in the Wind on her guitar, she doesn’t even hear a whisper from youth down the hall in The Warehouse after school.  That’s because she’s in the soundproof music studio of this very active youth centre at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes.


“I love playing guitar,” Lacey says. “It’s so therapeutic.” 


The Grade 12 student is a regular at The Warehouse and is in the music studio every chance she gets. 


Although it was built less than a year ago, the studio has brought the community together and has had a profound impact on the Club’s young people.


It was initiated by a legacy donation and has been completed thanks to the unique talents and hard work of a diverse group of volunteers. Lindsay residents Bill Jay and Morley Coombs donated $50,000 to the Club with the goal of sharing their love of music with generations of young people.


When three local recording engineers (Frank Watt, Garrett Drach and Dante Winkler) learned that the Club was creating a music studio, they volunteered their expertise to ensure the space was designed and built according to world-class standards. 


With the construction nearly completed in June 2014, a group of AstraZeneca employees stepped in to put the finishing touches on the studio. They donated time and materials on AstraZeneca’s Community Connection Day at the Club, painting and putting sound baffles on the wall.


Now, the Club’s recording studio has become an important community resource. 


“This is a place where young people can explore the world of music, both in front of the microphone and at the mixing board,” explains Robert Cyr, the Club’s Manager of Community and Volunteer services. 


Sound engineers Winkler and Drach are still on the volunteer roster, sharing their knowledge and personal time to give Club youth a range of opportunities for expanding their creativity and skills.    


Cyr says he is amazed by how deeply music connects and resonates with some of the teens, and Lacey agrees.


“Music helps me relax. I feel calm,” she says with a smile. Lacey puts down her guitar and makes room at the microphone for Andrew, a teen who is known around The Warehouse as “the DJ.” 

Andrew has high-functioning autism and a love of music and singing.  He likes to manage the playlist at The Warehouse, with a preference for anything by Lady Gaga.


Lacey and Andrew are on a subcommittee of the Club’s youth council, planning a number of upcoming concerts, jams and rap contests in the music studio. 


Cyr, meanwhile, is exploring options for expanding the room to accommodate more musicians and bigger instruments.


“We’ve been given this amazing gift and it’s become a catalyst for growing music in the community,” he says.  “If we can expand the space here, then I think the floodgates will open.”


Thank you for your generous donations.  We would like to wish you a happy holiday season.  We look forward to providing you with our updates in 2017. 

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Organization Information

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Location: Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Project Leader:
Bernadette Arreola
Toronto, Ontario Canada

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