Inner City Youth Sharpen Life Skills Through Healthy Horizons Grant

Published July 09, 2021 15:19


Children in a North End Winnipeg neighborhood can continue to get together in a place that’s fun and safe, thanks in part to a $5,000 Healthy Horizons Foundations grant to the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of Winnipeg for their Aberdeen Club.

As one of the Boys and Girls Club Winnipeg locations, the Aberdeen Club is a place for youth aged 6-12 to gather after school hours – and for several hours each weekday over the summer – to meet with friends and experiment with a variety of new hobbies in a supervised setting. The club also has a tremendous impact on helping parents stretch their budgets by providing healthy, wholesome snacks and meals to its members, while also providing opportunities for the youth to learn valuable life skills through its initiatives.

Some of the Aberdeen Club’s programs include cooking classes, gardening sessions, student-mentoring days and the occasional game/movie night. Each program is geared towards developing a certain competency – like academic studies or leadership skills – to serve its participants in a life-long capacity.

As part of the William Whyte neighborhood, the club supports some of the most underprivileged children in the city, many of which come from single-parent households. With a large segment of members identifying as Indigenous, the club provides culturally relevant programming, with sensitivity to Indigenous knowledge, education and ways of being. The club seeks to not only promote recreational activities and provide meals, but also foster positive and healthy relationships with adults and their peers.

While the club’s programs were moved to online platforms during the pandemic, they have re-opened for in-person programming for July.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for us to figure out a safe way that we could reconnect with our children and youth,” says BGC Winnipeg Director of Programs Michelle Schmidt. “We know that they need our support. Providing healthy meals, supportive adults to talk to, a safe place to be, and opportunities to learn and experience new things is vital to the youth and their families.”

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