Shoes for Healthier Youth and the Community

Published June 05, 2017 17:01


More children will be kicking and running with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg’s sports programs this year.

In the hype of the 2017 Canada Summer Games, Team B.C. and Team Ontario decided to give back the event’s hosting city. Both teams announced on May 8 they will collect and donate new and gently used running shoes to give more children the opportunity to engage in the several sports activities the BGCW offers.

Michelle Schmidt, director of programs with the BGCW, said many children who attend their programming don’t engage in different sports because they usually don’t have proper footwear. She said the organization believes physical activity helps keep kids’ brains healthy and ready for their performance in school.

The Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg offers four formal sport, recreation and physical activity programs that promote positive entertainment to their students, while at the same time developing their interactive and social skills.

"So many of the kids that we work with, they come from families that have more barriers than other families, so they may not have the same opportunities to be involved in some of those extracurricular sports teams and those kinds of things," Schmidt continued. "We know that activity is healthy for their bodies and it’s healthy for their minds. When our bodies are healthy, and we’re moving, our mind is also healthier, and we want to provide that opportunity for them."

The 2017 Canada Games Host Society said in a release that BGCW "shares common values with Team B.C. and Team Ontario."

Jennifer Bennett, Team Ontario’s chef de mission, told The Times they’ve always left a legacy with the host community as a way to thank them and to make a positive contribution to young people in the community. In the Yukon, they donated books to Indigenous communities and brought gently used sports equipment to Prince George in 2015.

"All members of our team perform to the best of their ability on and off the field, with respect for our competitors and the volunteers of the host community, with integrity and dedication to the team and the competitive spirit, and with excellence in everything we do," she continued. "Helping the BGCW… gives us an opportunity to provide the basic requirement for sports participation to the young people in the Winnipeg community so that they can enjoy all of the benefits of sport."

This is the first time Team Ontario and Team B.C. are joining forces to impact this legacy. They will bring almost 900 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff with them to Winnipeg. While competition will be fierce on the field of play between the two provinces they said the spirit of teamwork is evident through this project.

"Every athlete starts their journey in community programs, and the work that the Boys and Girls Clubs does to ensure children have the opportunity to learn about healthy living and participate in sport and recreation was a natural fit for us," Rob Needham, Team B.C.’s chef de mission, said.

Schmidt said she is excited to see more kids engaged in their physical activities.

"We are excited about this partnership with Team Ontario and Team B.C., and we’re thrilled to be able to be the recipients of their generosity," she said. "That will help create a healthier community because the kids are healthy."

The 2017 Canada Summer Games will be held from July 28 to August 13 in Winnipeg. For more information or to buy tickets, go to

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