Each year, the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington funds recreational programs such as sports and arts camps, as well as life-skill building activities like
driver’s education and babysitter training, for over 1,000 local children and youth. By providing children with these experiences and opportunities, we are not only
encouraging a healthy lifestyle, but also giving them the opportunity for skills and social development, friendships, and community engagement – and with schools closed and many activities cancelled this summer, it is more important than ever to invest in our children.
Our foundation has always believed in the “holistic development” of a child – and how things such as play can be a critical part in their physical, mental and social
development. This is our main focus with our Free to Grow program, and this year we have shifted gears to ensure that children continue to think, create and move while at home for the summer. We’ve launched a new initiative called Free to Grow at Home, where we will be providing kits that get kids hands and feet moving, spark their imagination, and support their learning and development. During this pandemic, families have found themselves feeling “stuck indoors”, both parenting and teaching 24/7. and without guidance for how to keep their children
A local step mother and personal trainer, Denise, shed some light on her experience with how the pandemic has affected her child, and the idea that the lethargic and irritable feelings that we as adults are feeling due to the lack of physical activity, is also being felt by our children.
“About eight weeks into quarantine, the weight of isolation and indoor life started to
show on our son, and we had to change our quarantine game plan,” Denise said.
“Though initially met with resistance, our ‘two-a-day’ outdoor activity breaks proved to be the solution to grumpy moods and temper tantrums. Our son would go outside with his Dad and shoot hoops daily, and the three of us would go out for bike rides.”
And while Denise and her family are lucky enough to own their own sports and
recreational equipment, there are many other families who are facing daily temper
tantrums and grumpy moods that do not have access to green space or these items to stimulate their children’s physical and mental health.
“Transition can be particularly tough for kids, especially when there are so few outlets for them to work off energy with many sports and camps being canceled for the summer,” says Denise. “Helping family’s access these same resources by donating to the Children’s Foundation doesn’t just provide a toy to play with, but rather the tools to build a healthy body, create cross connections and neuro-pathways in the brain through movement, foster sportsmanship, create health relationships with exercise, and grow mental and emotional resiliency.”
Because of the support of local organizations, like the Guelph Box, we are excited to continue to help supporting children across Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph this