Watch above: getting more kids involved in sports and recreation goal of Dream Brokers program
SASKATOON – A Saskatchewan-based recreation program aims to help more school children access sport and cultural activities.
The Dream Brokers program runs in 23 elementary schools across the province and aims to eliminate barriers that economically disadvantaged children may face when participating in sport, culture and recreation programs.
Dream Brokers operates through staff members who work in the elementary school and guide kids through the process required to sign up for activities.
Their goal “is that kids are able to participate in the different activities without stress on their [families],” according to Audrey Armstrong, who works with the program at Fairhaven School and Princess Alexandra Community School.
“If a family needs transportation to a soccer game across the city, we can get transportation for them, there and home,” said Armstrong, who has worked for the Dream Brokers program since February.
The program runs in nine Saskatoon schools, all located in the city’s west-end, except for St. Frances, which is in the Exhibition neighbourhood.
One of the institutions is Pleasant Hill Community School, where principal Mickey Jutras says he’s seen a difference in the students who’ve taken up an activity.
“Their new passion for activity and also their new skill sets are what they want to be showing off too, so our recess time is more active than it’s been in the past as well,” said Jutras, whose school is in its first year with the Dream Brokers program.
“Walking into the school, they want to show you the trick they just learned in gymnastics or they’ll invite you to come and join them in their soccer game at recess because they want to show their new skills,” he added.
At Fairhaven School, students in the program participate in everything from art classes to tackle football. Parents at the school have noticed a change in their child’s attitudes and behavior, according to Armstrong, whose own two sons were enrolled during their elementary school years.
“It gives us, as parents, a sense of pride that our kids are able to participate in activities that we otherwise may not have been able to have gotten them involved in,” she said.
Teagan Marion, 16, is one athlete who says she benefited from the Dream Broker program. Marion began playing hockey at the age of 12 and was only able to continue due to help from the program.
“I have three brothers that play hockey, so on the nights that I had a game and my parents weren’t able to drive me to the rink, there was always a cab available to drive me,” said Marion, who plays right-wing.
“If I needed equipment, or something, it was there,” she added.
Marion hopes to turn her passion into an athletic scholarship and hopes to play collegiate hockey and study kinesiology once she graduates high school.
“Without [Dream Brokers] I really don’t know where I’d be right now; I might’ve took the wrong path,” she said.