REGINA – Shania Twain is scheduled to play her first of two concerts in the Queen City Sunday, but she came a day early to help put smiles on children’s faces.
A group of 20 students from Judge Bryant School have been taking advantage of the Shania Kids Can program since the start of the school year.
On Saturday, they got a chance to meet their idol in real life and ask her questions about her own childhood.
Each student was selected for a very specific reason, according to the education director for Regina Public Schools, Greg Enion.
“We’re trying to select students that could use some assistance with self esteem, helping them work on future pathways and develop relationships,” he said.
The Kids Can Clubhouse, open before, during and after school is designed to empower children in grades 1-6.
To do that, special guests are brought in to speak about career choices, healthy snacks are available throughout the day and children can pick up healthy snacks if they’re feeling hungry. That’s not all.
“Field trips will be something that we’re going on. A lot of these kids don’t have the opportunity to go on a field trip,” said program leader Tiffany Kearse.
There’s also going to be a lot of volunteering at seniors homes or charities.
“Even though these kids may not have a lot, paying it forward, giving it back is so important,” stressed Kearse.
Since the Clubhouse opened in September, the results are evident.
Grade 4 student Nathaniel Heese was keen to share his experience, “I feel confident to say things to other people.”
His classmate Rakia Kaiswauto is also benefiting from Shania Kids Can.
“I’ve been playing with other kids and making new friends,” she explained.
“Having this place that they can call their own and say that they belong to is such a source of pride and confidence for them,” said Kearse.
Shania developed Kids Can based on her personal experience with poverty.
“That dream developed out of my childhood, my own needs and my wish for things to be different for myself and my own family. I promised myself, one day I will change things for people like me and my family,” the singer said.
She brought an extra surprise for the children, inviting them all to her concert.
“I think this is the best day of my life, that I saw her,” gushed Kaiswauto, “because we always listen to her songs.”
“Meeting kids, seeing their faces, I relate,” said Shania. “It’s bringing it full circle for me and it’s very healing.”Follow @SarahNKraus