TORONTO – A Toronto-based organization, Start2Finish, founded by a former CFL player that aims to improve students literacy and fitness across the city.
Start2Finish is a national organization that was founded by former all-star football player and two time Grey Cup Champion, Brian Warren.
“[Start2Finish is] a fitness, literacy model that literally goes into communities that are under serviced and allows children that are living at or below the poverty line, become valuable contributors within their respective community,” Warren said.
One of the programs being offered by this organization is their Running and Reading Club which operates in 27 communities across Canada in local inner-city schools.
“For 32 weeks a child will come right after-school in their gym and we will transform that space into a place where anything is possible,” Warren said.
The program runs from October to June and is targeted towards students in grades 1 through 8.
The focus of the program is academic achievement, physical fitness, and social interaction.
The club at North Kipling Junior Middle School was recently preparing for the year-end run at York University on May 25th.
“Brian is a really good coach because he makes things lots of fun. It doesn’t feel like I’m doing much work. I laugh a lot and he makes things so much easier,” a student from North Kipling Junior Middle School, Mathushalini Sreebaskaran said.
The program is run entirely by volunteers who become mentors to the children.
“I just really wanted to be a role model to them… every week we’re impacting them here at the club, but you know what? It’s making an impact at home,” Ruth-Ann Dafoe, Volunteer Director for the Running and Reading Club at North Kipling Junior Middle School said.
The program aims to engage the students in physical exercise and their literacy skills by reading books and learning the “word of the day.”
“I still get an opportunity to broadcast and go to the games and encourage people which is great, but this I believe is my life’s mission,” Warren said.
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