The Ontario government is investing in the health of young Ottawans, with its announcement of $939,000 going toward supporting organizations in the After School Program.
According to a press release, the investment in Ottawa area communities is part of an overall investment of $13.5 million by the government through Ontario’s After School Program to support 110 organizations providing opportunities for youth in priority neighbourhoods to be active and healthy.
“The experience of the past two years has highlighted the importance of sport and recreation programs to individual and community well-being,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “These programs are at the heart of Ontario’s communities and our government is committed to working with our partners, educators and community leaders to support opportunities for children, youth and families to be active and healthy.”
Ontario’s After School Program provides supervised sport and recreational activities to more than 20,000 children and youth, from kindergarten to Grade 12, in more than 80 communities across the province, including 11 First Nations communities.
In addition to helping kids in Ottawa area communities stay active and engaged through unstructured play and activities like basketball, dancing or soccer, the program helps children and youth develop leadership skills and provides personal wellness, anti-bullying and nutrition education.
The government says the Ontario After School Program has been shown to contribute to higher self-esteem and well-being, leading to improvements in academic performance.
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Kanata—Carleton said the financial support will ensure students have a chance to play sports, partipcate in arts, crafts and music, or get homework help.
"We can all agree that these extracurricular activities add a great deal to students' education experience," she said.
Lisa MacLeod, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Nepean said she hopes the investment will benefit the Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre in her riding and provide children and youth with "every opportunity to be active and healthy.”