Student stories

Recreation and health education student helps make organized sports financially accessible

Karoline MacKenzie

Athletics for Kids

By Karoline MacKenzie

My co-op placement for the summer of 2014 was with Athletics For Kids Financial Assistance (BC) Society. Athletics for Kids (A4K) is a registered charitable organization that puts children and youth from low-income families into sports. They fund 80% of registration fees for families who qualify under their financial guidelines. A4K was founded in 2002. Due to the high demand for granting services in BC communities, A4K has shown steady growth throughout the years. In 2013, A4K provided children and youth with 800 youth sports grants and are ahead of target to provide 1000 sports grants to children and youth over the year of 2014.

A4K services and support are available to children and youth ages 5-18 who are enrolled in school and living in British Columbia. Each child can participate in more that one sport per year as long as the sports do not run concurrently and the cost of the sports do not exceed the annual maximum of $600 per year, per child.

Athletics For Kids is located in North Vancouver, BC and provides services throughout BC. The majority of their applicants are living on the North Shore and in the Lower Mainland. They have placed over 3,500 children into organized sports and, in doing so, have helped them to stay active. A4K has helped to place children in 40 different individual and team sports. Their leading goal is to “be there to assist any BC child in their dream of playing amateur sports. In other words, we want all kids to have the opportunity to play.” (Athletics For Kids, 2014). A4K‘s philosophy is to provide children with the lifelong benefits of active living.

One of my main projects as an A4K intern was to assist with the promotion, preparation and planning of events and fundraisers. I was responsible for gathering the materials and equipment needed for the events. I was also tasked with educating people on A4K and promoting them throughout the events. Some of these events also had me placed as a volunteer coordinator. In that role, I worked to recruit and schedule volunteers for events and place them into roles that complemented their strengths. My role also included many other on-going projects such as data input, website and newsletter creation and maintenance, assisting with grant processing and grant writing and application processing.

During this past term, I developed hands on knowledge regarding not-for-profit organizations, promotion and program planning including preparation, implementation and evaluation. This experience has complemented my theoretical knowledge gained through my studies at UVic.

The guidance provided to me by my executive director has taught me valuable skills that I can use throughout my academic and professional career. She has taught me to be independent and confident in my role, as well as the importance of communication, organization and resourcefulness. I have been able to adapt these skills and utilize my prior knowledge from my academics to help me succeed.

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