“Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution refers to being unable to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter.” (Wikipedia)
What is most troubling about poverty is that as Canadians we think that poverty refers to other people in another land. But it is not. It is right here in Canada. There are children living in poverty, who are at great risk and require guidance, academic and physical support, and most importantly, hope for a brighter future.
This is why organizations such as Start2Finish are stepping up to break the cycle of child poverty in Canada by providing ongoing educational support and physical activity opportunities to children at risk during their school years. By investing in their future and developing their mind, body and social health, Start2Finish is empowering poverty-stricken Canadian children to succeed, giving them opportunities they might not otherwise have ever had.
One of the highly successful Start2Finish programs also addresses the all-important need for physical literacy, by including “The Running & Reading Club” after-school program. This 32-week program is led by 1984 Olympian Sylvia Ruegger, the Canadian record holder in the women’s marathon, who combines enhanced literacy with physical activity to economically challenged children. The program operates directly within local inner city schools, and runs from October to June. This unique opportunity takes children on a journey that improves their physical, mental, emotional and social health, fostering discipline, goal-setting and literacy. They build their endurance and strength through fitness activities and also receive individualized tutoring in reading and writing. At the end of the year, the children participate in the Start2Finish 5 km “Run for Change and Reading Challenge” followed by an awards ceremony acknowledging their achievements. So far over 1,400 children, from Halifax to Vancouver, including several First Nations communities, have benefitted from this program.
For more information on child’s health and fitness, please visit SIRC.