Mar
20
2017
Volume
5-3

MiKids: Meeting the Vision to Make a Difference

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The vision of the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC) is to make a difference in the Wood Buffalo region every day, and while this is primarily met through the variety of sport, recreation and event experiences offered by the RRC, another aspect of meeting this vision is through the Mi KIDS program.

Mi KIDS was launched in November of 2012 with an aim to enhance quality of life in Wood Buffalo by ensuring financial assistance to youth and families that face financial barriers to participation in sport, recreation, social and cultural programs and activities.

Five percent of all RRC partnerships and 100 percent of the proceeds from the popular Mi KIDS clothing line, available for purchase at MacDonald Island Park and the Anzac Recreation Centre presented by Nexen Energy, a CNOOC Limited Company, go to fund the Mi KIDS program. The program, administered by a committee of RRC employees, accepts applications year round, determining the funding allocation on a monthly basis to ensure timely accessibility to programs and activities for the youth participants.

Amanda Propp, a former Fort McMurray resident, accessed the program to ensure her son had the opportunity to participate in local activities. Says Propp: “I accessed a number of swimming lessons for my 9-year-old son Logan. I’ve lost count. He also took an art class and basketball lessons.”

Propp, a popular local radio host during her time in Fort McMurray, says the program had significant positive impacts for her son. “The benefit was being able to allow my child to experience a variety of different activities and also helped him gain confidence. It was also a great way for him to get out and be active and the health benefits were noticeable,” she says.

Mi KIDS was developed in recognition of the challenges parents and caretakers may face to ensure children and youth have access to programs and activities. Rachel Orser, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the RRC, says: “The goals of the Mi KIDS program are to provide confidential and timely assistance to youth and families, maximize accessibility to program assistance across the region, ensure the financial sustainability of the Mi KIDS program via fundraising efforts and accountability and to recruit and retain partners that share a similar vision for children and youth in our region.”

Parents, teachers, coaches and community members can nominate youth to receive program, activity and/or equipment funding. Examples include but are not limited to: Development program, sport and/or class registration fees; facility memberships to amenities based throughout the communities of the region, including the Suncor Community Leisure Centre, Miskanaw Golf Club, Anzac Recreation Centre presented by Nexen Energy, the Fort McMurray Oil Sands Curling Club, Noralta Skating Club and Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre and YMCA of Wood Buffalo, in addition to other facilities; sporting and/or activity equipment; and any need approved by the Mi KIDS committee that is deemed in the interest of kids having fun.

Propp says she has encouraged others to apply for the program, including both through her personal networks as well as through her professional role as a radio host. Propp, who now resides in Edmonton, says she continues to promote the Mi KIDS program as an example of the commitment the Wood Buffalo community shows towards children and youth in the region. “Fort McMurray invests in their kids - something other cities haven’t entirely caught onto yet. I can’t wait for Edmonton to catch on,” says Propp of her gratitude for the effect the Mi KIDS program had on her son’s life during his time in Fort McMurray.

“The RRC is very proud of the Mi KIDS program and our ongoing commitment to the children and youth of this region,” Orser says. “In a region with a young demographic, ensuring access to life-enhancing programming and activities for children and youth not only benefits the children and their families, but our entire community. We are grateful to our corporate partners for their ongoing support and to all those who support Mi KIDS through purchasing clothing from the Mi KIDS clothing line so we can continue to operate this program in our communities.”

Individuals interested in nominating a child or youth for the Mi KIDS program can do so online at www.RRCWB.ca or in person at Guest Services at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre at MacDonald Island Park.

THERESA WELLS

A freelance writer, blogger and professional communicator who is passionate about her child, her work, her pets, her community and the power of words, Theresa Wells believes perfection in life is achieved when she is surrounded by amazing people, fantastic stories, cold gin and really hot shoes.

Website: www.mcmurraymusings.com/

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