Jay Deo knows well the benefits of participating in sport as a child.
Sure, it was filled with a lot of fun and games as he took to the hardwood and softball diamonds.
But it also gave Deo the opportunity to learn skills from his coaches, bond with teammates, and integrate into the community.
“I am from Fiji, but born in Canada, and didn’t have English as a first language when I was young,” he says. “So, when my parents came back to Canada, sport for me was a great way to overcome that barrier, socialize, integrate and create relationships.”
Now, as chair of KidSport Squamish, Deo along with 6 dedicated committee members are helping families overcome financial obstacles that keep local youngsters on the sidelines.
“KidSport funds roughly 50 children a year, with each receiving around $300 towards registration fees,” Deo says, adding the children they help are enrolled in a wide range of organized activities including soccer, minor hockey, martial arts, gymnastics, and swimming.
“We definitely value unstructured activity, and in Squamish there’s the opportunity for a lot of that, which makes it a great place to live,” Deo says. “But we also see the benefits children receive from working in teams with the camaraderie they experience, and the opportunity to develop skills thanks to some great coaching.
“We understand the impact that sports have had on our lives, and we want to help pass that along to kids in Squamish.”
“We know there is a need in our community for what KidSport provides. It may be invisible at times, but we know there are families with children who can benefit from what we offer,” Deo says. “We want to remove the financial barriers so kids can participate and earn the joys and benefits of being active that hopefully will stay with them throughout their lives.”
Active since 2016, KidSport Squamish receives funding from the local district, grants, and generous donations from area businesses and residents. Donations are always welcome and help sustain their presence in the community.
Applying for assistance from KidSport is made easy by simply clicking on the website.
“Also, we are always looking for volunteers to be involved and share our story to create awareness in the community on how KidSport can help,” Deo says.
For more information about KidSport Squamish, visit online at: www.KidSportCanada.ca.