A Langley-based soccer group has recently partnered with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to make sports more accessible for local children – regardless of a family’s financial circumstances.
Soccer Shots Fraser Valley is a sports program for children ages two to eight and offer soccer sessions including Langley, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows.
For families approved by Jumpstart for funding, Soccer Shots now covers 50 per cent of all fees associated with their child’s participation in the program, said Gareth Abreo, vice president of Soccer Shots.
“We believe that every child should have the opportunity to participate in sports,” he said.
Because of donors like you, Jumpstart was able to give over 400,000 kids the opportunity to play in 2022. Thank you for stepping up and supporting Jumpstart to help kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers to sport and play, so that no kid is left on the sidelines! pic.twitter.com/FULlLFSRyu— Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities (@CTJumpstart) November 16, 2022
There has been a noticeable increase in Jumpstart applications and a finite amount of funding available each year, which often runs out, Abreo explained, and Soccer Shots wanted to find a way to help.
“We decided that any application that comes through Jumpstart, we would cover 50 per cent of the program registration for that child,” said Abreo, who is the brother of the company’s co-founder, Andy. Gareth joined in April last year to manage the day-to-day operations.
Soccer Shots offers three different programs designed to meet the development needs of children.
The programs are $239 for 12 weeks, or $20 per weekly class. If a family qualifies for Jumpstart, they can receive up to an annual maximum of $600.
“Because we’ve cut the cost of our program and half of those applications, they’ll have the opportunity to maybe do a second season of Soccer Shots or take that money and try a different sport, like hockey or baseball. So, it really allows the dollars to go further,” Abreo said.
Soccer Shots spring sessions begin next Tuesday, March 28, with registration open until late April.
“We really put a big focus on character development, building teamwork. It’s a very unique program in the sense that it’s not competitive,” he said. “This is [about] getting kids out, having interactions with other children, and learning some basic skills.”
They integrate a character word into their programming every week.
“So, usually the first week of the [program] is the word ‘respect’ and you learn about the word and what it means in soccer, and then also throughout life,” Abreo said.
Sessions in Langley are offered at City Park on 207th Street and at Richard Bulpitt Elementary. In Aldergrove, sessions are offered at the Aldergrove Athletic Park. On the north side of the river, the program is offered at Maple Ridge Elementary and Pitt Meadows Athletic Park.
Families requiring Jumpstart assistance can apply online.
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