Newcomer sports program gets national grant to fuel female champions
Anywhere from 20 to 40 kids lace up at the Newcomer Soccer and Multi-Sport Academy twice a week.
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A Winnipeg program encouraging newcomer girls to get active has received a national grant to help wield its muscle.
The Newcomer Soccer and Multi-Sport Academy, a volunteer-run organization, offers soccer and basketball lessons twice a week at the University of Winnipeg’s Axworthy Health and RecPlex.
Anywhere from 20 to 40 kids ages five to 16 lace up on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Most of them are newcomers from Syria, with some from Ukraine and Egypt, said the program’s creator Carolyn Trono.
The group was one of 20 chosen from about 2,500 submissions across Canada to receive a Dairy Farmers’ $5,000 grant, money they will put toward training more young women in hopes of helping improve their self-confidence, Trono said.
“When they first came, they hadn’t had the same opportunities as boys have to participate in sport and I can see by watching them that some of their movement patterns… (aren’t) as well-developed as the boys,” said Trono, who works as the director of long-term athlete development for Sport for Life when she’s not volunteering.
“And so now they have the same opportunities in Canada to participate in sport as the boys do. So I’m hoping through this Champions Fund… we can provide them some of these enriched opportunities so they can develop those skills.”
The end goal is to integrate the newcomer children into local sports leagues, Trono said.
But in the mean time, they’d also like to expand their own programming to teach kids swimming, curling and skating, and to organize fitness classes, like Zumba, for their families to participate in altogether.
They’ve started a crowdfunding page through the University of Winnipeg Foundation to help achieve more program diversity.
“We want them to be able to play, be able to participate, feel that sense of belonging and feel confident and competent in some of the other sports,” Trono said. “I think sport has a phenomenal way to embrace, welcome and create that sense of belonging, if it’s done in the right way.”