Left, Mackenzie Dunseath, Winkler Canadian Tire owner David Dunseath, Gabrielle Fehr of Mark's Work Wearhouse, Committee chair Michael Penner, Camryn Dunseath. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)
Close to 2,000 children in the Pembina Valley have already benefitted from the Jumpstart program, and Winkler Canadian Tire Owner David Dunseath is hoping for community support once again.
Dunseath kicked off Jumpstart month on May 26, by hosting a celebration for kids featuring free bouncers.
“They saw a need, in Canada, for children between the age of 4 and 18 who are underprivileged, who didn’t have access to sport and recreation,” he said of Canadian Tire starting the program more than a decade ago.
Jumpstart will cover registration, equipment, and/or transportation costs for qualifying kids through 322 local chapters.
Dunseath said the program is important.
“If you look at statistics, children who are involved in sport and recreation at a young age, later in life there’s a greater propensity they’re going to go on to post-secondary education, a greater propensity that their marriages are going to stay together,” he said. “Later in life there’s a better chance of succeeding in a various amount of things.”
The program has already made a tremendous difference, putting 1.6 million kids across the nation into sport and recreation, and 2,000 in the region. “Last year was close to 300,” he said.
It’s the number of children who are eligible that’s staggering. “There are 96,000 children in Manitoba right now that would meet the criteria for Jumpstart that haven’t accessed it yet,” he said.
All the administration costs are paid by Canadian Tire so every cent that is raised is spent locally. “Anything raised through either our vendors, through dealers or through our customers, 100 per cent stays in the community,” he said. “Last year we raised at the till $4,600 and Marks raised about $3,500.
In addition to Canadian Tire and Mark’s Work Wearhouse, the local chapter includes reps from Big Brothers Big Sisters, Morden and Winkler Parks and Recreation, and Regional Connections.
Chapter chair, Michael Penner is the Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He’s personally seen children and families benefit from the program.
“A lot of kids, if they don’t have that Jumpstart funding, they’re unable to participate in their favourite sport or activity, and by allowing them to participate a lot of good things can come of that.”
Penner said he’s seen a great effect.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is a real boost in self esteem and self confidence, just having that ability to go and play that sport that you love and get better at it... it just really helps them grow as a person.”
People can donate to the cause at the till at Canadian Tire or Marks.
A coach, mentor or parent can apply by calling 1-877-616-6600. Applications can be submitted from Jan. 15 to June 1 for Spring/Summer programs and from July 1 to Nov. 1 for Fall/Winter programs.
All information submitted with the application is confidential.
For more information go to jumpstart.canadiantire.ca