Back at it again! Friday Sock Co. is excited to announce a new collaboration with KidSport Calgary. Want to know more about the organization and the awesome work they're doing in the community? Keep reading! We sat down with Kevin Webster, CEO of KidSport Calgary to find out how they've been impacted by COVID-19.
What is KidSport?
KidSport is a community funded social profit organization that provides financial assistance and no cost equipment to qualified (low income) families so their kids have the chance to get active, be on a team and chase their sporting dreams.
How does being involved in organized sports help kids succeed?
Sport provides kids so many positive benefits and teaches them so many great life lessons. Kids get to gain new friendships, learn skills like hard work, team work, respect, inclusion, commitment, perseverance, resilience and many more. Kids get to learn how to win and lose, while also learning to fall down and get back up again. Sport is something every child should have the chance to play, and KidSport helps make that possible for the families we assist.
How has KidSport been impacted by COVID-19?
COVID has affected our organization, our sport community and our families much like many others. We have had to say goodbye to over 40 different fundraising events we would have hosted or been part of as a charity partner between March and September 2020. This has impacted our fundraising revenues with a loss of over 60% this year. Sport was shutdown for a big chunk of this time which meant we were sitting idle not able to help those families who need us for sport registration fee assistance. However we wanted to ensure kids had access to equipment to keep them busy and get them outside so we partners with the Calgary Youth Centres and City of Calgary Low Income housing to distribute free sports equipment to almost 400 kids so these kids had the ability to play something they loved.
Now that sport has begun to slowly return we are once again supporting kids with financial assistance and no cost equipment, but the pace is much slower then in previous years. The main reasons we learned of through a recent survey of our families and sports clubs is that there is still a hesitation from some of our families to return to sport just yet, some sport clubs are still not ready to open some of their programs, some sport clubs are no longer operating, capacity for the majority of our sport partners is below 75% of their regular capacity, meaning less spots for kids to play and finally the cost of sport has had to increase for some due to the cost associated with meeting new guidelines and increase cost of space due to CBE and CCSD school gyms not being available to rent.
All of this is challenging for us and our sport community, but most importantly it is really difficult for our families. That is why we will not stop, we will find new ways to raise funds and find opportunities for KidSport kids to be able to play. Sport is just too important in the lives of kids and for the kids we assist that value is exponential as sport is a positive outlet that they need in their lives.
How can Calgarians get involved with KidSport?
Start by ordering a pair of the Friday Sock Co socks in support of KidSport! We have many great opportunities from volunteering, donating, hosting a fundraiser, signing up for our KidSport Recycling program, get bidding in our Back to Sport Auction (now closed), donate new or gently used kids equipment to our Calgary Flames Sports Bank and supporting our great local partners and events. Check out our website for more info
What is your favourite part about being a part of KidSport?
Knowing that everyday we are helping change the course of a child’s life in a positive way. Sport has been part of my life from the earliest of years. It provided me a chance to grow and develop, it gave me lifelong friendships, taught me the importance of teamwork, compassion, modesty, integrity and respect. Sport is a huge part of who I am today so I like everyone involved with KidSport want to make sure that ALL kids get those same opportunities and that their families financial challenges will not limit them.
Quotes from past KidSport kids:
“When I think about KidSport, I don’t even think about kids being able to play sports, I think about kids having the opportunity to change their lives.” - Jeff Vela past KidSport kid
“KidSport is like being able to give kids and their families hope for something more” - Emily past KidSport kid
Recent testimonials from KidSport families
"I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for the generosity shown by your organization. The kids were thrilled to get new gear, and we are so thankful for the financial assistance to play a great, but expensive, game."
"Thank you all so much for giving my children the opportunity to join a club and learn a sport - and learn a whole other side of themselves that would never have been found without your help! I’m a disabled, single parent and I know that my children will have opportunities to get out and get exercise because of Kidsport... because of you."