It was time to get their wiggles out! Kezia, with a huge smile on her face, was dancing about with all her friends and banging on her bongo drum. It was drum night at Move ‘N Groove, and the instructor had just finished teaching them how to make an epic rainstorm. Large drums, shakers, bongos, mini drums – you name it, they’ve got it! Earlier that evening, Kezia and her friends learned all about movement through music, hand-eye coordination, and developed team building skills by learning how to play the drums.
But before the Move ‘N Groove program was created, there were very few programming options for children living with disabilities in Niverville, Manitoba. Kezia’s Mom, Leah, had been searching for a recreation program that would meet Kezia’s needs while still allowing her to be active and try new things in an encouraging and safe space. At the same time Leah began thinking about starting a parent support group for families in the region.
In collaboration with Chantel, the Town’s Recreation Director, Leah designed a program that offers new and exciting opportunities for children in and around Niverville who have physical, developmental, or behavioral disabilities to be active, while also creating an active support network for their families.
Thanks to your support and funding from the GoodLife Kids Foundation, Leah and Chantel were able to make Move ‘N Groove a reality.
Creating programs that get all kids excited to be active.
“Kezia absolutely LOVES Move ‘N Groove night,” describes Leah. “And it’s amazing to see her tackle new challenges each time.” 10-year old Kezia is a social butterfly, who loves being around people. She absolutely loves sports, but because of her short attention span and developmental delays, does not participate in a full sports league. That’s why Move ‘N Groove is a perfect fit. As a monthly activity night, with tons of variety, the program provides a fun opportunity for children like Kezia to be active.
“The theme nights and wide variety of programming helps with attention span and introduces the kids to learning opportunities they might not get otherwise,” says Leah.
Through the diversity of programming, Kezia has increased her overall physical activity and confidence, while improving her coordination skills and strength. And Kezia’s favourite part? She has made tons of new friends!
Each program night includes 45 minutes of physical activity, followed by a dance party, snack and social opportunity. Themes have included a zumba evening, taught by a certified fitness instructor, a drums night, where they learned movement through music, and even a floor hockey tournament, complete with jerseys.
“Families love it,” says Chantel. “We program the evenings to be about an hour and a half, but families end up staying for almost two and a half, because everyone is having such a great time!”
A support network for the whole family.
Not only has this program been great for Kezia, but it has benefited her entire family. At Move ‘N Groove night, Kezia’s parents and sisters are able to connect and socialize with other families, creating a wonderful support network and tight knit community.
“I look forward to those evenings, both for Kezia and us as parents,” says Leah.
Coming up next for Move ‘N Groove? A ninja crossfit party, where kids will learn how to climb, tunnel, and leap, but in a program geared entirely to kids living with mobility issues.
Leah says, “We are all very appreciative of the grant money. Because of it, we were able to buy quality, durable equipment, employ local instructors, and give these children endless new opportunities.”
GoodLife Kids Foundation helps to remove barriers and provide physical activity opportunities for kids with special needs all across Canada, just like Kezia. To date, GoodLife Kids Foundation has impacted the lives of more than 250,000 Canadian kids!