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Indigenous school sport initiative recognized for excellence

January 17, 2017 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

A sport initiative that’s making a difference in southern Alberta aboriginal schools will continue for another year thanks to being recognized as a top project by the Makadiff Sports organization.

In 2015/16, the Alberta-based grant provider supplied $45,000 to Ever Active Schools to build capacity of sport in schools within Treaty 7, which encompasses the area from Lethbridge to Banff and includes the First Nations of Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Tsuu T’ina and Nakoda.

All grant-funded projects submitted a video as a report on their work and Ever Active’s video was chosen as the best. As such, the project received an additional $50,000 to continue with its work.
“We’re thrilled we’re able to continue the work. Professionally, it’s been some of our most satisfying work,” said Ever Active Schools director Brian Torrance.

Makadiff Sports is about “striving to make a difference in and through sport” and funds innovative projects that build and deliver sport in different ways. The idea behind the Treaty 7 project was to build the capacity of sport in schools because it was recognized that sport played a large role in the community, is a platform for overall wellness, and helps with student attendance and well-being.

The project has worked to remove barriers to participation in sport, such as travel and financial costs, and trained 28 youth as coaches.

An example of the power of sport is illustrated by the situation in one school where most of the members of the boys’ basketball team would leave school as soon as the season ended in March.

"We’re thrilled we’re able to continue the work. Professionally, it’s been some of our most satisfying work."

– Brian Torrance, Ever Active Schools director

“Basketball was the reason why they were there,” Torrance said. “Examples like that have been the seed of this project.”

“Now that I’m into sports, I really feel like I’ve grown out of my shell so much,” said student athlete Trevor White Grass in the Ever Active video. “I talk to more people, I’m more independent, I just go out and do more stuff for myself instead of trying to fit in with a group all the time.”

Student athlete Maggie Russell said many girls use sports as a healthy escape.

“A lot of girls seem to find that the reason why they play basketball is because they’re getting away from their families, getting away from what ­happens at home.”  


What is Ever Active Schools?
Ever Active Schools is a special project of the Health and Physical Education Council of the Alberta Teachers Association. The project receives funding from Alberta Health, Alberta Education and Alberta Culture and Tourism.

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