“Sports are the ultimate life coach for kids. Through sport, they learn the values of teamwork, leadership, commitment and perseverance. However, for some kids, the costs associated with organized sports are too great, and severely affect their ability to participate.
I was one of these kids, but I was also one of the kids lucky enough to receive support from KidSport Calgary. This is my story…
My family arrived in Canada in 1994, as immigrants fleeing the Yugoslav Wars. My parents arrived here without any close family and knowing little English. They came from a place where they were successful professionals, and arrived in a place where their post-secondary education was not recognized.
My parents were strong believers in the importance of sport in the development of young people, and first enrolled me in organized sports at the age of seven. They registered me in water polo, a sport that was extremely popular in the former Yugoslavia. My love of the game would come very soon after my first practice, and my experiences with water polo would influence the rest of my life.
My parents were determined to make the most of their lives in Canada, and were in the process of earning University degrees for the second time as well as working jobs to support their family. In my early years in water polo, many of the costs associated with organized sport became too much for my family. In order to afford these costs my family turned to the services of KidSport Calgary. The assistance offered by KidSport would allow me the chance to work towards and experience high-level competition, and would become crucial in my development into a high performance athlete.
As the years passed, my parents would become successful professionals and my family would no longer need the services of KidSport. However, their support allowed me to take some of my first steps in my athletic career.
I have been able to compete at the highest levels of international Water Polo. As a retired member of the Senior Men’s Canadian Water Polo Team, I have competed at three World Championships and two Pan American Games. Water polo has taken me across the world and allowed me to compete on six continents. I have also been fortunate enough to play water polo professionally in Europe for two seasons.
My success in sport, as in any success in life, can be attributed to numerous people and organizations that helped me along the way. KidSport is definitely one of the organizations that was crucial in my development as a young athlete. I am a strong believer in KidSport, and just one of the countless individuals that has had their life changed by the assistance they provide.”
–Oliver Vikalo, Retired from the Canadian Men’s Water Polo Team
Currently, works for TEKsystems as an IT Applications Recruiter
KidSport Calgary and Area exists because of testimonials like this. KidSport believes in providing all kids with the opportunity to experience the positive benefits that sport showcases, through taking away the financial barriers for vulnerable families.
Sadly, 1 in 3 kids in our city cannot afford to participate in organized sport. In 1995, KidSport Calgary opened our doors to ensure that all kids who dream to play, can do just that.
We work hard to make it ‘So ALL Kids Can Play!’
Over 65,000 kids have been given the gift of sport and helped them get off the sideline and into the game, since opening our doors in 1995. Distributing over $19 million that was raised from the community, back into our communities sport clubs and organizations.
Through our sport registration fee assistance program, that is based on a qualifying application process, each qualified kid who is under 18 years old and registered in a sport program, can receive up to $375 per calendar year for his or her sport registration fees. With a goal to continue to raise more funds so we can support more kids, at a higher level of financial assistance, keeping up with the rising cost of sport.
What the research is saying:
We provide financial assistance through our sport registration fee assistance program to qualified kids as our core program. Outside of this we look to find ways to connect with the community in getting kids active and ensuring the low-income demographic is nurtured and supported when finding new opportunities to experience sport.
Our core program is an application-based program. Families applying to us fill out their portion, work with the community sports organization to fill out their part and then submit the application with the necessary income verification documents. Once we receive an application, the process to receive the funds takes 3-4 weeks. Once approved, the cheque goes to the sport club to assist with the approved applicant’s registration fees.
We have secondary programs that promote activity and sport as well:
Our sport registration fee assistance program is not possible without financial support from the community. We rely 100% on community raised dollars through individual donors, corporate donors, grants, foundations, KidSport Calgary fundraisers/campaigns and third party events. Being a local non-profit organization, funds raised in Calgary and Area, stay in Calgary and Area.
Our greatest need is to continue to grow our donor pool and seek out new fundraising dollars so we can continue to meet the demand we have here in Calgary and Area. Our cause has maybe never been more important as we help kids get back to the activities and positive mental, physical and social benefits they have missed during the pandemic. Become part of our great network of donors and partners and help us give some deserving young children in our community a chance to participate in organized sport.
Ways to get involved:
Join us in investing in the lives of local kids who need us most, investing in our future and investing in our community on child at a time.
How does your contribution make an impact?