The summer of 2020 marked an exciting milestone for MCASS. The Scarborough Simbas Soccer program was launched to provide underprivileged, at-risk, refugee and newcomer youth ages 7-12 from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds with an amazing opportunity to participate in organized sport for free. The camp-style program was offered on Saturday mornings from 9-12 for a duration of 10 weeks. Each participant received high quality gear including a uniform, ball, and training aids, building a sense of team, belonging, and pride. Sport was used as a tool to improve their social, physical, and emotional well-being by fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment.
The program was able to develop critical life skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and social skills while contributing to the healthy development of their physical and emotional well-being. The Simbas provided a great sense of community by fostering a welcoming atmosphere and promoting friendship building. Participants saw themselves reflected in the diversity of their coaches and volunteers which provided inspiration. Language barriers often encountered with diverse groups were overcome with multilingual coaches and volunteers.
The sessions included various fun, yet competitive activities. The activities allowed the participants to build their physical literacy skills and develop a love for physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices. It is our core belief that when activities are fun, engaging, and relevant to a child’s interests, they are more likely to take responsibility and ownership over their physical health leading them to remaining active in the long-term. As a result, our program aims to assure we develop long-term athletes who enjoy the sport and can use their positive attitude to uplift and empower those around them to also do so. Community was further promoted by also including the parents and families in the nutritious meals that were provided at the end of each session. We aim to continue to provide excellent services and continue to benefit our resilient community through innovative health and wellness programs.