Although Canada has long been known as a hockey nation — with formidable athletes and dedicated fans — in recent years, basketball has battled for the spotlight. Have you become a fan? If not yet, there’s a good chance you will be.
The young talent surging out of Canada culminated with our nation’s first ever number-one NBA draft pick in 2013, so it’s no surprise that more Canadian kids are picking up basketballs.
For young players, however, the pursuit of success is often expensive. The cost of coaching, camps, and tournaments can lead to hard choices for financially disadvantaged families.
“Support is available, however, if you know where to look,” says Landon French, president of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. “Jumpstart works overtime to help give kids the resources they need to play their favourite sports.”
Last year alone, he explains, Jumpstart helped nearly 8,000 kids play basketball. Since 2005, the charity has helped over 1million children across Canada get involved in organized sport and physical activity. One of those kids was Juevol Myles.
After losing his father when he was only three, Juevol and his two siblings were raised by their single mother in Ajax, Ontario. He fell in love with basketball after watching his older brother Jermaine play. Hard work on the court led to success and Juevol was selected to play for the Canadian Junior Team. Unfortunately, the costs of taking his game to the next level became unmanageable for his family.
“That’s when Juevol’s coach introduced him to Jumpstart,” French points out. “It helped him cover the costs of his necessary training and camps – and this support soon led to a scholarship to play NCAA Division I Basketball. Even better, Juevol graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in psychology and is currently pursuing his Master’s degree. He also continues to play professionally in Europe.”
It’s easy to see that playing sports equips kids for life – and it allows them to pursue their dreams both on and off the court. Advisers remind us that sport teaches kids important life skills – like discipline, confidence and teamwork – and that can lead to life-changing opportunities like post-secondary education.
Did you know that June is Canadian Tire Jumpstart Month and you can support the initiative at your local store by donating to give others the gift of play? One hundred per cent of customer donations stay in the community to give kids like Juevol the chance to get off the sidelines and into the game. If you know a kid who wants to play, but is unable to because of costs, call 1-844-YES-PLAY or visit jumpstart.canadiantire.ca.