Community support key to Creative Kids

By: Mei Shan Wan October, 2011

Only in its first year of operation, Creative Kids has already found success in serving Saskatchewan communities.

From the beginning, the Creative Kids program, initiated by SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board and community volunteers, received strong interest throughout Saskatchewan from communities eager to become one of the eight Creative Kids pilot committees. This response was a testament to the commitment of the Saskatchewan people striving to maintain a culturally vibrant province.

“We have been fortunate to have brought together some very committed community volunteers,” says Christie Nenson, Creative Kids Project Coordinator, “who have helped get the program underway.”

Launched in 2010, the pilot Creative Kids program was designed to support children and youth facing financial barriers to their participation in cultural and creative activities. As of September 1, 2011, Creative Kids supported over 600 participants, approving over $100,000 towards children and youth participation in cultural activities such as ballet, guitar, multicultural dance, voice, piano and more. The program is similar to the KidsSport program also run in the province through Sask Sport Inc., and is part of the Give Kids a Chance charity.

“We are very pleased that the need for this program has been validated,” remarks Nenson. “The interest far exceeds our anticipated expectations.” The Creative Kids program provides up to $750 per child, per year, to children who meet eligibility guidelines.

In May 2011, Creative Kids took time to celebrate its success, along with its pilot communities, at its first annual gathering held in Saskatoon. Volunteer committee members from around Saskatchewan took this opportunity to network and share their experiences with each other.

“Comments from the gathering helped confirm the positive impact Creative Kids was already having in communities, “explains Nenson. “Creative Kids committees are already receiving applications, distributing funds and doing their own fundraising.”

While the Creative Kids program started with some seed funding from the 2010 Saskatchewan Legacy Fund, it is actively working to build partnerships with more corporate sponsors in order to help more kids. A three-minute video and 30 second public service announcement were produced in the spring and will continue to be featured in Creative Kids fundraising and promotional efforts. In July, Creative Kids was able to air their video on the big screen at the Craven Jamboree, which helped to raise awareness, funds and future partnerships. Corporations, such as SGI, GreatWest Life, the City of Saskatoon and others have already pledged their support.

“We have many more kids to help,” says Nenson, “so we will continue to raise the funds needed to ensure all kids who want to participate in cultural activities get the chance at a creative future.”