Creative Kids Attracting Interest

By: Mei Shan Wan January, 2011

As the end of the Creative Kids pilot year draws near, several communities in Saskatchewan have experienced the growing demand for this new charitable giving program. Interest is growing, and the town of Shaunavon, can attest to that.

“The word is getting out, and there is obviously a lot of interest,” says Wendy Thienes, treasurer of the Shaunavon Creative Kids local committee. As one of the eight communities selected for the pilot year, Shaunavon has received several funding requests and received numerous inquiries from not only their own community, but from the surrounding area as well.

Creative Kids offers financial assistance to kids and youth who would like to participate in art, culture, or creative experiences. Shaunavon recognized the importance of this program and what it would mean to their community. “When the pilot project came out, we were eager to apply. We had the opportunity four years ago to help disadvantaged youth. With the help of a grant; we created Take Part With The Arts. At that point, we knew there was a need for a program like this in our community,” says Thienes.

Prior to assembling their Creative Kids committee, Shaunavon had been active in providing assistance to kids in the area of dance. However, funding was limited. The Creative Kids program allowed the community to move forward with developing their arts and culture sector.

“The program raised awareness as a community. It made us realize that perhaps we were lacking a bit in the variety of offerings. We were focused in the area of dance and, it turns out, there is a good cross section from a variety of disciplines, such as piano, voice, organ, art, and language. We saw there were a lack of music teachers in our community and a lack of art lessons being offered.”

Now that the program and committee is in place, local residents can apply to be part of Creative Kids through the Shaunavon Creative Kids Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis to discuss applications and fundraising initiatives. While upcoming fundraising events are being organized for 2011, the committee has already started to receive monetary support from the community.

As a music teacher and the director of Shaunavon’s Culture Centre, Thienes addresses the significance of Creative Kids and the need for continued sponsorships and donations, “the more we can expose kids to arts and culture, the better. It’s lacking in our schools throughout our province and not everyone can afford arts and culture lessons because they can be very expensive.”

Fundraising is an important aspect of this program as Creative Kids relies on donations. SaskCulture provides operational funding, so that one hundred per cent of all funds raised for Creative Kids go towards supporting program participants. Creative Kids is a province-wide program and any Saskatchewan resident who meets the application criteria can apply. Children and youth with financial barriers can apply to receive up to $750 per year to contribute towards costs associated with arts and culture participation.

For more information, call (306) 780- 9469 or email: