July 20, 2006
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York launches unique social housing recreation and sport project

New program will be offered to more than 600 children from 400 families
NEWMARKET – Ontario Minister of Health Promotion Jim Watson and Thornhill MPP Mario Racco joined York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch this morning to launch a unique recreation and sport project aimed at children and families living in social housing communities.
The event took place at the John Fitzpatrick Steelworkers Housing Co-operative, one of six social housing communities in York Region that will be providing free sport, recreation and physical activities to children, youth and family residents on site.  About 20 children were on hand at the event in the Town of Richmond Hill to demonstrate a sampling of the activities that will be offered in the summer sport club program.
“This project will give children of low income families, in six York Region social housing communities, the opportunity to participate in sport and recreation programs,” said Chair Fisch.  “This project successfully eliminates barriers such as fees and transportation, and gives children, youth and families an opportunity to participate in sport and recreation programming.”
This project includes four components:
• Summer sport clubs
• After school recreation and sport programs
• “Try it, you’ll like it” clinics (e.g. karate and hip hop dance)
• Family wellness programming
“The McGuinty government is pleased to support local York Region families with a two-year Communities In Action Fund grant to deliver the social housing recreation and sport project,” said Minister Watson.  “This project is an excellent example of programs that build and enhance Ontarians’ opportunities to lead healthy and active lives.
“In our third year of the program, we continue to support programs like this one – last week we awarded $3.2 million to 158 local organizations across the province,” Minister Watson added.
Approximately $150,000 has been allocated to this 18-month project of which over $90,000 has been funded through the Ministry of Health Promotion’s Communities in Action Fund and over $60,000 by York Region’s Community Development Investment Fund.  The YMCA of Greater Toronto has been hired to deliver the programs.
“By working together, the Province, York Region and the community are providing physical activities and wellness programs to those who would not otherwise have an opportunity to participate,” added Chair Fisch.
The six sites chosen were based on a needs assessment, available indoor and outdoor programming space and the community leadership necessary to deliver the project. 
In addition, recommendations were made by York Region’s Community Services and Housing staff with agreement from the non-profit and co-operative boards of directors and representatives from the communities selected. 
In total, the project will be offered at two social housing communities in each of the towns of Aurora, Newmarket and Richmond Hill.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that children and youth who are involved in regular sport and recreational activities have increased self-confidence, higher self-esteem, an improved self-image and positive peer and social interactions.  These contribute to strengthening children, families and communities.
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 Adam Grachnik, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister
 Ministry of Health Promotion
 Phone: (416) 326-8497  Fax: (416) 326-8520
 Email: adam.grachnik@mhp.gov.on.ca
 Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 1238 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1238
 After-hours Pager:  (905) 830-3302
 Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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