In times like these, our partners make us stronger
The Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) has been a valued partner of Right To Play’s Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program since 2014. “Right To Play and the PLAY Program are strongly aligned with SEF’s Indigenous Peoples and Community Resilience strategic funding priorities. Suncor and SEF are committed to learning from and with Indigenous Peoples to ensure Indigenous youth are heard, supported and able to develop their full physical, mental, emotional and spiritual potential,” says Dani DeBoice, Senior Advisor, Community Investment.
Over the years, as demand for the PLAY program grows, SEF’s support has helped Right To Play and their Indigenous community partners create more safe spaces and opportunities for Indigenous youth to rise above adversity and become leaders in their local communities. This strong partnership has helped Indigenous communities in Alberta and Ontario, to build their own capacity and the capacity of future Indigenous youth leaders.
“SEF’s support aims to contribute to reconciliation efforts that amplifies Indigenous youth voices and helps to support the Indigenous communities near Suncor operations,” continues DeBoice. “SEF believes in partnering and building relationships for the long-term. Through these relationships we strive to co-create solutions for complex challenges facing the world today. Right To Play’s outcome-based programming model works to create meaningful social innovation in Indigenous communities.”
The PLAY program partners with Indigenous communities and urban organizations to train locally-hired Community Mentors to deliver weekly play-based programs that promote healthy living, healthy relationships, education and employability life-skills. Community Mentors are trained and supported by Right To Play staff as they develop programs that are responsive to the individual needs of their community. Since 2010, the PLAY program has expanded from working with two partners to more than 85 across Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia, reaching over 7000 children and youth last year.
While the spread of COVID-19 has created physical distance between PLAY participants and Community Mentors, our commitment to community partners remains the same: to ensure children and youth have access to positive opportunities to play and learn. The challenges posed by physical distancing have been met with great creativity and we are pleased to share that 75 of the 85+ partner communities are running weekly programming with modified outcomes during this challenging time. It has been inspiring to see the efforts of Community Mentors to continue to provide playful and educational program opportunities. A full COVID-19 response and the impact on the PLAY program can be found here.
Please contact Corinne Frenzel, Development Manager, Canada Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.