“I learned that I am brave, caring and confident” Rose* says, through participating in her community’s Right To Play afterschool program.

Rose, 8, is from a close-knit community in northwestern Ontario with a beautiful beach on Lake Huron. Her favourite subject in school is Ojibwe. “I can understand really well and my speaking is getting there,” Rose reflects. She enjoys dressing up in full regalia and shell dancing at pow wows, a skill that her mother taught her.

“I was really nervous because I didn’t know anyone. I was shy,” Rose remembers of her first day at program 3 years ago. But Rose soon began making friends through activities like learning to type, cooking classes, origami and the ‘no bullying zone.’ “Playing with each other helped make friendships easier” she says.

MLSE Hockey Clinic - Group Photo

Caleb, the program’s youth worker (Community Mentor), has seen a change in Rose since she joined. Quiet and introverted at first, now Rose shares ideas for make believe games to play with other youth and leads clean up at the end of every program day.

In December 2022, Rose participated in a three-day MLSE and Right To Play hockey clinic hosted by her community, where she was brave, caring and confident. “I had trouble breaking [on the ice] before the clinic, and now I can do it well!” Rose explains. Rose also took care of a friend after she almost hurt herself and helped her sister who just started playing hockey.

Today, Rose has many friends in the program and hopes to be an elementary school teacher in the future.

*name has been changed