Friday December 18, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Kiley Verbowski | Island Social Trends | Mary P Brooke, editor
School groups throughout the province are receiving funding to ensure extracurricular activities will be available when students can safely participate, thanks to more than $11 million in Community Gaming Grants.
“This has been a difficult year for everyone, and I’d like to acknowledge the hard work and creativity of parent advisory councils, which have worked tirelessly to find ways to continue to safely engage students in extracurricular activities,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs in a recent news release.
“These activities contribute significantly to students’ health and wellness by providing opportunities to connect, play and learn,” said the first-time island MLA who has skyrocketed right into the BC NDP cabinet.
Community Gaming Grant funds:
More than 1,300 parent advisory councils (PACs) and district parent advisory councils (DPACs) in the province are receiving funding through Community Gaming Grants in the 2020-21 school year. Schools receive funding each year through PACs and DPACs to fund activities that benefit the social, cultural and physical health and well-being of students.
Students in K-12 receive support for extracurricular experiences such as student publications, grad ceremonies and sports or playground equipment as well as writing, drama and music clubs through Community Gaming Grant funds.
“Currently it is very difficult for PACs to raise funds in their communities,” said Andrea Sinclair, president, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “Continued financial support from Community Gaming Grants enables PACs/DPACs to reduce the burden on parents at the school level and ensures PACs can continue to support activities for students and parents, which will be much needed in the coming year.”
The Community Gaming Grants program distributes $140 million each year to support approximately 5,000 not-for-profit community organizations throughout the province.
The program has made it a condition that all grant funding this year during the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency complies with the provincial health officer’s orders and provides flexibility for organizations to delay project and service delivery until they can do so safely.
To support vulnerable British Columbians during the COVID-19 crisis, in March 2020 the Province provided a $3-million emergency grant from the Community Gaming Grants program to Food Banks British Columbia. They did so without changing their program budget for the 2020-21 academic year.
“Now more than ever, we need to support our kids so they can safely participate in activities that promote their physical, social and emotional well-being,” said Jennifer Whiteside, who is the new Minister of Education, following the October 24 general election.
“While things look different this year, BC PACs are doing wonderful work to ensure students have extracurricular outlets where they connect with each other and share the things they enjoy together,” said Whiteside.