A group of high school students from South Delta and Richmond have come together to assist youth in northern rural communities.
Sports For Smiles has teamed up with the Inuvik Youth Centre in the Northwest Territories to begin working on projects that will positively impact youth.
The group has collected new and lightly used soccer equipment from local organizations, such as Coastal FC, and has transported the equipment with the help of Mehtoj Group Ltd. and Northwind Ltd. Trucking. The group is currently organizing leadership seminars for the teens of Inuvik, as a well as future sports camps.
The Sports For Smiles team is comprised of five students from South Delta Secondary and one graduate from McNair Secondary in Richmond who are all active members of their school’s leadership and athletic teams.
After learning about the lack of access to sport opportunities for many remote northern communities, Janeva Shahi felt the need to do something.
In 2017 she founded Sports For Smiles in an effort to mentally, socially, and physically impact northern youth by providing them with sports and leadership opportunities.
“There is a significant difference between urban communities such as Vancouver and Toronto, and more northern isolated communities that are rural,” said Shahi. “We are aware of the lack of sports opportunities in rural communities, especially those that are northern and isolated from urban areas. This is our main drive as we want Canada's northern and rural communities to have the equal opportunities that we youth in B.C. have. Instead of simply identifying these to two types of communities as different areas in isolation and moving on, we want to connect them and create a national community on the basis of sports and leadership.”
The groups’ goal is to select a different community ever year, open a Sports For Smiles chapter in that community, and positively impact a group of youth who would otherwise not have access to these sorts of opportunities.