On Thursday March 2, the Ottawa Senators Foundation are hosting their annual telethon. A show dedicated to sharing stories about people and programs making a difference in our community.
Meet the Earl Jones.
For a child, there is nothing quite like stepping onto the ice for the first time. But for some children, those first few strides might be a little more difficult. Unfortunately, many kids are limited by financial strain, physical challenges or social barriers.
That’s why the Ottawa Senators Foundation is committed to breaking down these barriers in the Ottawa area. This is the inspiration for the SENS RINK program.
To date, the Foundation has built nine SENS RINKs in Ottawa, Gatineau and Smith’s Falls; almost halfway to its goal of 20. But the facilities themselves are just part of the initiative. The program supports minor hockey leagues, learn-to-play programs, events and tournaments, benefiting more than 10,000 kids in the Ottawa area.
Alexander Park is one of the areas that has benefited from the SENS RINK so far. Earl Jones works closely with the community, and sees the effect of the facility first-hand.
“This SENS RINK is more than just an arena, it will become a place for members of the community to come together and share their unique cultural backgrounds,” said Mr. Jones. “Children and their families will create lasting memories here. The SENS RINK will be a game-changer for this community.”
In addition to providing a place for kids to skate, play and learn more about hockey, the Foundation also partnered with Canadian Tire in creating the I Love to Skate program. So far, the program has provided more than 500 kids with new skates, helmets and skating lessons at SENS RINKS.
Many of the kids who benefit from the SENS RINKs and I Love to Skate programs may not have gotten the exposure to hockey or skating otherwise. Whether because of financial, geographical or social barriers, so many children experience limitations in learning to skate. These programs provide them with the opportunity to learn new skills, which will open many doors down the road.
Being a part of a team sport provides kids with the physical, social and mental strength to set them up for success later in life. The feeling of belonging is something we all strive for, regardless of age. These kids will grow up knowing they have a place in a group or on a team; it’s hard to put a price on that.