Our program provides something positive for kids 3:30-5:30 pm—the most important time in a child’s day, according to research. We partner with Edmonton’s highest needs elementary schools to enable kids to play during this critical period, so there’s no time for them to get into trouble. When the final bell of the day rings, the kids can just play.
Here’s how it works: Teachers, principals, and school staff volunteer to run the programing, and Free Footie does the rest. We design the programs, running training for volunteers, book facilities, and buy equipment. We also plan the transportation, pay for it, and organize big play festivals complete with medallions and trophies.
Currently, Free Footie operates two afternoons a week during the school year. But we have big plans. We are working to add more days of play each week, and we are expanding beyond soccer so kids can do a wide variety of activities such free hockey, free basketball, free football and hopefully one day, free music. One thing won’t change, though: All kids get to play, regardless of their physical limitations or their family situations.
We do this because we love kids. Free play is not the end goal; it is simply our incentive to create change. Through play, we can surround kids with role models and teach them leadership, respect, and commitment. Our partner schools see our kids improving their grades, behaving well, and attending classes so they get to take part in the fun at the end of the day.
The power of play is truly amazing.