Brampton basketball program receives funding for Black-centred wellness program

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Published August 12, 2021 at 11:02 pm

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A Brampton not-for-profit that offers basketball programming has received funding for a youth wellness initiative. 

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that the Aspire 4 Higher basketball program, which is based in Brampton, will receive up to $400,000 funding for a Youth Wellness Program, which is 12-week after-school health promotion program in Brampton, Ontario. The funding will be distributed through the PHAC’s Promoting Health Equity: Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund. 

The funding will allow for a group of teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 to 34 to be trained as facilitators and mentors over the next two years.

“The facilitators will have on-court basketball sessions and in-class learning sessions where they will learn an evidence-based, culturally appropriate curriculum that includes information on mental health using an anti-Black racism lens,” the PHAC release states. “The facilitators will then implement the program three times a week to three groups of Black males aged 12 to 14.”

The federal government says the funding is intended to “promote mental health and wellbeing in our communities, and to address health equity by tackling systemic challenges and barriers faced by Black Canadian youth.” It notes up to 40 per cent of Canada’s populace has reported a decline in mental health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic some 18 months ago.

“All Canadians deserve equal opportunities to thrive, no matter their origin, culture, religion, socio-economic status, language or skin colour,” federal health minister Patty Hadju states. “The projects announced today are equipping Black Canadian youth, at the community level, with the tools they need to face and understand systemic racism and discrimination, maintain and improve their mental health, and develop skills to be leaders in their communities.” 

Founded in 2013, Aspire 4 Higher says that it offers “unique basketball programming is built off of Canada’s Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development.”Most of its leadership team played high-level hoops at the Canadian university level, including executive director Alena Addo (Toronto Varsity Blues, McGill Martlets), director of operations Alanna Garner (Toronto), and program advisor Tychon Carter-Newman (McGill, Laurentian Voyageurs).

Its programming is offered to children ages four to 17, and registration fees can be subsidized through A4H’s partnership with Canadian Tire Jumpstart.

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