Creative Kids helps fund families for arts programs

An organization to help out families whose children want to attend arts programs in Weyburn is available to provide assistance if they are eligible, Weyburn Rotary members heard in a presentation on Thursday.

Regan Lanning of the Weyburn Arts Council provided details about Creative Kids, which is the arts equivalent of KidSport, which helps to remove financial barriers for artistic and cultural activities for children aged four to 19. The grants are available for those who want to participate in art, drama, music, dance and other cultural activities.

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“Their basic philosophy is that all kids want to express themselves,” said Lanning, who explained the program is open to families with financial barriers who could not afford these activities.

The program can provide partial funding for families that need just a little bit of support. Families can apply for up to $750 per child per year, and families can apply year after year if their child is enjoying the activities they are enrolled in.

“It’s the long-term benefits we really strive to see in a child, an opportunity for increased confidence, belonging and self-esteem,” she said.

Lanning chuckled as she noted that her parents tried putting her in minor ball (as her siblings are all athletes), but “I didn’t take to it. I still can’t catch.”

There are five application deadlines throughout the year, and the next one is on Friday, Dec. 6, for January programs and activities.

A challenge for Creative Kids is that they get more requests for funding assistance than they have funds available, and across the province they turn away as many as 800 children a year because of the funding levels available.

Some of the funds are from Sask Culture, the parent non-profit organization, which invests lottery proceeds into the program, with the rest fundraised by donations, corporate sponsorships, fundraising events and their annual holiday catalogue campaign.

In the Weyburn area, children who have benefitted from Creative Kids grants are taking, or have taken, lessons from the Dance Zone, Music Craft, Marley’s Dance Effex, the Signal Hill Arts Centre, De Tricky Feet dance studio, and with private music teachers in Weyburn, McTaggart and Yellow Grass.

Lanning estimated about 60 per cent of applications made in Weyburn are able to be funded. In 2019 so far, 12 applications out of 21 have been funded, with $9,000 in grants provided, but they had to turn away about $5,400 in applications. “They do have a limited pot they draw from,” she added.

“We know that’s not the full need in Weyburn, as some people are unfamiliar with Creative Kids still, so there are likely others who could be accessing the program,” said Lanning, noting there were 31 applications funded in Weyburn last year.

She noted that Creative Kids will have a booth at the upcoming “Gifted” show and sale (formerly known as 4 Festive Floors), to be held at the Cugnet Centre on Saturday, Nov. 9. They will have a booth beside the Canadian Mental Health Association’s booth which will provide gift-wrapping for those shopping at the event.

Lanning encouraged people to donate to Creative Kids to help them provide more financial support to families be involved in arts and cultural activities.

She has application forms available for Creative Kids, and if they are mailed in, they must be received by the deadline date to be considered for this next period of grants. The full list of eligible activities, and more information about the program, can be found at www.CreativeKids.ca, or in Saskatchewan, call toll-free to 1-855-277-9469.