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KidSport offers Adopt An Athlete program in valley

Dasha Gaiazova knows the power of kindness. As a fledging 15-year-old cross-country skier new to Montreal, Gaiazova did not have the luxury of fast skis or a big budget.

Dasha Gaiazova knows the power of kindness.

As a fledging 15-year-old cross-country skier new to Montreal, Gaiazova did not have the luxury of fast skis or a big budget.

“We didn’t have much money, but I wanted to be part of the ski club,” Gaiazova said. “So my coach pulled out his old equipment and let me use it. For three years I used borrowed equipment; but if my coach didn’t do that, I’m not sure how far I would have gone.”

Today, the world cup cross-country skier wants to return the favour. Joining athletes Mike Robertson and Zina Kocher, she’s lending her celebrity status to KidSport Bow Valley, a non-profit organization that has helped more than 100 children get involved in sports in the region.

“Having access to sport has taught me so much about life,” Gaiazova said. “I want to give back to sport and inspire the next generation.”

After a year of existence, KidSport Bow Valley has expanded the number of children it assists as well as the breadth of sports available. However, since demand has exceeded expectations by more than a third, the group is increasing its fundraising efforts.

Hence, the launch of the ‘Adopt-an-Athlete’ campaign, a new effort encouraging individuals and businesses to fund a full season of sport for a financially challenged child.

“For every $500 people donate, it will give one child one full season of their sport,” said Bow Valley KidSport spokesperson Cheryl Borecky. ‘They can see the full impact of their dollars.”

The organization has received a lot of interest and contributions from the community.

“During our first year, our aim was to create awareness. Now we’re coming along the lines of financial sustainability,” Borecky said.

“All the money goes to helping the kids, not to administration. It stays in the community,” said Bow Valley KidSport board member Glenn Naylor.

A number of factors contribute to the increased demand, including the recession.

“As the dynamics of the community and the economics change, we see a greater need,” Borecky said.

Those who raise funds will receive a charitable tax receipt and recognition for every child they help with an emblem or sticker they can display. While the actual athletes will remain anonymous, the campaign lets donors know exactly where their money is being spent. In-kind donations are also being accepted.

“Originally, we saw kids apply mostly through hockey. Now we see all sports,” Borecky said.

Similar campaigns have been launched elsewhere in the province and organizers expect demand will grow. The province wants to increase the number of children enrolled in sports programs and KidSport helps remove financial barriers.

“It shows there is a need here. Being in a sports-minded community, we see kids from Banff, Canmore, Exshaw and Morley,” Borecky said.

More Olympic athletes such as Gaiazova are contacting KidSport to lend their support, and Borecky said it only helps the program. “They see the benefit of having that community benefit or support.”

To learn more about KidSport, visit or visit the Bow Valley KidSport Facebook page.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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