Why Fitness & Literacy?
The Tale of Two Babies
Every day in Canada thousands of babies are born. Some are set up for success while others are born with disadvantages, which make it difficult for them to gain the tools to succeed in society. Below is why we at Start2Finish believe that fitness and literacy are the keys to shrinking the divide between the haves and the have nots and creating a better environment so that all Canadian children can thrive.
Two Babies, Two Fates
Two babies born on the same day. One is named Bryan and the other is named Jordan. Both are innocent and full of hope. They both have the potential to do and be anything choose. One lives in a small one bedroom apartment with his five family members. All his baby items and second-hand toys are hand-me-downs or have been collected from the local community drive. Each night his mother finds it difficult to put him to sleep or read to him as she works two jobs. The other lives in a spacious, detached home in a family friendly neighbourhood. All his baby items and toys were collected at a baby shower before he was born. Each night his mom or dad reads him a story and rock him to sleep after they return from their 9-5 jobs.
WHAT MAKES THESE BABIES DIFFERENT?
1 million Canadian babies are born into the legacy of poverty every year. Baby Jordan and Baby Bryan, to the untrained eye, look very similar, but if you look closer there are some key differences:
- As a result of Baby Bryan's family financial situation he will not have access to brain developing activities found in high-end childcare centres and as a result will be more likely to experience developmental delays.
- Like 61% of children in his situation by Bryan’s fourth birthday he will be less likely to pick up on reading as he will not have been exposed to children’s books his homes. By kindergarten he will be around 12-14 months behind in language and reading skills.
- As a result of transportation issues and lack of access to libraries and bookstores during the summer, Bryan will fall farther and farther behind his peers in school academically.
- Baby Bryan is more likely to drop out school as a result of the conditions created by his home and social environments.
WHY FITNESS AND LITERACY?
At Start2Finish we believe in closing the economic divide in Canada through fitness and literacy by creating safe spaces so that every child has the chance to succeed. Through our research we have discovered that the marriage of fitness and literacy increases wellness and academic achievement over time. Through fitness and literacy, the gap between the haves and the have nots is narrowed and provides better results for all Canadian children. Our Fitness and Literacy Model is rooted in volunteerism, children’s literacy, health, and education. Our community matrix, the engine that gives our programs sustainability, includes strong, lasting partnerships with businesses, schools and community groups, creating a “Pathway of Hope” that features comprehensive programs focused on academic achievement, physical fitness, nutrition and social interaction.