Run through The Wever CORE in downtown Hamilton’s Keith neighbourhood, WAVE is a free after-school program that encompasses a wide range of recreational, social and educational activities offered to children between the ages of 7 to 13. Funded by the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton, a variety of activities such as swimming, arts and craft, sports, and computer training helps to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle for the youth.
“It’s safe for kids. They’re here being active,” explains Ashley, a member of the community who as a child attended the program regularly. “Without this program when I was younger, I probably would’ve been on the streets getting into trouble.”
Not only does WAVE provide a secure place for children living in Hamilton’s downtown core, but it also strives to instill a positive, healthy lifestyle in the participants.
“There’s a lot of promoting physical health, and building them up socially,” says Joahnna, WAVE’s Program Coordinator. “We offer sports and games, arts and crafts, dance and music and we hire skilled instructors to teach things like guitar and pottery.”
Many of the youth, including grade 9 high school student Hunter, enjoy the open-swim offered right inside the recreation centre.
“It’s a good place for some kids who don’t get a taste of what fun is,” says Hunter about WAVE. “I’m welcomed in an area I know is safe. It’s a place I can go to talk to someone.”
Without this program Hunter admits he’d probably be sitting at home doing nothing, but at WAVE he has the opportunity to improve his leadership skills, take a cartoon drawing class, play sports, and spend time with his friends. Hunter is looking forward to volunteering at WAVE, even after he’s finished his high school volunteer requirements.
Both Joahnna and Hunter are extremely thankful for the WAVE staff and to the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton for allowing them to have this wonderful opportunity.
“I’d like to say thank you,” says Hunter. “Without you guys, this wouldn’t be possible”
Interested in learning more about children and youth programs funded by the United Way in Burlington and Hamilton? Click here!
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