Kids get chance to play organized sports at no cost

Willie Brown (left) and Kirk Rookwood show off some of the basketballs and soccer balls donated to Peoples Community Sports by Sport Chek, which will be given to kids who sign up for the free sports leagues offered by Peoples Church on the west Mountain.
PHOTO BY: Gord Bowes

Willie Brown (left) and Kirk Rookwood show off some of the basketballs and soccer balls donated to Peoples Community Sports by Sport Chek, which will be given to kids who sign up for the free sports leagues offered by Peoples Church on the west Mountain.

Hundreds of kids who otherwise might not be able to play organized sports will be playing soccer this summer thanks to a west Mountain church.


The Peoples Community Sports program runs four leagues throughout the year — all at no cost to participants. “That’s our mandate,” says organizer Kirk Rookwood. “Free sports leagues for children ages 6 to 13.”


The sports program is operated by Peoples Church, a fixture on Mohawk Road West for over 40 years. Without a financial barrier, it ensures children get a chance to play organized sports, said Willie Brown, the executive director of the church.


The first free league was offered in the fall of 2010. About 120 kids came out for organized basketball. “We were surprised by the success and the need,” said Rookwood. “The parents came to us and asked if we could keep it going.”


They did and now there is a rotation of basketball in the fall, indoor soccer during winter, a spring basketball session and soccer in the summer. About 300 young players take part in each league.


Each season runs eight weeks, including a championship day, and there is a four-week break between each offering. That will change to a two-week break next year when Peoples Community Sports begins offering volleyball.


Indoor leagues are run at the church; soccer is played at Chedoke elementary school.
While the church covers the cost of the leagues, the program has also received corporate help, such as a donation of hundreds of soccer balls and basketballs from Sport Chek to be given to registrants, and grants from Canadian Tire Jump Start, SpecKids and the Trillium Foundation.


Getting the public’s support to win the SpecKids Change Challenge was very satisfying, said Brown. “That says a lot about the program,” he said.


The soccer season starts in the first week of July. On June 25, the players will meet their coaches and pick up their uniforms.


There are still some openings left for the soccer season; call Rookwood at 289-456-3342 or email krookwood@gmail.com for more information.


There is no geographic restrictions for participants, but most players live within walking distance.


Rookwood said there is also a need for donations of shin guards and cleats, and sponsors are always needed to offset costs.

As originally posted in the Hamilton News June 17, 2013 by Gord Bowes:
http://www.hamiltonnews.com/sports/kids-get-chance-to-play-organized-sports-at-no-cost/