So all kids can play

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One of our newer partner agencies is Kidsport Wood Buffalo. A chapter of the national Kidsport organization, this local group has been active for about 7 years. Earlier this year, they brought on Fatima Dhooma as their Chapter Coordinator; she joined us on IMPACT in early October.


The former President of the students association at Keyano College, Fatima was interested in staying in the community and finding work in the social profit sector. The opportunity with Kidsport Wood Buffalo beautifully connected her interest in community work with her passion for sports.

“I value physical education and physical health,” said Fatima. “I know how strong of an impact sports had in my own life. I know it shaped me as a person more than school, more than anything else.”

Fatima loved spending time on the basketball court during her high school years and was a proud member of the Miners from Composite High School. The physical discipline, teamwork, and pride of school all contributed to her growth and development as a person. Kidsport is all about making sure all kids get that same opportunity.

“Our mission is to do everything we can to ensure that all kids can play the sport of their choosing regardless of financial barriers,” said Fatima.

Thanks to funding support from United Way and the Canadian Red Cross, Kidsport is currently able to fund up to $600 per qualifying child. Once the funding application has been approved, a cheque is written to the sport organization.

“As an example, full funding support would cover about 30 weeks of swimming lessons,” said Fatima.

While they have base funding criterion, it is important to note that they consider requests for funding on a case by case basis.

“Every situation is unique,” she said. “If you have a financial barrier to getting your kids enrolled in sports or dance, we encourage you to apply.”

To access potential funding support, you are encouraged to visit the Kidsport website and fill out the application form.

“The important thing is to fill out the form completely,” suggested Fatima. “If we discover something missing in our review, it could cause an unnecessary delay.”

Kidsport Wood Buffalo has helped over 600 children get access to sports opportunities, equating to over $200,000 in funding. They don’t want any children to get left out because of a financial barrier.

“I know for a fact that I would not be the same person if I had not played sports,” she shared. “I’m a living example of the way sports can affect a child.”

As any parent of children enrolled in sports or dance knows, the costs for participation can add up. Registration fees, equipment, travel costs and other expenses can quickly become untenable for families. Kidsport is here to help, providing financial support.

“So all kids can play,” said Fatima. “That’s why we do what we do.”


Author: Russell Thomas

​Russell is a marketing and communications professional who has spent 20 years in Wood Buffalo working with the OK Radio Group, Keyano College, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and now with The United Way of Fort McMurray. A regular blogger, Russell's writing can be seen online ( and in multiple publications. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses throughout the community. Married to Heather and "Papa" to Dylan and Ben, Russell is a passionate spokesperson for United Way.