Sports gear sought to help native community

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By Julie Louie

If you are trying to get rid of old sports equipment cluttering your basement, Ceinwen Giles has your answer.

Giles, the special projects assistant for student services, is the university’s co-ordinator for a sports equipment donation drive for aboriginal children in poverty-stricken towns in northern Canada. The same program gathered 900 kilograms of equipment from Ryerson and four other universities last year.

“A lot of people have junk in their basement,” Giles said. “You don’t know how many pairs of skis people brought [last year].”

The program, called Sports Partnership between Universities and Northern Communities (SPUNC), was created by Giles’ nieces, Audrey, a student at Queen’s University, and Sarah, a student at Dalhousie University, after they worked on summer in the Northwest Territories and witnessed the poverty some communities face.

“Most people in Southern Canada take for granted that they can go out and buy sports equipment,” Giles said. “[People] in small communities don’t have access to hockey sticks like us.”
Donated equipment will go to Hay River Dene Band, a small native community on Great Slave Lake, just north of the Alberta border in the Northwest Territories. The band wrote a wish list asking for volleyballs, basketballs, badminton racquets, baseball gloves and hockey equipment.

Along with the equipment, the community will receive information about Ryerson and the services available to aboriginal students at the school.

All the equipment in good conditions that that is not on the wish list, Giles said, will go to either the city of Hay River or the native Canadian Centre of Toronto at 16 Spadina Rd.

Students can bring equipment to one of three locations; the Olive Baker Lounge, Aboriginal student services in Room A300, or at the main entrance of the Recreation and Athletics Centre.

Drop-off boxes will be in place from Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 30. For information about the drive contact Ceinwen Giles at 979-5000 ext. 6629.

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