Companies gearing up for the fitness challenge

Corporate citizenship is alive and well on the Rock

Managing your personal time, energy, and finances to leave room to do good in your community and be a good citizen is hard enough – so it’s difficult to imagine the hoops that companies have to go through in order to be good corporate citizens.

But, believe it or not, this province is full of companies big and small that give back significantly to their community. Take “Exile Island” for example – a corporate challenge that took place September 16th on Bell Island. The event, inspired by the reality TV show Survivor, saw teams (different companies) competing to raise money for The Children’s Wish Foundation.

Now corporate Newfoundland is at it again in the “Corporate Fitness Challenge”. Organized by MAX Arts. Athletics. Wellness., the challenge is pitting local companies against each other in a volleyball tournament and a fitness obstacle course challenge this coming Saturday. The event is all in good fun of course – and for a good cause. 100% of the entry fees and funds raised during the Corporate Fitness Challenge are going to the R.E.A.L. and P.E.A.R.L. programs.

R.E.A.L stands for Recreation Experiences and Leisure. The R.E.A.L. program, funded and run by the City of St. John’s, aims to provide recreation and leisure opportunities through programming and assistance to as many children as possible who are unable to participate in registered activities for financial reasons. The service matches children and youth up to the age of 18 with organized activities of their choice. P.E.A.R.L. is the Mount Pearl equivalent program (Participation for Everyone in Active Recreation and Leisure).

Sean McKenna is the Health & Wellness Coordinator for P.E.A.R.L. “The impact for the PEARL program will be that we will be able to help more children participate in a recreation activity of their choice. There is great need in our community for families with limited income,” he says. “Most times it’s not a choice between food, clothing, utilities because there is nothing left to spend on anything else. So a program like the PEARL Program is the only optionfor these families and their children. It about the Children!” From dance to basketball to music to martial arts, the twin cities hope that all children and youth are able to participate in the activities that they want to.

“”I am very happy and grateful to be able to enroll my children in extra-curricular activities. It is proving to be very beneficial to the children and myself. Being a single parent on a limited income, this opportunity is also helping my confidence and allowing me to cultivate friendships with other parents and feel that my children are not “missing out” because of choices I made.””testimonial offered to R.E.A.L. organizers from a mother a participant

For the City of St. John’s, the concept for R.E.A.L. was recommended as a result of the research undertaken by the Youth Task Force, which identified that financial restraint was one of the major issues facing youth in the community. The initial planning process for the development of the program began in February 2001, and was officially launched on March 14th, 2002.

Sherry Hounsell, Inclusive Services Coordinator for the City of St. John’s, says that the R.E.A.L. program has many benefits for children in its city. Among them are the obvious health benefits and the stimulation of intellectual, emotional and social growth. “These recreational activities can build positive self esteem and self worth,” she says. “Children gain a sense of achievement from mastering skills, which can lead to higher achievement and better results in school Leads to well-balanced, healthy and physically active children.”

“My son was someone who truly needed confidence and you helped him get it. Now he has a circle of decent, good friends. And when one of them are feeling insecure my son does everything he can do to change it. I guess he knows how it feels to hurt. That’s what life should be like. THANK YOU!”testimonial offered to R.E.A.L. organizers from the mother of a 12-year old boy

So how did MAX get involved?

Ryan Osborne is the Manager of Corporate Wellness Services at MAX. He says the company decided to organize this event as a way of giving back to the community. “MAX is a health and fitness provider and being able to organize and host an event such as this in order to provide funding and support to such great causes as the R.E.A.L and P.E.A.R.L programs seemed like a perfect fit.” MAX offers arts, athletics, and wellness programs to youth, and the company strongly believes in the benefits like those that R.E.A.L. and P.E.A.R.L. promote. In fact the company just opened a new fitness and conditioning centre and therapy clinic on New Cove Road last week. “Both of these organizations provide recreational and leisure funding for underprivileged youth in the St. John’s and Mount Pearl regions,” Osborne says.

The event is expected to raise $5,000 for R.E.A.L. and P.E.A.R.L., and already has its 7 participants lined up: Chevron, Pennecon, the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, Baker Hughes, Rogers Communications, the City of St. John’s, and theCity of Mount Pearl.

“This program exemplifies the philosophy “It takes a village”. Many parents of these children are often without not only the financial resources, but also a support system. In nurturing the child, you nurture a growing family.”testimonial offered to R.E.A.L. organizers from a mother of two participants

Corporate citizenship in Newfoundland & Labrador is alive and well. Know of a business in YOUR community that is making a difference? Tell us about your positive experiences with corporate citizenship below!

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