Shania Twain has just made her long awaited music comeback with her fantastic new single ‘Life’s About To Get Good‘, along with the uplifting new track the 51-year-old also announced details of her first album in fifteen years; ‘Now‘ will be released on September 29th.
But music is not the only thing the country music legend is involved with. 4 years ago she officially launched the Shania Kids Can Foundation which empowers, inspires and educates via supportive programming designed for long-term success.
Here we speak exclusively to the team behind the organisation to find out exactly how the charity helps children in the US and Canada, what made Shania Twain want to launch the foundation, and lots more:
When did Shania Kids Can first become a thing?
Approximately 14 years ago Shania Twain launched a pilot project to address child poverty and hunger in Canada. Two schools participated in the pilot project – one in Dwight, Ontario and one in Timmins, Ontario. These programs are still running today.The success of the pilot program led to the creation of Shania Kids Can in North America which was launched in 2013 in Las Vegas, NV and in 2014 at several schools in Canada. The program has expanded significantly since it’s inception to include support in many areas of children’s lives.
How did Shania Twain come up with the idea of launching her own foundation?
Living in a dysfunctional household, Shania grew up with many disadvantages as a child. She learned at a very young age that not all children in our schools receive the same love, nurturing, guidance and stability in their home lives. Shania promised herself early on in her own childhood that someday she would help kids just like herself cope with their disadvantages and prosper in spite of those challenges. By supporting SKC Clubhouses, Shania Kids Can is fulfilling that promise.
How many children has the programme helped so far?
Shania Kids Can has helped hundreds of children who have participated in the SKC program since it’s inception. It is important to note that it is not just the children who participate in the program that are helped. Through the work that SKC accomplishes, the entire school population benefits from the program. Thousands of children have been shown support and guidance thanks to Shania Kids Can. Currently there are approximately 150 children enrolled in the Shania Kids Can program each school year.
Shania Kids Can helps children in schools get food, and help with hygiene etc, can you talk us through how kids and schools apply for help?
This in not a program where children would apply for help. Shania Kids Can works closely with their sponsors and elementary school boards to select a school in a community where resources are limited. Once a school has been chosen, SKC works with the school board, the Principal and school staff to identify the children within that school who are facing various difficulties in their day-to-day life. SKC has worked with professionals who have helped create a formula for student selection to ensure we are reaching those students who are most in need.
How many schools currently have a Shania Kids Can programme in place?
There are currently seven elementary schools with the Shania Kids Can Clubhouse in place across Canada and in the U.S. Shania continues to seek partners and sponsorship opportunities to expand the program so that SKC can continue to help at-risk children.
Is the charity hoping to roll out the scheme in the UK anytime soon?
For the time being Shania Kids Can is a registered Canadian charity and Shania Kids Can – US Ltd. is a registered 501(C)(3) charity. With the support of new donors and sponsors, SKC would gladly consider expanding its programs around the world.
What is the overall aim of the organisation?
The explicit problem that SKC is working to resolve is to fill a void in elementary schools where there is the lack of resources and programs available that support vulnerable young children living in poverty. These are children living within a household that may not be ideal or is wrought with dysfunctional factors. These children are too often left without the resources and support within the elementary school system.
The goal of Shania Kids Can is to create SKC Clubhouses within elementary schools that will recognize and assist students who may face difficulty in their home life and whose families may not qualify for social assistance. These are children who may be experiencing unintentional abuse or neglect outside of school that may not be obvious but whose social and educational experience at school is affected due to personal life issues.
It is well documented that poverty has many negative consequences for children that may cause life-long damage. Adverse childhood experiences include social, emotional and cognitive impairment. It can lead to disease, disability and social problems, even early death. We are working to combat these negative consequences from an early age.
The SKC program helps to eliminate some of the negative consequences for children by providing nurturing care in a safe and happy environment within their school by providing things like nutritious meals and snacks, a safe environment to discuss challenges they are facing at home and at school, access to counseling, social activities to assist in building social integration and security, provision of basic hygiene tools, assistance and one on one tutoring with academic schooling, necessary clothing items, school trips and guest speakers.
The result when providing for these children at a young age is that it will help them achieve greater self-worth and will contribute to the prevention of destructive behavior as these students mature. Our statistics show overall improvement in social skills, academics and mental health year over year with all children participating in the program.
Are there any fundraising events taking place soon?
There are many on-going fundraising initiatives happening in each community where an SKC program is running. These fundraising events help support and sustain the programs for years to come. In addition, there are initiatives with organizations such as the Rotary Club who are holding major fund raising events that will support the opening of SKC programs in their communities.
For more information on the work of Shania Twain’s charity Shania Kids Can does and how to get involved please visit their website shaniakidscan.com
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