Fee Assistance For Divorced Moms & Dads During Tough Economic Times
Has your divorced family fallen into harsh financial circumstances? Are you fretting that your kids will miss out on important activities like sports, day camps, trips to the science center/zoo, because you simply don’t have the money?
You aren’t alone….especially here in Calgary, Alberta, where I live, and an estimated one in nine adults are out of work; this translates to over 100,000 people being jobless in a city of one million. Thus, I’m writing this article to provide you with information and resources that might help you. Many organizations offer fee assistance, and your family may be eligible.
The following information applies mainly to Albertans and Canadians. But there’s a strong chance that financial support is available where you live too, be it the United States, Australia or a European country. The challenge is to figure out where and how to find such support.
So please use my prompts as guidelines. And if you’d like to add any resources you know of in your particular city/country, please add them in the comments section below this blog post.
1. Check with your city’s sports and recreation centers.
By googling “city of Calgary” and “fee assistance recreation,” I quickly discovered that my city offers a subsidized program for low-income families. This program provides free use of their city-wide, recreation center facilities for up to forty visits within one year’s time. They also offer reduced rates for the city’s recreation programs – we’re talking 10% of the cost for programs such as dance, swimming, martial arts, even skating. This 10% cost ALSO applies to DAY CAMPS. They also provide a few free passes to city attractions whose memberships or day rates you can’t afford, ie, The Calgary Zoo.
To apply you must complete their application forms and provide proof of your financial circumstances, ie: bank statements, child support/spousal payments, monthly bills including utilities, mortgage/rent, insurance etc. For circumstances that are more difficult to explain, you can also enclose a personal letter that details your family’s situation.
2. Check your local YMCA Chapter
The YMCA offers severely reduced membership and program costs to families in need, which are valid for three months (after which you can reapply if necessary). Their financial assistance applies to day camps and all registered programs and sports activities as well.
The YMCA in Calgary does interviews on a walk-in basis for anyone who wants to apply. You simply need to look at their interview times online and bring in the documents/household bills they request. A YMCA representative will sit down with you, review your situation, and decide based on your numbers, the kind of discount you’re eligible to receive.
3. KidSport Canada
KidSport Canada is all about making sure that ALL kids have the opportunity to participate and grow through sports involvement. They have chapters in most major cities in Canada. Each family is eligible to receive $250 for each child during a calendar year that can be applied to sports, required equipment, and even travel to/from the activities.
4. Canadian Tire JumpStart Program
Similar to Kidsport, the JumpStart program aims to help kids participate in sports programs. During one calendar year, each child may be eligible for up to $150 towards the cost of a program.
5. Talk to other parents
Through talking to an acquaintance, a friend of mine found out about subsidized day camps at the Calgary Science Centre. Turned out this acquaintance had some clout and was able to get my friend’s kids in a week-long day camp for FREE.
One final note: Your financial circumstances may feel embarrassing to you, hence you don’t want to bring it up with other people. But remember – everyone goes through tough or super-tight times. Everyone. Right now during this recession, tens of thousands of other families are in the same shoes as you.
At the end of the day, this is about minimizing the effects of tough economic times on our kids and allowing them to continue grow and be healthy. I applaud all of these organizations and those who donate to their causes.
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