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Family Fun Day at Genesis Centre puts focus on safety and inclusion for special-needs children

The goal at Calgary’s Genesis Centre on Monday was to make sure every single kid who walked through the doors felt included.

The All Sports Alberta Foundation hosted a Family Fun Day geared toward special-needs children.

“This is really special for us,” said Abdul Rahman, chairman of the All Sports Alberta Foundation board of trustees.

“We organize lots of sports or different activities. … But we realized that in our community, overall, we don’t have much for children with special needs.

“We thought we should do this.”

Nishail Shaikh, secretary for the All Sports Alberta Foundation and head of its youth program, also spoke of the need — and the importance of stepping up to meet it.

“Oftentimes, not many activities are exactly aimed or made for or accommodated to the needs of special-needs kids,” she said.

“So this event is aimed at doing that.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the northeast Calgary facility, stations were set up for children to take part in activities including basketball, cricket, field hockey, badminton, soccer and table tennis.

There were also stations for face painting, balloon twisting, a bouncing castle, a magic show, arts and crafts and board games.

Something for everyone, Shaikh said, with the idea of creating “a community where kids feel safe.”

“Every volunteer here knows that the main goal is to make these kids feel included, and give them a day to really remember,” she said.

“They’re very dedicated. We’ve been working weeks on end to make this event possible.”

On Monday, there were 40 volunteers, and more than 125 guests were expected.

It was the third year for the event, but Rahman said it’s something the All Sports Alberta Foundation has been working on since before that.

“The first planning was done during COVID, but then because of COVID, we really couldn’t do much,” he said.

“Soon after COVID, we had our first activities.

“We plan to continue to do this every year, and also in between, we will probably find other opportunities.”

More information about All Sports Alberta Foundation programming can be found at https://allsportsalberta.ca/.

With files from Tyler Barrow

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