Since 2010 Active Mind and Body (AMB), a local not-for-profit, has been committed to helping kids in Toronto and York region realize their full potential. Through its innovative, after-school programs that combine the arts, academics, and athletics, it strives to meet this goal.
Founder Sagu Vinothachandran, was inspired to create the organization through a combination of her commitment to community engagement and her own experiences as a parent. She faced gaps in the existing education system, when it came to offering her children a balanced education, and sought to address them through AMB.
Sagu’s passion for the arts, in particular, comes from her extensive training in dance, singing and the violin. She feels it is important for all children to be exposed to the arts.
To date, the organization has been able to implement after-school programming, and run a successful summer camp in Flemingdon Park, one of the priority neighbourhoods in Toronto. These initiatives help newly immigrated children in particular, as they develop a sense of belonging in the community, and increase their self-esteem. AMB also supports students by providing them with volunteer and work opportunities which allow them to gain leadership and mentoring skills.
In order to ensure that low-income households can afford the camp, without compromising the care their children receive, the weekly fee is kept low. Obtaining the funding to ensure that this can be done has been the most difficult obstacle AMB faces. As a fairly new organization, another challenge is getting the word out to schools and parents about their programs.
According to Sagu, collaborations and supporters (volunteers and donors) are key to their success. Collaborating with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has made it possible for them to carry out their work and they will be continuing to work with both the TDSB and York Region District School Board to carry out their mission.
You can support AMB by helping to raise awareness about the organization in your own neighbourhood, donating, having your organization sponsor AMB’s operations, or volunteering with AMB’s various committees. For more info, contact AMB.