Promoting mental health & wellness through play, no matter age, race, gender or sexual orientation
To launch free prevention programs and bring innovative mental health & wellness approaches to the forefront of youth programming across Canada.
"Kicking It Out" is a program based on conversation and play. It is a weekly free and public addiction & mental health soccer program for youth and adults to overcome drug, alcohol, other addiction dependencies & mental health challenges. Our “Kicking It Out” program uses high intensity football, a ‘sponsor’ model, and peer-to-peer support to uplift the work of the individual in their journey to overcome drug, alcohol and other addiction dependencies & mental health challenges.
The goal of our work is to reinforce positive pro-social relationships between a group of participants either in recovery, at-risk, or just need a place to talk both on and off the field. The unique benefits of “Kicking It Out” is that this program incorporates traditional group counseling practices, such as active listening, sharing personal struggles, flexibility, and imparting constructive information, with a group exercise.
A Versatile Model
In a time where gathering has never felt more unachievable, “Kicking It Out” offers group counseling via internet video conferencing and when public health leaders and the government permit, in person. The flexibility of the program allows it to live in person and/or online. That is the reason our organization has chosen to launch virtual, with the goal of expanding this program to in person when the pandemic is over. Our foundation understands that in person conversation and exercise reaps the highest returns.
We understand that in person communication and interaction is the richest form of communication. Sign up is done online for both versions of the program. Virtual sessions can be conducted through a number of platforms, such as bluejeans, Zoom, GoToMeetings, GoToWebinars, MicrosoftTeams, and more. While the in person program takes place in donated or rented recreational facilities. The counselors, coaches and fitness experts are individuals who are donating their time to facilitate these sessions.
This program takes place on a weekly basis and is free to youth and adults who wish to participate. The program’s youth division focuses on professionally guided group counselling, followed by a professionally led group fitness session. These sessions can take the form of soccer drills, zumba, aerobic exercise, core exercises or yoga. These sessions are one hour in duration, with a 30-minute discussion followed by 30 minutes of play time.
Support for Youth & Adults
“Kicking It Out” has both an adult and youth division. The youth division targets all genders between the ages of 12-17. Youth and adult sessions are separate in order to address the unique challenges different age groups face when it comes to mental health and addiction challenges.
In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem. Of those, young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group. Today, there is a lack of support programs for people struggling with addiction to get the help they need, but we believe that recovery is achievable and sustainable through the power of sport, and group motivation.
Physical activity is a proven source for improving mental health among youth and adults. While gathering to take part in a group counselling session or a soccer game may not be possible in the near future, gathering remotely to talk through struggles and get moving is possible. This program creates safe environments for youth and adults to find strength in themselves through gaining a sense of community, receiving mental health guidance, and being physically active.