VIU Teams Up With Community Partners to Ensure All Children Can Play

VIU Shed Your Threads So Children Can Play

VIU teams up with community partners to ensure all children can play.

February 19, 2020 - 1:30pm

Collection boxes have been set up around Nanaimo to gather gently used sports equipment and clothing for a community Swap Meet and Fun Fair that will be held on Saturday, March 21 at VIU to level the playing field for youth.

A $12,000 Community Wellness grant from Island Health will help get gently used recreational clothing, runners and sports equipment into the hands of children who otherwise might not be able to participate in recreational activities. 

“We want to reduce leisure barriers for children and families in Nanaimo,” says Joanne Schroeder, Professor and Chair of Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Master of Arts in Sustainable Leisure Management program. “Something as simple as a good pair of running shoes or a pair that fits and owning your own basketball can go a long way to encourage children to take part in recreational activities.” 

This year’s Shed Your Threads campaign is asking people to clear out their garages of unused soccer balls, basketballs, lacrosse equipment, ice skates, roller skates, baseballs and bats, tennis racquets, rain jackets, runners, soccer cleats and other kinds of sporting equipment to make available to families in need. VIU teams up with community partners to ensure all children can play.

VIU students and Mariners athletes have also organized movement and wellness challenges at community schools to help promote the collection campaign and the Swap Meet and Fun Fair event. 

Two years ago, VIU Nursing; Sport Health and Physical Activity Education (SHAPE); Tourism and Recreation; and Child and Youth Care students teamed up with community partners to create a recreation program aimed at encouraging elementary school children to become more active and live healthier lifestyles. The Recreation Prescription Project, funded by Island Health, was successfully implemented in three elementary schools and involved more than 100 student participants. 

The VIU students quickly discovered many children were not properly dressed to participate in recreation activities. They orchestrated a sports clothing donation drive and collected gently used running shoes and water resistant-jackets and other sports clothing to give to the students for a better recreation experience. 

This year, Shed Your Threads donation baskets have been set up for the collection of sporting equipment and clothing at five locations at the Nanaimo VIU campus, five City of Nanaimo Parks and Recreation locations and at local schools. VIU students will collect and sort the gear for the Swap Meet and Fun Fair, which takes place Saturday, March 21 from 9 am – 3 pm at the Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre (Building 108 at VIU’s Nanaimo campus). Donations can also be brought to the swap meet. 

“We are really proud to announce there is no cost to get into the event, and there is no cost for the gear,” says Schroeder. “We really want to support the community and level the playing field for youth by sharing, swapping and trading.”



Annette Lucas, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

O: 250.741.2020 | C: 250.618.7296 | E: 

VIU drop off locations: The Gathering Place; The Welcome Centre; Students Union; Building 250 – 3rd Floor; Building 210 – by office #332; Building 180 – by office #443

City of Nanaimo drop off locations: Beban Park Pool; Bowen Park Complex; Nanaimo Aquatic Centre; Nanaimo Ice Centre; Oliver Woods Community Centre

School District 68 drop off locations: McGirr Elementary; Forest Park Elementary; Pauline Haarer Elementary; Chase River Elementary; Ladysmith Intermediate

Tags: community | Recreation and Tourism Management | Wellness | In the Community

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email