Shania Twain helps Brampton kids at risk — and says she can relate
Not having the right clothes or quite enough money left her “insecure and inadequate,” says star.
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By Louise Brown
September 19, 2014
Beloved Canadian superstar Shania Twain surprised children at a Brampton school Friday by launching a new $400,000 enrichment program for kids at risk — and telling them she knows how it feels to need help.
“I did not look forward to primary school, maybe because I sometimes was wearing rubber boots in winter and I was cold, or my mother didn’t have enough money for groceries and I didn’t have lunch — I was often hungry all day,” the singer told 20 children at Sir Winston Churchill Public School who will receive free tutoring, healthy snacks, recreational programs and life skills coaching through the new Shania Kids Can Clubhouse program at the school. It is the first such program Twain has opened in the GTA.
“I used to feel insecure and inadequate because I wasn’t prepared for the school day — maybe I didn’t have money to participate in a field trip or sometimes I didn’t have the right clothing — so I’d love to eliminate that experience for any child,” said the multimillionaire who grew up poor in Timmins, Ont.
The program, a partnership between Twain’s charitable foundation, the Dilawri Foundation and the Peel District School Board, will provide $100,000 a year for four years to the school, which has been rocked by two recent tragedies. Student Nicolas Gabriel, 10, died in a townhouse fire in June and Grade 4 student Kesean Williams was shot in his home in January 2013.
“With what our school community has experienced in the last couple of years, this visit today is more than a great … chance to meet Shania Twain; it is also a fresh start for us,” said Principal Kristin Bergen; “a boost of morale and a sense of momentum as we move into a new school year.”
Peel school board chair Janet McDougald thanked Twain “because what you have given is not just money — it is success. It is confidence. It is hope. If a student comes to school hungry, it is hard to be hopeful. If a student does not have school supplies it is hard to feel confident. If a student needs extra support and the family can’t affords it, well, it is hard to be successful.”