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Free to Grow 

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The Free to Grow Program nurtures the physical, social, emotional, and mental well-being of children and youth by funding recreational and life-skill opportunities such as sports, arts, camps, driver's education training and leadership development. In 2020 and 2021, we are delivered recreation kits to kids at home while activities were limited through our Free to Grow at Home initiative.

Free to Grow now also funds mental health counselling for children and youth, referred to us from CMHA.

Funding is available for children and youth, ages 0 to 18, who live in Guelph and Wellington County, whose families are living below the low-income cut-off. To view eligibility guidelines, click here.

 Apply for Funding FAQs

Why Do We Exist?

Because we believe that all children and youth should be given the same opportunities in life. By providing the children with these experiences we are not only encouraging a healthy lifestyle but also the opportunity for skills and social development, friendships, and community engagement.

How We Make a Difference:

  • Provide financial support for the activity of the child’s choice
  • Encourage children to try new experiences, and develop their talents, interests and passions.
  • Allow children to continue in the activities they love even when times are tough for their family.
  • Help kids enhance their personal growth and development by learning valuable life and social skills, developing friendships and engaging in their community.
  • Partner with local organizations and companies who want to help the children within the community.
  • In September of 2020, we expanded our program with mental health counselling support.

2020 Facts & Information

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1,531 children were supported through Free to Grow and Free to Grow at Home.

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749 recreational and life-skill activities were funded such as driver training and soccer.

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955 custom recreation kits were delivered to keep kids moving, thinking & creating all summer long!


The average yearly household income of our applicant families was $19,450.

Program Partners

By partnering with other organizations, we are able to create a more centralized system while also stretching our collective resources to meet the growing demand. If your organization would like information about becoming a Program Partner, you can click here to review our partner package or you can speak to Karyn Kirkwood, Program Director at 519-826-9551 ext 28.


Learn More

To learn more about Free to Grow, contact Maria Fitzpatrick, Program Assistant at maria@childrensfoundation.org or 519-826-9551 x.23