Thanks to a grant from the Manitoba Teachers’ Idea Fund, the Hanover School Division can continue operating an extra-curricular program for students with additional needs. 

The Fire Program (Fun Inclusive Recreational Events) include inclusive extracurricular activities to build peer connections and a sense of belonging. It was awarded $108,150 to allow the program to run for another year.

A group of students and teachers in the FIRE program at Hanover School Division.The FIRE Program was well attended last year in the Hanover School Division, says superintendent Shelley Amos. (Photo Submitted)

“It is extracurricular programming for a variety of fun activities targeting students with additional needs,” explains Hanover Superintendent Shelley Amos. “It's run by some of our clinicians, our speech and language pathologists and our occupational therapist. In particular, this grant will allow us to hire some additional staff to staff that program and, of course, purchase some materials. It was well received this year, well attended, and so we're pleased that we'll be able to keep it running next year.” 

There were four activity blocks: cooking, art, sports and esports. Middle and high school students from across the division participated and students were able to make genuine connections and friendships in the supportive environment.

A student painting an art piece with a teacher looking on.Art was one of the options for students through the FIRE Program in the Hanover School Division. (Photo submitted)

“The research our clinicians were doing would point the fact that sometimes students with additional needs have less access to programs in the community in general, to no one's fault of course, but we felt that that was a bit of a gap and there was a bit of a need there,” Amos says. “We wanted to provide something additional for those students.” 

Amos is pleased that the province has chosen this program for the grant. 

“We wish we would be able to get three to five years funding to guarantee that it'll run. One year at a time right now is how this particular fund operates, but we’re so pleased nonetheless that we'll be able to continue this year.”

Two students playing a video game, smiling.The FIRE Program included esports during the 2022/23 school year in the Hanover School Division. (Photo Submitted)

Manitoba’s Teachers’ Idea Fund is a five-year, $25 million investment in the ideas and innovations of front-line teachers, staff, and school leaders from across our province.