Families are encouraged to donate outerwear to help build clothing libraries at 46 local elementary schools
MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kamik, a leading footwear and apparel manufacturer, will kick off a donation drive for Earth Day Canada’s Outdoor Play and Learning program (OPAL) to provide children with the apparel and shoes they need to play outdoors during the school day – no matter the weather. With the help of local families, the donations will be used to install clothing libraries in 46 Toronto elementary schools participating in the Earth Day Canada OPAL program – Canada’s first program that aims to make outdoor play an integral part of the school day.
An alarming 9% of children get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day, according to a recent study from Ryerson University. Together, Kamik and Earth Day Canada aim to increase this statistic by collecting some of the essential gear kids need to stay warm and comfortable while playing. OLLY Shoes locations throughout Toronto and Burlington will provide donation bins in store throughout the month of October, allowing families to donate new or gently used winter coats, rain gear and footwear for children ages 6-12 years.
“We believe all children should play outside freely every day in order to develop critical physical, social, emotional, creative, and logical skills that will last a lifetime,” says Caroline Piche, Sr. Brand Manager of Kamik. “We are thrilled to be working with the OPAL program to provide children with the necessary gear so they can comfortably engage in outside free play during the school day.”
Kamik’s dedication to increase awareness surrounding outside free play started in 2018, when the company kicked off its #FreeYourPlay movement. The initiative serves as an invitation for parents to step outside the overcrowded repetition of their family’s daily routine and rediscover an offline-no-agenda creative balance with their kids. In addition to collecting donations for the participating schools, Kamik will be donating over $25,000 worth of footwear and apparel to help complete the clothing libraries at the highest needs schools and inspire meaningful play.
“Outside free play has been disappearing from childhood for decades, and we’re glad to have found a partner in Kamik to support our shared mission to bring free play back to schools and families,” Cristina Greco, Interim Executive Director at Earth Day Canada. “Kamik’s commitment and contribution to our Outdoor Play and Learning program this fall will help us bring to life clothing libraries across the city to inspire imaginative play and outdoor adventures for so many students.”
The mission to bring back outside free play to children will not end once the closets are filled. Kamik and Earth Day Canada teamed up earlier this year to launch a series of POP-UP Adventure Playgrounds to provide an opportunity for children to create something out of nothing and direct their own play with a collection of natural and upcycled loose parts such as straw bales, rope, spare tires, kitchen utensils, and sand. Last weekend, Kamik also presented the launch of Outdoor Play Canada at the Breath of Fresh Air Summit in Ottawa.
For more information about Earth Day Canada’s OPAL program, and a list of participating OLLY Store locations, visit Earthday.ca/Earthplay/Schoolplay. For resources on how to bring unstructured outside play to your own family and community, visit Kamik.com/FreeYourPlay.
Kamik is a leading footwear and apparel manufacturer on a mission to bring unstructured moments of Outdoor Free Play back to families worldwide. True to its 120-year Canadian heritage, Kamik has a special connection with the outdoors and creates a complete line of comfortable, versatile footwear and apparel for the whole family. Rugged, dependable and durable, these products keep playful feet dry and warm year round, from the first spring puddle jumps to the last wintry snowball fight. Kamik’s Montreal-based parent company, Genfoot, boasts a century-long history and about 400 employees in its plants across Québec, Ontario and New Hampshire. Kamik footwear is available in over 10,000 outlets in more than 40 countries. Learn more at http://www.kamik.com and join the movement to #FreeYourPlay by following Kamik on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Earth Day Canada
Founded in 1990, Earth Day Canada is a national charity that inspires and supports people across the country to connect with nature and build resilient communities. We lead an annual Earth Day campaign in conjunction with free, year-round, award-winning programs that get people of all ages outside, interacting with the environment — this, in turn, fosters an intrinsically motivated, enduring commitment to stewardship and conservation. We established the Outdoor Play and Learning program in 2016 to bring a comprehensive play strategy to schools across Canada. The first of its kind in Canada, this program is designed to make play an integral part of the school day by encouraging children to engage in self-directed outdoor play and explore their imaginations, no matter the weather. By supporting creative and diverse play experiences, children can explore their imaginations, their physicality, their friendships, and the world around them. Learn more at earthday.ca