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General Wolfe receives exercise equipment

General Wolfe School students can stay active at home.

On Jan. 29, former Winnipeg School Division teacher Brian MacKinnon and his family donated 50 home fitness kits to the junior high school. MacKinnon is the director and founder of the Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program, a registered charity that provides free YMCA-YWCA memberships to inner-city students.

“We’ve spent $700,000 sending inner-city kids to the Downtown Y since September 2002,” said MacKinnon, who taught at R.B. Russell Vocational High School for 23 years. 

Each home fitness kit includes push up bars, an ab roller with a knee pad, hand grippers, slider discs and an adjustable jump rope. The Y-Not? charity also recently delivered home fitness kits to St. John’s, Churchill, Gordon Bell, R.B. Russell, Kelvin, Argyle, Children of the Earth and Niji Mahkwa schools. 

“Brian and our son Arthur put their heads together and thought about what we could do to keep kids fit while the gyms are closed due to COVID,” said Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon.

Taylor Hunter, a phys-ed teacher at General Wolfe, said she’ll provide her students with a tutorial on how to safely use the home work-out kits.

“A lot of our kids rely on school sports as their afterschool activity, so without those, they’re really lacking,” Hunter said. “I’ve been giving them home workouts to do and sending them YouTube videos or fitness blogs I personally subscribe to. A lot of students don’t even have a skipping rope at home and are doing air skips, so these products are going to get a lot of use.”

General Wolfe principal Gwen McLean said she’s grateful to the MacKinnon family for their support.

“We’ve worked with Brian for many years and he’s always been a real supporter of our students being physically active,” McLean said. “So, when Brian contacted us saying he wanted to help our kids out, especially during the pandemic when our kids are cooped up inside, we knew it was a great opportunity.”

Each home fitness kit was purchased by Y-Not? at a cost of $43.99. MacKinnon is pledging a second delivery of 50 kits for General Wolfe.

“If we can’t send inner-city students to the Downtown Y, we can at least send a mountain of home fitness kids to hundreds of inner-city students,” MacKinnon said.


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