A Bradford mother has recently launched a new non-profit organization, Under the Umbrella (Canada Ltd.), bringing unique events and opportunities for teens and kids in the community and neighbouring areas.
Founder Stephanie Sinclair registered the organization last month and immediately started booking guests to provide weekly workshops geared towards teens and kids with the aim of fostering positive mental health and skill development. She came up with her organization's name because she wanted to have a “one-stop-shop” with a multitude of services provided for kids under one ‘umbrella’.
“It’s why I ran for council – a lot of my platform was giving back to youth,” recalls Sinclair, who ran for the Ward 2 councillor seat last fall. “And umbrellas are my screen saver… I like them!”
Sinclair has lived in Bradford her whole life. She is a real estate broker with RE/MAX Hallmark in Bradford and refers to herself as a ‘soul-supporting parent’. She has a son, Ethan, who helps with her initiative as the Youth Outreach Coordinator. He is currently enrolled in Brock University as a third-year psychology major, minoring in women and gender studies.
“He’s going to be handling the social services,” says Sinclair, adding he is also the ‘Snapchat Guru’ for the organization. “I’m really proud of him!”
Growing up in Bradford, Sinclair describes coming from a middle-class family with two other siblings and very hard-working parents but never having a place to connect with her friends.
“It would have been nice to have a safe place to hang out in Bradford that wasn’t your own house,” Sinclair recalls. “We need a central hub for kids in town… there is nothing in this town for [them] to do!”
Sinclair adds that she would like to see a youth centre built one day with outdoor basketball courts, an outdoor public pool, pool tables, rooms to study in, and job resources specifically for teens – similar to a YMCA.
“My main objective is to instill a sense of community spirit and ‘small-town love’,” says Sinclair. “To me, I love the town I grew up in, and with all these new families moving in, I want them to think of Bradford as their hometown. In order to do that though, we need to engage the teenagers – thereby holding events and giving them more things to do.”
As the province remains in lockdown, many of the current events organized by Under the Umbrella are virtual, but Sinclair already has several ideas planned for when lockdowns are lifted, such as outdoor movie nights, ‘Bubbles & Bingo’, a timed obstacle course for dads, and teen dances. All events will be funded through donations from local businesses and will encourage parent participation to help raise additional funds to get the kids ‘cool prizes’ (like a Nintendo Switch).
She believes that if a teen does not engage with the town, they will not care to give back to that town. And so, by encouraging them at a young age to get more involved with their town, they will grow up to be leaders to rely on in the future.
“Healthy teens make a healthy town. It’s our youth that keeps the town together," says Sinclair. “I just want to give back where I can. This is where I feel my services fit the best – I connect with kids and I haven’t met a kid who didn’t like me.”
To view fun and exciting upcoming workshops, visit: www.undertheumbrellacanada.ca
To follow ‘Under the Umbrella Canada’ on SnapChat, find: undertheumbrella1