Thousands of people will be clamouring to see Shania Twain light up the stage on Sunday and Monday nights in Regina, but on Saturday she took to a smaller stage – helping to open a new Shania Kids Can Clubhouse.
“I’m very happy to be able to give back directly through my music, and through what I do every day professionally,” said Twain. She stood, beaming, in front of a packed room filled with teachers, onlookers from the school board and the Dilawri group, and the kids currently in the program.
The clubhouse is at Judge Bryant School in east Regina. It’s a program meant to give underprivileged kids a leg-up and help confront adversities like poverty, abuse, and dysfunctional lifestyles – things Twain knows about all too-well from her own childhood.
“I wanted to do something I could relate to. I wanted to give back in a way that was personal for me, and that I could genuinely share my experience … it was a promise: someday I will change things for people like me and people like my family.”
Twain said if she’d had a program like this when she was a kid, she might have had more confidence.
“Maybe that would have given me a little more self-confidence to ask questions, or read in front of people … I would have been grateful, I think, just to not feel alone and to be with everybody as a group.”
The kids presented her with gifts: a gratitude jar, and a t-shirt with all their handprints on it in red paint to thank her for bringing the program to their school.
One of the kids who got to meet Twain was Rakia Kaiswatum. She bounced back and forth on her heels with excitement after she learned they were all invited to the concert Monday night. The nine year old said she listens to Twain all the time, and her favourite song is ‘Man! I feel like a woman.’
“I think this is the best day of my life, that I saw her,” said Kaiswatum with a grin.
As for the clubhouse, Kaiswatum said she likes how they get to go on field trips, and that she gets to play with other kids and make new friends.