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KidSafe: Summer program begins, KidLink ready for 2nd year

Posted by SVP Vancouver

Summer is certainly the busiest time of the year for KidSafe: their full-time Summer Program began June 30th and runs until August 22nd, keeping vulnerable children safe, learning, and having fun throughout their summer break.

A total of 310 children from six different elementary schools (Mount Pleasant, Admiral Seymour, Sir William MacDonald, Queen Alexandra, Grandview, and Florence Nightingale) will participate in the program, five days a week from 8:30 am – 3:00 pm, mimicking regular school hours.  All of KidSafe’s children are recommended to the program by a professional (ie. principal, social worker) and considered vulnerable for any variety of reasons, from being new Canadians, to parents working full-time, to living in poverty.

KidSafe’s summer program provides breakfast and a delicious, healthy hot lunch made in the school’s kitchen from scratch. The program’s activities are broken down into five different pillars: literacy (ie. buddy reading, composing lyrics); health and wellness (ie. sports, cooking classes); arts and culture (ie. making aboriginal drums); science and nature (ie. gardening, field trips to the aquarium); and a leadership program for Grade 6 and 7 students which includes a career fair to inspire these young minds to consider their career goals.

Summer is also the time of KidSafe’s annual Golf tournament, their biggest and most planning-intensive fundraiser of the year, proceeds which fittingly cover the cost of the Summer Program. Many SVP Partners are regular golfers in the tournament. This year, KidSafe aims to raise even more than the $112,000 it achieved in 2013. The August 20nd event is almost sold out, so interested golfers should sign up immediately.  More details can be found here.

Come September, the same grade sevens from the Summer Program will be enrolled in KidLink to help transition them into supportive networks as they begin secondary school. Funded by SVP, KidLink’s first year in operation proved to have a significant impact on the thirty youth it served. Angela Lau, Program Coordinator, matched each youth with one or more programs they expressed interest in. Thirty-three different Partner Programs delivered services that the youth would not otherwise have been able to afford. Some notable achievements include: one boy qualifying for an under-14 Gold soccer team; a budding musician registering for a full term in the Sarah McLachlan School of music; a young girl seeing a child and youth mental health technician to help overcome her anxiety; another young athlete qualifying for the North American Indigenous Games for basketball.

As these youth move into Grade 9, Angela’s time will be primarily reserved for the new KidLink youth but she will meet with KidLink alumni once a month in a group setting to ensure they are continuing to participate in their programs and receive support.

KidSafe has submitted its request to SVP for the second year of KidLink’s funding, a $45,000 infusion which will cover approximately half of the program’s total costs. KidSafe is seeking additional funding from local corporations and foundations to cover bus passes and has secured other donors. SVP’s grant will allow it to develop and expand these types of relationships to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the program.

Eight SVP Partners are proudly involved with this Investee, with Gaylean Sutcliffe and Geoff Howard as Lead Partners. KidLink will serve an estimated forty youth in the upcoming school year, keeping them occupied in healthy pursuits during the challenging transition to high school.