Spring break and Lauren Powell’s schedule is packed. She’s in charge of running a kid’s day camp – a new, more responsible role for her but Lauren is not one to shun responsibility.
This year, Lauren was recognized by The Province newspaper as a Difference Maker because of Girls Got Game, an innovative program she started for inner city girls. She came up with the idea after attending Motivate Canada’s “Activate BC” program, which gives young people the confidence and skills to go out into their community and inspire their contemporaries to be physically active. Lauren took up the challenge and put together her plan for inner city girls. “I wanted girls to know about the resources they had in their neighbourhood and encourage them to take advantage of those resources,” says Lauren.
Girls Got Game is an eight-week program that introduces girls in the inner city – who wouldn’t have access otherwise – to a whole range of physical activities. Every week they try out a new sport: ice skating, swimming, yoga, basketball and most recently boxing. Each session starts out with a healthy snack, which not only provides energy but also teaches the girls about good nutrition for a healthy life.
The program was made possible with a grant from CLICK. That financial support allowed the program to be free of charge for participants; it covered the cost of weekly nutritious snacks and made it possible to hire guest instructors to provide expert coaching.
Now in her last year of high school, Lauren has put a lot of effort into her studies in the International Baccalaureate program and on the basketball court. As an inner city youth herself, she’s worked hard to succeed at school and in her community – and she’s determined that other girls like her deserve a shot at success.
With so many interests and passions, Lauren is not fixed on a path after high school. The sciences are an option, possibly marine biology. But since her work with Girls Got Game she’s thinking more about a career working with youth.
Whatever Lauren decides, it’s clear that she has created a legacy. She’s confident the youth leaders she has mentored in Girls Got Game can continue to run the program, so inner city girls will continue to have access to sports and get involved in their community for years to come.
Caring for our kids inspires Urban Systems Foundation to partner with CLICK
This year, for the first time, CLICK has a major corporate sponsor for Inner City Kids Week, May 9 to 15. That sponsor is the Urban Systems Foundation, the non-profit arm of Urban Systems, a BC-based engineering consulting company that believes deeply in giving back.
The Urban Systems Foundation’s dynamic purpose is, “as a vehicle for our people to give back to their communities – a tangible expression of the spirit of generosity and appreciation which is integral to Urban Systems’ way of being.”
It’s the Urban System Foundation’s commitment to making a positive difference (locally and around the world) that led to their involvement with CLICK. Long-time CLICK volunteer Blair Smith, responsible for corporate communications and digital media at Urban Systems, feels strongly about supporting Vancouver’s inner city kids.
“It’s not acceptable that we have so many kids in Vancouver that don’t get enough to eat and don’t have proper housing. We can’t continue to turn a blind eye to it. If we don’t address it now, we’ll create generations of inequality,” says Blair.
The foundation’s spirit of generosity has expressed itself in a number of ways, sponsoring a Women in Science and Engineering event and donating bicycles to BC kids in need, for example. It’s also made a long-term commitment to projects in two Ugandan communities – helping to establish and maintain clean water sources and supporting the education system wherever the needs are most pressing, whether buildings or books.
The Urban Systems’ sponsorship means the costs of organizing Inner City Kids Week, CLICK’s key fund- and
awareness-raising event, will be covered, allowing CLICK to direct even more funds to programs for children and youth living in poverty in Vancouver.
“Kids are so vital to our vibrant communities,” sums up Blair. “They deserve our attention as a priority.”
We are happy to announce the following restaurants will be helping us raise funds during Inner City Kids Week
This year marks the 12th annual Inner City Kids Week in Vancouver, organized by CLICK. After CLICK launched in 2004, we asked the City of Vancouver to proclaim a special week in May to draw attention to the needs of children living in poverty in our city.
What has struck me over the past 12 years is how deeply shocked people are to learn that 1 in 5 children in BC live in poverty. Many just cannot believe that a city as ostensibly wealthy as Vancouver can have thousands of kids going to school hungry – kids that lack the stability and opportunities that will give them a shot at breaking out of the poverty cycle.
What has given me faith (while we all wait for the systemic changes that can drastically reduce poverty in BC) is the generosity of our donors. The number and diversity of those donors have grown considerably in 12 years.
Whether it’s Crofton House School or Urban Systems, our lead corporate donor this year, or the increasing number of individual donors, people “get it” in their minds and hearts: every kid counts in Vancouver.
In 2016, CLICK’s goal is to raise $100,000 for the programs we fund that make a big difference to Vancouver’s inner city kids. We’re aiming high for our kids – and we believe caring Vancouverites will help us go all the way.
Thanks for caring,