The Urban Systems Foundation Pitches In to Help Vancouver’s Inner City Kids
CLICK (Contributing to Lives of Inner City Kids) launched in 2004, after founder Catherine Atyeo started the organization after attending a talk by Strathcona Elementary teacher, Alva Jenson. Alva told the story of a young boy who sat slumped and crying in the hallway at school one Monday morning. When she asked what was wrong, he told her he hadn’t eaten since Friday.
Childhood poverty and hunger are real issues in British Columbia, which has the highest child poverty rate in the country. The sad fact is that hundreds of children in Vancouver go to school hungry and lack other basics in life. After hearing the teacher’s story Catherine decided then and there to do something. She eventually launched a charitable foundation to funnel funds to small programs working to help kids in the inner city of Vancouver.
“We knew we could be most effective for the kids by helping raise money for these great programs,” says Catherine. “They’re doing amazing work.”
The kids of initiatives CLICK aims to help tackle range the gamut providing inner city kids with nutritious food, as well as access to safe out-of-school care, literacy support, sports, arts and camps.
Catherine explains it’s about giving youth living in poverty access to opportunities that other kids take for granted.
Inner City Kids Week A Success
Thanks to CLICK, the City of Vancouver proclaimed the second week of May each year “Inner City Kids Week”, and each year CLICK uses this time to host activities and events to raise funding and awareness for children living in poverty.
This year on May 11, the Inner City Kids Week kick-off event included a tug-of-war competition, which the Urban Systems Foundation helped sponsor. The contest took place in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Vancouver Police Department’s Chief Constable Adam Palmer and other VPD executives kicked it off by challenging a team of students in a “fun pull”. Then high school students from across the city took to the ropes with their VPD School Liaison Officers and pulled with all their might in the quest for a coveted trophy.
“It’s was so much fun,” says Catherine. “We got a lot of coverage and excitement.”
It Takes A Village
Catherine says that getting support for these events from groups like the Urban Systems Foundation are critical to helping kids in need.
“We really need businesses to participate we’re really grateful for the Urban Systems Foundation getting on board this year. It’s a cliché, but it really is so true that it does take a village to raise a child. We can’t be a great city if thousands of kids are left behind. We celebrate when businesses like Urban Systems say ‘yeah, we’ve got to help these kids.’ These kids are every bit as talented as any and they have their own hopes and dreams. They’re not just potential future employees, they’re potential future customers. We don’t want to see anyone fall through the cracks—it’s a sad waste of human potential. We truly appreciate the support from Urban Systems.”
Blair Smith joined Urban Systems last summer and is a past board member of CLICK and approached the Foundation in hopes of drawing attention to Inner City Kids Week. “I quickly began to understand the positive impact people at Urban are making in their communities across Western Canada, in March I presented some background information about CLICK and Inner City Kids Week to Marc Winer, who is the treasurer of the Foundation, there was no hesitation to support CLICK. That meant a lot to me especially as a new employee.”
CLICK is run by a volunteer board and hands out grants twice a year to programs run by other charitable organizations. Their goal with Inner City Kids Week this year was to raise $75,000. To learn more or to donate, visit www.clicktokids.ca.