Aging Out of Foster Care

All too often, youth aging out of foster care end up homeless, are thrown into adult life before finishing high school, and have no-one to turn to in their 20’s. In BC, approximately 40% of homeless youth have some history in the child welfare system, and fewer than 35% have graduated high school by 19. But it doesn’t have to be this way, argues the Fostering Change initiative from Vancouver Foundation.

In their latest effort to increase public awareness and political will on this issue, the Foundation has launched a new campaign called WRITE THE FUTURE. The campaign invites the public to sign a petition to back more support aimed at improving the prospects of youth aging out of foster care.

The petition includes a call for financial support with basic living costs, relationships with caring adults for advice and support, and more opportunities for youth leaving foster care to connect and contribute to the communities they live in through creative, cultural, and volunteer activities.

“This isn’t about youth from foster care receiving special treatment” says Mark Gifford, Director of Grants and Community Initiatives at Vancouver Foundation. “It’s about access to the kinds of support young people typically get from their families well into their 20s. If it doesn’t make sense for parents to cut ties with their own kids at 19, why would it for youth aging out of foster care?”

A 2016 opinion poll by Insights West revealed that 92% of parents in BC provide their children aged 19-28 with a range of financial, social, and emotional supports. Most BC families contribute to tuition costs, rent, groceries, and connections to help youth find that all important first job. The BC public is on board with extending these kinds of supports to youth who’ve been in foster care – 71% were in favour of financial support with living expenses until age 25.

According to Vancouver Foundation, with a year to go before the next Provincial election there is a window of opportunity for community, political and business leaders to work with young people and commit to a plan that better supports youth aging out of foster care.

“As a community foundation, one of our roles is to give voice to groups of people that may have limited opportunities to advocate for themselves,” says Kevin McCort, President and CEO of Vancouver Foundation. “Young people leaving foster care deserve every opportunity to succeed, and signing this petition will show community, political, and business leaders that it’s time for change.”

Find out more about the campaign and SIGN THE PETITON at

CKNW Orphan’s Fund and Pink Shirt Day!

On February 25th, 2015, hundreds of thousands of supporters across Canada participated in Pink Shirt Day. $350,000 was raised as a result of the campaign organized by the CKNW Orphans’ Fund. In 2007, two Nova Scotia students decided to take action after witnessing a younger student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. The students bought 50 pink t-shirts and encouraged schoolmates to wear them and send a powerful message of solidarity to the bully. CKNW Orphans’ Fund was inspired by the story and since 2008 have raised more than $1.2 million for anti-bullying programs with the sales of Pink Shirt Day T-Shirts.

Eleven organizations have now been approved for funding for anti-bullying programs promoting healthy self-esteem, including:

· Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC: Anti-bullying programs

· Canadian Red Cross BC: Respect Ed – Rapid Response Prevention program

· Kids Help Phone: Anti-bullying professional counseling

· Kidsafe Project Society : Young leaders anti-bullying program

· Leave out Violence Society (LOVE BC): Youth leaders working with mentors to create anti-bullying workshops and social media campaigns

· YWCA Metro Vancouver:  Youth education programs

· Vancouver Opera Society: Stickboy – provincial tour to schools

· Eureka Camp Society: Kindness ROCKS school performances

· YMCA of Great Vancouver: Alternate Suspension Program – Surrey

· Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland: Go Girls Program – Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

· Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC: connecting youth with support, information and resources.

The funds were raised from sales of Pink Shirt Day T-shirts through London Drugs and, personal donations and corporate support including a large donation from presenting sponsor Coast Capital Savings.

What can YOU do to prevent bullying?

Test Your Fire Alarm

City of Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis has some tips for using Spring cleaning as a chance to ensure your home is safe from fire. Use these tips below for testing your fire alarm and get the whole family to be part of the action

Tips on testing smoke alarms:
· Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
· Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
· Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
· Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
· Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
· Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
· When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

To request a free HomeSafe Inspection or Smoke Alarm installation visit: or call 604.543.6780 for details.

Help Barbie Make Donations!

From the beginning of November through December 31, Barbie™ is placing loved ones first, by asking Canadian children to submit a heartfelt wish for someone special in their lives on the Barbie™ My Dreams. Barbie™ will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish Canada every time a wish is submitted. Canadians are also encouraged to spread social joy using the #BarbieWishes hashtag, and Barbie™ will donate $1 for qualifying posts to a maximum of $10,000. Barbie™ will also celebrate the season by granting one wish submitted online!

How to Submit a Wish and Make a Difference
This holiday season, Barbie™ is encouraging Canadian children to think of someone in their life who deserves something extra special, and to submit a wish on their behalf. Whether it’s a much-needed vacation for Mom, a chance for Dad to meet his childhood hero, or a day of pampering for Grandma, Barbie™ wants to know.

To submit a wish, children are invited to visit and either record a video message or draft a written wish using the Barbie™ Wish Card templates. Submissions will be sent to the user’s Barbie™ My Dreams registered email address, and the wish will then be forwarded to its intended recipient for them to share.
Spread the joy using the #BarbieWishes hashtag, and all donations will go to help bring hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. 

Hockey Helps Tournament

We all know that sports can bring people together in times of need, and as a country that loves hockey, why not use the sport to raise awareness, money and support for an important cause? Homelessness should be on the forefront of the minds of the entire nation and we should strive to provide services and support to those who struggle with finding a safe place to eat and sleep and call their own.

The Hockey Helps tournament, held on 28 November at UBC Thunderbird Arena, will host both men’s and women’s tournaments to support those who are currently homeless. Participants register teams and play while raising funds to support the cause. Last year, nearly $350,000 was raised and given to charities that directly support the Vancouver community.

With at least three games and also 2 NHL pros per team, the day promises to be full of fun and excitement with the puck, sportsmanship and awareness for a great cause. Participants get commemorative jerseys, three great meals and of course, the excitement of a game well played! Come our and help to eliminate homelessness in Canada.

Visit the Hockey Helps Website for more info.

BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund Construction


After an incredibly successful and exciting ground breaking ceremony this past Wednesday, September 17, the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund are looking forward to November when construction will begin in earnest. The Centre will be built at 3891 Main Street, directly on the corner of West 23rd and Main Street.

Local dignitaries joined in with fire fighters for the on-site ceremony which included an Honour Guard comprised of fire fighters from locals around the province; Surrey Fire Fighters’ Pipes & Drums Band and the Vancouver Fire & Rescue Service Trumpet Band. Hundreds of guests were present to take part in this historical forward leap for the Burn Fund and the burn and trauma survivors of our province.

Michael Hurley, President of the Burn Fund, summed it up appropriately as he stated, “I have never been more proud of the fire fighters of our province than I am today. You have certainly shown firsthand what perseverance, integrity and honour can accomplish.”

“The Burn Fund is also very grateful to the Provincial Government; the City of Vancouver; the Jack and & Darlene Poole Foundation; Concert Properties; our community partners & sponsors; and all the individual donors who have contributed their time and money to assist in making the Burn Fund Centre a reality.”

An incredibly generous gift of $2.5 million from the Jack & Darlene Poole Foundation was presented at the event and will go towards both the building’s construction and creating an endowment fund.

The province’s critical shortfall in accommodation for burn and trauma patients and their family caregivers means that patients’ health may be compromised when they have to return home sooner than medically advised, or live in accommodations not suited to recovery from a burn or trauma injury.


“Together the Ministry of Health and BC Housing have provided $4 million dollars to support the development of the Burn Fund Centre – an investment in the health and recovery of British Columbians,” said Vancouver False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan, on behalf of Health Minister Terry Lake. “Having the Centre accessible to burn and trauma patients from throughout the province, and at no cost to them or their families, shows the support necessary to empower survivors in their recovery journey.”

The tri-level Burn Fund Centre will be comprised of eight short-term-stay, free of charge, furnished accommodation suites with communal great room; library; outdoor spaces & family kitchen all located on the middle floor. Central offices for the BC Professional Fire Fighters Association and Burn Fund will be incorporated on the top level, while the ground level will offer 3100 sq. ft. of retail space (a social venture to sustain the building’s operations).

Although over 90% of the funds needed are already secured, there is still another $1 million dollars required for the project.

How can you help? Make a donation today. We are grateful for every donation received and you can help lift us a few more steps up the ladder to create the best place for burn and trauma survivors. Donations accepted on our website or contact our office 604-436-5617.

The BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund has been providing Prevention and Survivor Support programs, and funding medical care and training for the people of British Columbia and the Yukon for almost four decades. The Burn Fund’s vision is built by more than 3,800 professional fire fighters from 53 communities in British Columbia and the Yukon who dedicate their funds, time and expertise.



St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Calendar!

St. John Ambulance is making it easier for you to make your list (no need to check it twice) this holiday season with the release of their first limited edition calendar for 2015. The calendar features the organization’s cute and fluffy Therapy Dogs decked out in seasonal fashion. More importantly, the calendar supports the Therapy Dog Program and other vital local community services provided by St. John Ambulance and is available to purchase September 30.

The Therapy Dog Program was implemented to provide unconditional love, support, and happiness to individuals who may feel disconnected from their loved ones or just need a furry friend during good times and bad. The calendar is a cute and creative way to help spread the word on the amazing work that the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs and their handlers do in our communities every day.

The program has been running for seventeen years and has over 500 registered Therapy Dogs that visit care homes, senior facilities, hospitals, hospices, rehabilitation centres, schools, universities, colleges, community centres and libraries across the province to bring warmth and comfort where it is needed most. In 2013 alone, the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs and their handlers donated almost 37,000 hours of their time to visit about 3,000 people in over 262 care homes and facilities across British Columbia.

The Therapy Dog Program also encourages literacy among children. A dedicated group of Therapy Dogs in the Paws 4 Stories program regularly visit schools and libraries to help promote reading skills, giving children the opportunity to read to a furry companion in a relaxed environment.

St. John Ambulance provides a range of community services beyond first aid and safety training, including youth and emergency response programs. These services rely on the support of the public and initiatives like the Therapy Dog calendar to continue.

Retailing for $10 and $15 each (small and large sizes respectively), the calendars make the perfect gift this holiday season. The calendars are available while supplies last online (here) or from your local St. John Ambulance branch (there are 25 branches across British Columbia and Yukon).

The dogs featured in the calendar all participate in the Therapy Dog program.  Get to know a few of these furry friends who could feature on your wall soon:

About St John Ambulance British Columbia and Yukon

St John Ambulance is the world’s longest-standing humanitarian organization and a registered non-profit, serving Canada for 130 years and setting the highest possible standard for health and safety training, including first-aid and CPR services. The British Columbia and Yukon council has 25 branches throughout the province whose staff and volunteers deliver innovative training programs and products to save lives at work, home and play. St. John Ambulance is dedicated to improving the health, safety and quality of life of Canadians through training and community service including Volunteer First Response Services, Youth Program, School Program, Therapy Dog Program and Emergency Response services.


Twitter:  @SJA_BCYT

Facebook: St John Ambulance BC Yukon


Britannia Mine Museum 110th Anniversary

Britannia Beach, BC – This year, the Britannia Mine Museum is celebrating 110 years of discoveries since the Mine first opened in 1904. To commemorate this significant milestone, the Museum is hosting an anniversary kick-off event on Tuesday, July 1st on Canada Day. The day will feature family-friendly activities, including:

  • an interactive, story-telling experience with audience participation (11 a.m. & 2 p.m.),
  • a Lego scavenger hunt, and
  • the ever popular underground mine train and gold panning.

In recognition of the Britannia mine’s 110-year history, the Museum has put together two special, summer-long exhibits that showcase what life was like for families and workers who lived and worked in Britannia throughout the years.

  • The “Celebrating 110 Years Photo Exhibit” located in the Museum’s conveyor shed, is a collection of 110 historic photos pulled from the Museum’s extensive archives of more than 9,500 images, many of which were donated by former residents and mine workers.
  • The “Best of Britannia: Life in a Company Town” multi-media exhibit located inside the machine shop, is a collection of historic artifacts, antiques, artwork and photos which represent what life was like at Britannia. Supplemented with stories that are poignant, bizarre or even heartbreaking, the exhibit will show how Britannia residents lived, worked and played.

The Museum is also hosting a Reunion Weekend on June 27-29, bringing together former Britannia residents, workers and families to share old stories and memories and learn new ones. The exclusive reunion weekend will include an off-road vehicle tour of the former Mount Sheer town site, coffee socials, BBQ dinner, tours of the underground mine and the EPCOR water treatment plant. More information on the Museum’s 110-year events can be found at
“It is truly an honour to be able to share 110 years of Britannia’s story and legacy as a mining town that played a major role in Canada’s minerals industry,” says Kirstin Clausen, executive director of the Britannia Mine Museum. “Our Museum not only educates visitors on the contributions of minerals to society, and the ideas and practices of environmental renewal and sustainability, but it also showcases B.C.’s jewelled history and serves as a unique and memorable tourist destination.”
Brief History of Britannia Mine:

  • The Britannia Mine first opened in 1904 and closed in 1974 and in its 70-year history, more than 60,000 people from over 50 countries around the world lived and worked at Britannia Mine. In the 1920s and 30s, the Britannia Mine was a major economic backbone of British Columbia as the largest copper producer in the British Commonwealth. It operated mainly as a copper mine although other minerals such as gold, silver, lead, zinc and cadmium were also extracted.
  • There were two main town sites at Britannia: one at the base of the mine next to Howe Sound, and one at the top of the mine on Mount Sheer. Although the Britannia and Mount Sheer town sites were quite isolated with the area only accessible by boat until the railway (1956) and highway (1958) were built, life was never dull. Facilities included a school, hospital, libraries, clubrooms, billiard rooms, tennis courts, a swimming pool, a roller-skating rink and a bowling alley. A thriving social calendar saw sporting events, theatrical productions, dances, movies and parties held throughout the year.
  • In 1975, the Britannia Beach Historical Society opened the Britannia Mine Museum. In 1988, Mill 3 was designated as a National Historic Site and is one of the last remaining gravity-fed concentrator mills in North America.
  • In 2004, the Province of BC worked with the Britannia Mine Museum and Golder Associates to commission EPCOR to build and operate a water treatment plant. Acid rock drainage was a problem in Britannia, which occurs naturally when rainwater reacts with oxygen and exposed minerals resulting in contaminated water. The EPCOR Britannia Mine Water Treatment Plant uses natural materials to filter minerals and neutralize surface water runoff collected from the area, resulting in clean water flowing into Howe Sound.
  • In 2005, a restoration project began on the Mill 3 building, which included stabilizing the concrete foundations, re-roofing each level, re-siding the building and hand-glazing each of the 14,416 panes of window glass.
  • In 2010, the Britannia Mine Museum completed the first phase of a major $14.7-million redevelopment project that transformed a mining legacy site into a multi-award winning, internationally recognized education and travel destination. New sites include the Beaty-Lundin Visitor Centre (theatre, mineral gallery, Canadian Mining Hall of Fame and gift shop), the Britannia A-Z Exhibition Building, a new post-and-beam gold panning area, expanded children’s play area and event plaza.

The Britannia Mine Museum provides unique and memorable experiences that engage visitors of all ages in the spirited history of Britannia, from riding the underground train to exploring how minerals contribute to our daily lives.
The Britannia Mine Museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with guided tours throughout the day. Visit <>  for more information.

Rope For Hope for Make-A-Wish

Rope for Hope is currently searching for 60 people willing to take part in Rope For Hope! Rope for Hope is an event that helps raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation in which participants rappel off a high-rise building. If you’re feeling brave and want to help a great cause, then be sure to sign up and take part either as part of a team, on your own or with friends from work!
This is the first year that the event is being held in Vancouver and they want the event to be a huge success! The rappel will take place on 22 July off the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. Please spread the word! Info here!!.
Rope for Hope also is looking for people willing to volunteer at the event, so be sure to get in touch and help out this amazing cause.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps children with life-threatening illnesses by making their dreams come true. Sign up today!

Go See the Richmond Olympic Oval 5th Anniversary Celebrations: December 12 – 15, 2013

The Richmond Olympic Oval opened its doors on December 12, 2008. To celebrate its 5th anniversary, the Oval will host 4 days of complimentary programs, classes, seminars, and workshops from December 12-15, 2013.RichmondOval5yearevent

“The memories of the Oval’s wonderful opening weekend are still fresh in the minds of the many thousands of Richmond residents who participated in the ceremonies,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Everyone was there, from youth to seniors and all walks of life. It affirmed our vision that the Oval would be a facility that everyone in our community could use and enjoy. Since then, that vision has been fulfilled every day as hundreds of thousands of users have taken advantage of the diverse programs, events and amenities offered in this incredible legacy of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. I invite everyone to join us as we celebrate five years of tremendous success.”

Thursday, December 12th will begin with Oval birthday cake at 12 p.m. for the first 50 people that arrive at the Oval’s O Cafe; $5 drop-in admission will be in effect throughout the day. Other complimentary highlights of the event include free group fitness classes (Hatha Yoga Flow and Zumba), kettlebell workshops, a running clinic, a foam rolling session, an acupuncture seminar, a learn-to-row session, a bike fit workshop and a family Christmas skate on December 14, including a visit from Santa Claus.

Promotions running throughout the event include original gold membership rates on now until the end of the event, Oval Member pricing on select programs available to the public, O Cafe Happy Hours every day featuring 25% off all entrees, and 50% off physiotherapy and 30% off massage services booked at LifeMark Sports Medicine – Richmond Olympic Oval from December 12 to 15.

For complete event details and schedule, please visit <> .