KidSafe, a program partnership with the Vancouver School Board made possible through Community Link support, received the first annual KIA Driving for Change Award. The program is known across Vancouver for providing meals, safe surroundings and developmental programming for some of the city's most vulnerable children.
The national award celebrates impact, change, and innovation in making a difference in the world. The prize money will go towards part of the funds necessary to run the KidSafe Spring Break Program.
"Working on the front lines, I see firsthand families in Vancouver's east side struggle to meet every day basic needs," said Kristi Rintoul, Manager of Programming and Development at KidSafe. "Teachers in KidSafe schools are telling everyone that children are coming to school without lunch and without the resources they need to learn and grow. This needs to change. This award is helping us meet these needs."
Each year, Kidsafe provides nutritious meals and developmental programming to approximately 400 children in six Vancouver schools during Winter, Spring and Summer Breaks as well as during after-school programming. The initiative has been running for more than 18 years.
Studies have shown that young people that feel connected, valued, and engaged are less likely to become involved in risky behaviours. According to a 2008 McCreary Adolescent Health Survey, students that feel connected are more likely to be resilient and be involved in their communities.
"When we got the call letting us know we were chosen for this award, we were ecstatic," says Gerhard Maynard, Executive Director, KidSafe, "Kia is about driving change and making the world a better place. They have certainly done that today by supporting our organization and helping create a brighter future for the children in our care."