When kids thrive, communities thrive

Empowering kids through United Way’s School’s Out programs

We live in a notoriously expensive region. Across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, families are struggling to make ends meet. When parents are pressed, they face the prospect of having to leave their kids on their own.

Kids like Timothy, whose parents, like many newcomers to Canada, both worked full-time to make ends meet. In the after school hours and in the months when school was out for the summer, they didn’t want him to be by himself.

From kindergarten onward, Timothy was involved in an after school sports program. Its positive impact on his life led him to participate in a United Way School’s Out Program, an after-school initiative for children and youth, at Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre in East Vancouver.

Through the support of donors, United Way’s Ray-Cam program works alongside young people like Timothy to support kids and youth through their school years by developing their leadership potential through sport.

Now 20 years old, Timothy is on staff at the United Way program. He’s using the skills he acquired as a former after school program participant to guide the next generation of kids like himself.

When we’re isolated, the right connection can change everything.

Through its responsive local programs and its neighbourhood-based approach to building resilience in communities, United Way unlocks the vital personal connections that mark the difference between surviving and thriving.

This is crucial work that needs your support. There are still over 25,000 local kids who do not have support and supervision when they need it the most.

Across the Lower Mainland, 10% of children aged 9 to 12 (Grades 4 to 7) report being unsupervised by an adult from 3 to 6pm. This figure rises to 16% by Grade 7, according to UBC UWLM research. Without supervision and direction, school-aged children are at increased risk of bullying, depression, suicide, crime, and violence—the effects of which can follow them throughout their lives.

United Way donors fuel life-changing work. When almost one in 10 kids say they don’t think a single adult cares about them, School’s Out connects kids with supportive communities of peers, mentors, and learning opportunities that empower them to develop skills, build confidence, and chart new pathways towards their futures.

Timothy is now considering a career in coaching and working with kids as a direct result of his work at United Way’s Ray-Cam Program.

Of the program’s impact on his life, he says, “I’ve been so much happier.”

United Way’s School’s Out programs provide life-changing opportunities that connect youth with caring mentors, coaches and teacher, healthy foods, and recreational activities.

It’s the right connection that changes everything.

Donate now

teen standing at pool table

Local love lives in the next generation. Be part of the momentum unlocking the potential of youth by supporting United Way, which connects youth to community, to each other, and to the vital local connections that set new futures in motion.

It’s an exciting time to give to United Way. Your gift has dramatic impact. It helps kids like Timothy participate in after school programs, thousands of whom are lingering on waitlists for in-demand programs. Your support will bring kids off the waitlists and into communities of support. Plus your gift helps United Way launch a new, neighbourhood-based approach to building stronger, more resilient communities.

This new approach marks a bold step forward in the evolution of United Way, which will be working with communities to identify the urgent local issues that citizens are best positioned to tackle. Issues that can’t be addressed with programs alone—like social isolation and care for one another. These types of issues make or break whether a community is able to provide safety and inclusiveness to its residents. And United Way is bringing its expertise and partnerships to the table to help citizens address their concerns.

Creating opportunities for citizens to show up, roll up their sleeves, and work together to address their most pressing local concerns is a powerful way of building communities that lift us all up. Imagine what could be possible if Timothy and kids like him knew their neighbours had a stake in their families’ livelihood—and those neighbours were ready to work together at ensuring all kids reached their potential.

With almost 90 years of experience working in and with communities, United Way is uniquely positioned to build a groundswell of support for issues that matter most to local citizens in its new neighbourhood-based approach to building stronger communities.

Because people don’t live in programs; they live in neighbourhoods like Timothy’s. Where their livelihood is connected to all of ours.

So much is possible when we work together, with great love.

Show your local love. Donate today.


Help kids in need across the Lower Mainland.

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Tracy GreenTimothy