Who cares about cloudy skies when the day is brightened by the smiles of over 120 children playing soccer? The Beban Park sports field was host to the 5th annual Hope and Health soccer event for aboriginal children on August 31st, 2016. The event brings together kids from over 40 nations across BC to play with and learn from their soccer heroes from Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club, as well as coaches, VIU athletes and volunteers.
Kw’umut Lelum has been a partner from the inception, recognizing a unique opportunity to provide positive and healthy role models and to help kids in care learn teamwork, healthy lifestyles and good sportsmanship, in a fun and active environment.
These are some of BC’s most vulnerable children, and we are partnering with their families, their communities and leaders, to help them build confidence, develop their athletic skills, and just have an opportunity to run around and be kids. Of course, one of the big draws is the chance to meet players from the Whitecaps, and get an autographed ball or jersey (and maybe even a hug!).
Whitecaps player Jordan Harvey, who also serves on the board of Hope and Health, was on the pitch that day, interacting with the children and their families. “Soccer has been my life and my passion and it’s so rewarding to be able to share that with these special children and inspire the First Nations youth.”
Throughout the day, children and youth participated in soccer drills, took part in crafts and cultural activities, and those without soccer cleats were given a brand new pair to keep as part of a boot drive organized by the Whitecaps FC and Adidas.
“Through Hope and Health, if we can help change that cycle of kids coming into care, one family at a time,” says Bill Yoachim, Executive Director of Kw’umut Lelum, “it’s well worth every ounce of energy we put into this event.”
Kw’umut Lelum is so proud of this continued partnership and we look forward to bringing the players and children together again in 2016. For more information about Hope and Health, please go to www.hopeandhealth.org.
If you want to see for yourself the joy and happiness that this day brings to the children and players, check out Hope and Health’s video of the event below.
Photo credits to Gracie Hill courdisy of Hope and Health Facebook page