This back-to-school season, support is more crucial than ever.
Can you believe how much costs have risen in Vancouver lately? The record-breaking inflation rate, housing crisis and overall expensive cost of living affects all of us in the city. But for parents, the enormous financial expenses not only impact their ability to take care of themselves, but their kids too. That’s the crippling reality for many parents in Vancouver right now: an alarming number of families are struggling to afford even basic costs of living, like housing and food.
It’s back-to-school season, which is supposed to be a happy time for both parents and kids. But instead of feeling excitement, many parents are incredibly anxious—because a new school year brings new costs: new clothes, lunches, snacks, school supplies and after-school care. Imagine how stressful it is being any parent trying to prepare for the school year ahead. Now imagine you’re a parent living with a lower income. Like any parent, you want to set your child up for a bright future. This might mean skipping breakfast to ensure your kids have enough at lunch, squeezing your child into last year’s shoes or sharing school supplies between your kids. On top of it all, inflation and rising expenses are making it even more expensive this year. Anyone would feel completely overwhelmed.
Every child should have the same opportunities to learn, grow and play. That’s why our non-profit is dedicated to supporting Vancouver families: helping their kids thrive in school and build resilience against the effects of cyclical poverty.
“UGM is always there, and they have never turned or pushed me away when I asked for help. I wouldn't know where to turn if I didn't have them. And I love them because they consider me and my daughter family. I try my best to give my daughter everything I can. The things I didn't have growing up. I don't want her going through that. Like living in poverty.” — Dad to an Eastsider Participant
Read on to learn how you can help families in need and and why, amidst an ever-increasing cost of living, your support could make a life-changing difference:
The Heartbreaking Statistics:
- 3 in 4 children in the Downtown Eastside are experiencing poverty, with a child poverty rate in the neighbourhood of 74% (statistic from 2018)
- 3 in 10 children in British Columbia do not have enough to eat
- Inflation is currently at a 40 year high and the cost of living has only continued to increase
There is overwhelming evidence that shows how detrimental poverty is for kids. For example, a growing child who doesn’t have enough to eat is more likely to experience:
- poorer health
- slowed academic growth
- repeating a grade
- higher rates of mental health and behavioural problems, like depression
- delays in social competency and emotional maturity
- decreased physical readiness for school
“Without UGM, I probably wouldn’t be able to get the groceries I need. We were running pretty low, but on Friday, the Eastsiders Afterschool Program gave us gift cards. UGM is putting forth a lot to make sure that families are going to make it through.” — Sabrina, Mom to Eastsiders Participants
The research is crystal clear. Growing up in poverty can set a child back in all sorts of ways: mental, physical, emotional and more. But there is hope. Together, we can help families break the cycle of poverty and help them thrive…
That’s why UGM’s Women & Families Centre is dedicated to helping children, youth, and their families in the Downtown Eastside build resilience against the ramifications of cyclical poverty and addiction. Through one-on-one interactions, mentorship, children and youth programs and more, UGM staff help reduce risk factors children living in poverty face by fostering an environment where they can thrive.
Eastsiders Homework Club is one of our programs for children. It provides a safe, positive place for kids grade 3 to 7 living and going to school in the Downtown Eastside to spend a few hours after school.
At Eastsiders, daily activities are focused on academic support: such as providing help with homework and teaching lessons on topics like education, STEM, and health and wellness. Our children and youth programs are heavily geared towards academic support and helping kids graduate high school, because one of the key trends we see for kids growing up in poverty is not completing secondary education, due to systematic barriers.
Beyond this, children can build great friendships and engage in fun activities that help them make childhood memories to last a lifetime: from games to sports, crafts, field trips and more!
“The UGM staff, like Thomas, have impacted my kids so much. He has watched all my kids grow up....He’s the one who has been there for my boys, and shown them how to be men. I’ve seen how much my kids have grown because of UGM’s children programming, and how they’ve come out of their shells.” — Carrie, Mom to Eastsiders Participants
Ultimately, Eastsiders helps kids not only excel in school, but also enjoy learning along the way—receiving life-changing mentorship that helps set them up to ultimately graduate high school. This impacts the whole family, not just the child! Through our homework club, Outreach Workers get to further connect with parents to see what other needs the family might have. The staff in our Family Programs often walk alongside children, youth, and parents for years—supporting them as they build brighter futures together. And we can’t do it without your support!
How You Can Help:
You can be part of transforming a child’s future and investing in the next generation this back-to-school season! By partnering with us to support our programs like Eastsiders, you’re not only uplifting kids today, but supporting generations of kids and families to come.
“When we started coming to UGM, we’d go there for dinner every day. It made life a lot easier because I met other parents going through the same struggles. Having a community where you can get help does so much for families.” — Carrie, Mom to Eastsiders Participants
By helping us cover the cost of Eastsiders, you’ll help kids build confidence, grow their decision-making skills, receive homework help and be physically nourished so they can properly focus in school. Donate today to support kids and families!
Give Now To Support Kids In Your Community
Every $75.89 you give will help a child access mentorship, meals, field trips, and other learning opportunities through UGM's Eastsiders After School Program. Please give as generously as you can today!
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