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Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce #BuckUp for Mental Health in support of Covenant House

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced yesterday the launch of their annual fundraising campaign #BuckUp for Mental Health in support of Covenant House Vancouver.  The campaign begins Saturday, May 7th and culminates at the ‘Caps match on Saturday, May 28th when Whitecaps FC take on Houston Dynamo at BC Place.

The Caps are looking to raise the equivalent of one dollar per fan in the stadium. With the seating capacity expanded for this season, the goal is to raise over $22,000 by May 28th. 

“A dollar per person may not seem like much,” says Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi, “but when our fans come together for this worthwhile cause, we can reach this goal and make a big difference in the lives of youth in our community.”

Whitecaps FC are also proud to have the support of the Vancouver Police Department who will be on site to collect donations at half time in May 28. “It is critical that we create awareness for mental health as it affects every single one of us in some capacity,” says Vancouver Police Department Constable Garett MacDonald. “If we can educate people in our communities, we can continue to reduce the stigma that is embedded in our culture and that individuals create for themselves. Please "Buck Up" and help change the culture towards Mental Health.”

New this year, the ‘Caps are excited to offer an online auction for fans to support #BuckUp for Mental Health. Fans can choose from a variety of unique items and one-of-a-kind experiences, including a day of golf with former Whitecaps FC defender and South Korean legend Young-Pyo Lee, a personal coaching session with Whitecaps FC Ambassador Carl Valentine, or a behind-the-scenes tour of the Vancouver Police Department’s K9 unit.

Funds raised through #BuckUp for Mental Health will be donated to Whitecaps FC community partner Covenant House Vancouver. More than 1,400 homeless youth visit Covenant House Vancouver every year, many of whom struggle with mental illness. Covenant House Vancouver’s key initiatives include a soccer program which has proven successful in the rehabilitation of youth including Erin, who is featured in the #BuckUp video.

To donate to #BuckUp for Mental Health in support of Covenant House Vancouver or for details on how to bid on an auction item, please visit

#BuckUp for Mental Health Logo 

1st Sleep Out: Mothers Edition Raises over $121,000!

Last night, 32 local Mothers slept outside in solidarity with the hundreds of young people who call Vancouver’s streets home, to raise funds for Covenant House Vancouver’s Street Outreach Program.  A fundraising event, the Mothers raised over $121,000 for our young people.

The evening began with the participants getting to know each other and included a panel discussion with three youth (two current Covenant House youth and an alumni) who shared their stories about how they arrived at Covenant House’s door.  Participants then toured Covenant House’s female Crisis Program before gearing up and heading outside for the night.  Unlike previous Sleep Out events which are held in November, the weather was considerably warmer and dryer.  However, the hard ground was still unforgiving and made sleeping difficult for the 32 Moms.

After waking up this morning (many didn’t get much sleep), the participants took part in a group reflection exercise, and were asked to use one word to describe their experience.  The words gratitude, vulnerable, blessed and family were the most spoken.  One participant, Katie Harmer, noted that “I felt safe because the staff were here looking after us but the kids don’t have that”.

The Sleepers acknowledged that sleeping outside for one night does not compare to what it is really like for youth who must do so night after night, some while holding down a job and going to school.  The sleepers did however, get a glimpse into experiencing the loneliness and vulnerability that comes from “sleeping” out in the open. 

We want to thank all of our amazing Sleepers and their supporters!

View from the roof of Sleep Out: Mothers Edition

Group shot of Sleep Out: Mothers Edition!

Sleep Out: Mothers Edition is tonight!

Covenant House is proud to welcome 32 brave women who, united in the spirit of motherhood, are committing to spend tonight on the street to support programs for homeless youth in Vancouver.  It’s about showing a group of young people that they are worthy of unconditional love and absolute respect, and proving that we care enough about them to be uncomfortable for one night; to be vulnerable so they can be safe.

Every dollar raised through the Sleep Out: Mothers Edition will help our Outreach Team connect with youth who are living on the streets and in need of immediate care. To learn more about Sleep Out: Mothers Edition or to support a participant please visit our website.

Be sure to join in the discussion on social media using the hash tag #CHSleepOut. Participants will be live tweeting, instagramming and sharing on Facebook their firsthand experiences sleeping outside. You can follow Covenant House Vancouver on Twitter @CovenantHouseBC, on Facebook at Covenant House Vancouver and on Instagram @covenanthousebc.

Thanks to all our “Sleepers” and their supporters!

Sleep Out Image

Sanctuary is one of our five core principles

Sanctuary   - Youth who are trying to get off the streets are often scared and mistrustful. We protect them from the street and its terrors and from the failures of their past. Youngsters can only grow when they feel safe and protected.

You can keep young people safe.  Give now

Sanctuary is one of our five core principels 

Sometimes we teach our youth and sometimes they teach us!

Over the course of many months, Sam shared with me the barriers which he faced and the steps that he had taken to overcome these barriers. One strategy that he found helpful in overcoming some of his barriers was practicing yoga. This was a passion that we both shared, and he was aware that I had been practicing yoga for many years.

Sam was also aware that over the last year while I had begun school, I had stopped my practice. When Sam heard about this, he began constantly encouraging me to begin going to yoga again. He reminded of some of the benefits of yoga, such as being better able to focus and feeling relaxed. Sam took advantage of the free yoga classes which he accessed while in our Crisis Program, and constantly encouraged me to go with him. After a couple of weeks of encouragement, I finally had a free day that I could attend yoga with him. This continued on for a few months, and between both of us we were able to encourage many other youth to attend weekly yoga with us (many who had never had an opportunity to try yoga before).

As a Youth Worker, we have many opportunities to teach youth new skills, remind them of strategies that have previously worked, and watch them grow as individuals. However, we often forget to reflect back on the moments where the youth have helped us to grow as individuals. With Sam’s encouragement, I was able to reintroduce yoga into my life.

Image of person doing Yoga.

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