Support the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Event Beneficiary Kids Up Front. Purchase your tickets today.
Support the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Event Beneficiary Kids Up Front. Purchase your tickets today.
As the old saying goes, sometimes a picture truly is worth 1000 words. Many thanks to TELUS for their generous donation of tickets to A 21st Century Christmas Carol, which was enjoyed by hundreds of children and families.
The Centre for Race and Culture has been working for nearly a decade to support individuals and families who are refugees or immigrants to Canada, helping them navigate a culture and society that in some cases is so vastly different from their native land. More often than not, these families have lost their social support system as soon as they left their homeland. Not only do they need to start from scratch and determine what resources are available to them in their new community here, they also need to begin to rebuild a support network for themselves here. In some cases, families arrive here in Canada fleeing persecution and arrive literally with only the belongings they can carry on their person. The Centre for Race & Culture (CFRAC) steps in to bridge the gap for these newcomers, by giving them enough of a head start to ensure that these people are able to start out on the right foot. It’s a vicious circle when people are forced to start in poverty while struggling with other barriers as well (language and education predominantly in these cases).
We at Kids Up Front are proud to be able to help them with their mandate; our goal is to provide quality experiences for all underserved youth in our community, and these newcomers are no exception. In some ways, these opportunities may be even more important to them than we realize: they are able to experience a family outing, which is normally not financially possible, but they are also able to interact with the general population here, taking in new things that may not necessarily be a priority in their culture. Here is their holiday story:
One of my students attended the Christmas Party at WEM on the weekend. I walked into the classroom today and before even asking, she told me that the party was wonderful! She and her family got there early and did not mind waiting until the doors opened at 6:30 p.m. She loved it all, the free food, the rides, the gifts and seeing all the people there. She stayed until 9:30 when the doors closed!! She went with her mother, younger brothers her mother’s friend and the friend’s son. they had a fabulous time!!!
Another student left her free tickets at school (which we gave to some other students). But she went to the WEM party as well and paid to get in. She had a good time too!!!
The other students seemed very excited to hear about the party. I hope that this will encourage them to attend more of these events in the future. The students I work with have been in Edmonton (Canada) for as little as 3 months and as much as three years. So they are still learning about the culture and are understandably a bit shy to try new things. Having one student use the tickets from Kids Up Front to attend such a great event serves to encourage others to explore the culture a bit more.
– Elsa Robinson; Program Coordinator, Bamboo Shield Program, Centre For Race and Culture
Boys and Girls Club of Leduc provides a safe, supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life. Theystrive to offer children and youth from all economic, cultural and social backgrounds access to the resources, supports and opportunities that will enable them to overcome barriers and achieve their positive potential in life. In supporting them as a partner agency, Kids Up Front is able to expand their reach and impact into the greater Edmonton community. The story they shared with us recently truly embodies the spirit of the holiday stories.
When the Sound of Music came to Edmonton, Kids Up Front provided our agency with some tickets. I knew that a young girl (14 years old) was talking about the Sound of Music and how every year for the past 14 years, she would sit with her older sister, mom, grandma and great-grandmother to watch the movie. A couple of years ago, her great-grandmother passed away, with the tradition of watching the Sound of Music continues with a bowl of popcorn on the table beside the vacant chair where great-grandma always sat.
The girl, Tristin, was telling me that if she could afford it, she would have liked to have been able to take her mom, sister and grandma to see the stage production. “It would have been the best thing ever because we have never been to a concert or stage show before…”
Three days after hearing the story, Kids Up Front sent out an email regarding the Sound of Music tickets. I put in my request, hoping that I was not too late. Imagine the excitement I felt when the reply came back saying yes, we could have the tickets! I sent a text to Tristin asking if she would like to take her grandma to see the Sound of Music, I could tell that she was fighting back the excitement and tears, “Really… I would love that more anything really?…….”
There were five members of the family that went to see the show: the two sisters, mom, grandma and a cousin to fill the 5th seat. They still talk about that experience they shared together, only possible because of the generosity of the donated tickets to Kids Up Front. I am always the most fortunate and grateful person when I am able to give a family or take a bus full of children to an event because of Kids Up Front. I have the best seat in the house, to witness the emotion and sincere gratitude from the recipients of tickets is a true honour and privilege.
Thank you Kids up Front, you do make dreams come true, and create a lifetime of memories! – John Norton; Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Leduc
Who doesn’t love this time of year? To start off the season and spread holiday cheer, we hosted an evening of gingerbread decorating at Ronald McDonald House last week, and what fun it was. Read more about our adventures that evening here.
Last night we were so fortunate to be invited guests of Cenovus to experience the excitement of Edmonton’s Canadian Finals Rodeo. It was the first time to the rodeo for most of us, and we were ever so grateful to be able to experience it with two very special families from Ronald McDonald House.
The first family brought their 4-year-old son, Colton, with them. Colton is currently 2 months into his cancer journey after surgery in September to remove a brain tumor, and he’s still got a lengthy road ahead of him as he continues his treatment with chemotherapy and radiation. With two other children at home to take care of as well, this family is taking everything day by day, but they were so grateful to be able to share a special night out with Colton at the rodeo. Those cowboys looked pretty tough riding bucking broncos and bulls, but they’re nothing compared to how tough and brave little Colton has been in the midst of all his medical turmoil.
The second family that came was a reminder that while we are here to support kids and families in need, sometimes the best time to do that is by supporting the parents. Gloria and her husband also joined us last night with a friend of theirs (who is a much-needed support to them in their lives). Gloria and her husband have 4 beautiful children, but their oldest daughter was never expected to live past her first birthday. Today, she is 8 years old, but in and out of the Stollery so regularly it’s a second home for her. She has spent the last while in PICU and was just released into the regular hospital ward a few days ago. Gloria, her husband and their friend have created a thorough support for all their children: someone is always at the Stollery with the oldest daughter, while others are balancing off the needs of the other 3 children at home. This is a family that is stretched thin, but without complaint are doing everything they can to maintain some sense of normalcy in the lives of their children. Last night was the first time they had a chance to have a night to themselves without the demands of children: when Gloria’s mother heard they’d been invited to the rodeo, she insisted they go and took the youngest 3 children for a sleepover. It was obvious to all that the children were on Gloria’s mind as she spoke of them throughout the night, beaming with pride, but it was equally obvious that it was nice for this family to have the opportunity to just sit back and take in their first rodeo, and they loved it.
And yet again, this is why we do what we do. Being able to see these families take a break from the stresses of everyday life is overwhelmingly fulfilling. Many heartfelt thanks to Cenovus for inviting us and these families with their extra tickets!
As we roll into September and prepare for autumn to arrive just around the corner, everyone always tries to squeeze as much of summer out of these last few nice days. What better way to do that than at next week’s Edmonton Rush golf tournament benefiting Kids Up Front? There are still spots for a couple more teams, so be sure to check the link below and sign up today. Enjoy a BBQ dinner and interactions with some of Edmonton’s great professional lacrosse players. For more information, please contact Andrea at the Edmonton Rush.
Congratulations to the Edmonton Rush on an outstanding lacrosse season. Kids Up Front was thrilled to have partnered with Edmonton’s professional lacrosse team this year to provide Rush game tickets to local youth. But the community partnership didn’t end there: Booster Juice has been an great supporter of the Edmonton Rush by hosting school clinics throughout the lacrosse season. When we started working with Cheryl Schneider, a Healthy Living Coach for 7 inner city schools, we wanted to give those kids the same opportunity. With the generous support of Greg Christenson and Christenson Developments, students from those inner city schools were able to attend a lacrosse game and learn more about the sport at clinics in their schools facilitated by Edmonton Rush players. For most of the kids in the inner city schools, this was the first time they were able to have an opportunity like this, and watching them experience it was uplifting. Our favourite story was of John, a little boy who moved here from the Philippines only two weeks before the lacrosse clinic was held at their school. With an odd number of students in the class, friends paired off quickly and John was left on his own, not even really understanding what was going on with his limited English skills. But he was beaming instantly when Jesse, the Edmonton Rush player facilitating the clinic, paired up with him and proceeded to give him one-on-one tips and coaching him for the rest of their session.
To Bruce Urban, owner of the Edmonton Rush, and Gord Sawyer, President of the team, and especially to players Ryan Dilks (#24) and Jesse Fehr (#18), thank you for your community involvement and for helping us create something truly special for local youth. You’ve definitely garnered some lifelong fans in the process. Can’t wait to do it all over again next year!
Please join us for our annual Denim & Dice fundraiser this September… for tickets, click here.