Hastings Overland’s List of Attention-Worthy Initiatives: Part Two
By Rachel Louise Moore
The environment and wildlife are extremely important to all Canadians, but we definitely can’t forget about the importance of community. Whether it be programs that educate youth about sustainability, alternate school programs that promote outdoor healing or organizations help adults and youth facing disabilities explore nature, they all rely on donations from people like you.
In hopes that this will make donating much simpler (get that tax receipt!), we have narrowed it down to our top three favourite community-oriented foundations.
Take a Hike Foundation
The Take a Hike foundation is a Vancouver-based alternate high school program that aims to transform the lives of vulnerable youth by spending time outdoors. By participating in the program, youth are more likely to regularly attend classes, receive higher grades and develop important social and emotional skills. Classroom work is self paced, students spend one day per week exploring nearby terrain, they become engaged with the community through volunteer work and a registered clinical counselor is always present during class times, should a student need to chat. Class sizes are smaller than those in public high schools, with twenty students and four staff members, resulting in a more personalized learning environment and increased comfort. The Take a Hike alternative program is accessible in Vancouver, Delta, West Kootenay, Burnaby and Nanaimo.
Sea to Cedar
Based in Sooke, British Columbia, Sea to Cedar creates charitable collaborations with the community and local organizations in order to promote various initiatives. These initiatives include the conservation of salmon and wildlife, and facilitating connections between people, particularly youth, and the environment. Sea to Cedar also places great emphasis on Indigenous rights, as a strong sense of community can lead to better teamwork when it comes to implementing sustainability efforts. Sea to Cedar understands the positive and lasting impacts that the outdoors can have on individuals, which is why they developed the “Youth Leadership Paddle Program” for Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enuxw youth. This program aims to provide youth with leadership and canoe skills, as well as knowledge surrounding the correct and respectful use of the marine environment.
Power to Be
Conveniently, the final organization we selected, Power to Be, partners with the above-mentioned Sea to Cedar to help make the “Youth Leadership Paddle Program” possible. Power to Be is an organization based out of Victoria and Vancouver, with a key interest in empowering those facing barriers or disabilities, by adventuring in the great outdoors. They offer both group (community) programs and individual programs for people with cognitive and physical disabilities, mental health considerations and other illnesses, as the unique power of nature can truly work wonders. By exploring and embracing nature with program volunteers, an excursion with Power to Be can help increase confidence, positivity, leadership and social skills. Power to Be provides all the required outdoor resources, and always encourages the families of the participants to join in as well.