Teammates for Kids recently made a donation to the Hope and Health organization in Vancouver on behalf of Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey, who has been a Teammate since 2012. The group used the donation for their annual Hope and Health event, a day filled with soccer and other entertainment aimed at the community's Aboriginal children and youth. Hope and Health's mission is to engage and inspire these young people through soccer and to improve their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and life conditions. The organization was founded in 2011 by Whitecaps FC head of first team operations and facilities Ed Georgica and his wife Deana Gill-Georgica, along with Bill Yoachim, executive director of Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services.
This year's Hope and Health event at Musqueam Park drew over 300 children representing over 25 First Nation communities across British Columbia and Canada, including those living in foster care or involved with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Children who arrived without soccer cleats received a brand new pair to keep.
Whitecaps FC players Jordan Harvey, Fraser Aird, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, Russell Teibert, David Ousted, Kendall Waston, Blas Pérez and Pa-Modou Kah made appearances and engaged the kids in soccer drills and skills clinics. Other special guests included club ambassador Carl Valentine and Whitecaps FC coaches Carl Robinson, Martyn Pert, Marius Rovde and Gordon Forrest. Whitecaps mascot Spike, along with Sammy Soccer Stilt Woccer and Freddie Futball, were also on hand to entertain the crowd.
Additional activities throughout the day included face painting and traditional cedar weaving. Children had a blast jumping around on a large bouncy castle with some of their favorite players, including Teibert. After a barbecue lunch, the players showed off their skills in a high-energy game of "soccer tennis."
“The inaugural Vancouver based Hope and Health event was a huge success, based on the high level of community engagement and participation from start to finish," enthused Deana Gill-Georgica, Hope and Health Co-Founder and Board Chair. "Over 300 Aboriginal children and youth were surrounded by the love and care of 80+ volunteers. This is truly an incredible experience to bring people and communities together with the most vulnerable children and youth in our society at the centre. We lift them up, show them we care and inspire hope for their futures. This was all made possible by the generosity flowing from people like Jordan Harvey via Teammates for Kids and various other corporate, private and community donations. We look forward to work with our newest friends and partners to maximize the impact of the Hope and Health movement in Vancouver ongoing.”