While scrolling through my Non-Profit list on Twitter the other morning, hoping to find some “good news” stories, one organization ‘leapt off the page’. There was a tweet from Kids Up Front to the Vancouver Art Gallery, thanking them for passes. Within a few hours I contacted Kids Up Front through Twitter and ended up having a phone conversation with Executive Director, Cindy Graves.
“There are a lot of good news stories that Kids Up Front creates every day,” Graves told me. “Because every day we are sending a child on average somewhere in this city to some wonderful event or activity.”
Kids Up Front is a grassroots non-profit organization that works with over one hundred local partner agencies to give local kids (age 18 and younger) the opportunity to visit places and attend events they wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience. The process is simple. Kids Up Front donors give tickets that in turn go to child-serving not-for-profit partner agencies who determine which child will be able to use them.
The donated tickets are for a wide variety of activities, anything suitable for kids and youth. This includes arts and culture, sports and recreation, live concerts, theatre, art galleries, museums, festivals, local attractions, overnight excursions, camps, and more. Children attend with parents or other family members, guardians, mentors, social workers, therapists, or program coordinators.
“We are providing the opportunities for family bonding but we’re also providing opportunities for the staff at our partner agencies to do some good work and sometimes it breaks down barriers that might be there to get through to these kids,” Graves said.
Partner agencies range from the YWCA and Big Brothers to women’s shelters, neighbourhood houses, youth centres, and community centres.
Graves added, “The kids we are serving are the kids who wouldn’t have access to these events.” The kids could be living in poverty or part of the working poor (if they live with a parent or parents), they could be psychological, emotional, or mentally challenged, they could be victims of crime or in trouble with the law. “But they’re all kids that deserve to be nourished.”
Kids Up Front works with agencies from Squamish to the Fraser Valley, the North Shore to Richmond. You can go online to donate your tickets or offer up a monetary donation. Graves said that every dollar from generous individual and corporate donations goes to help Kids Up Front develop and deliver unique programs.
The Kids Up Front Foundation is nation-wide, with programs in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver. Follow the Kids Up Front Vancouver on Twitter and if you have any extra tickets for events that you cannot use this summer, please consider donating them so that deserving local kids can have a fun day out.