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Changing the Odds: United Way Avenues of Change Invests $400 000 to Pave Brighter Future for Surrey Kids
Surrey, BC--One in three children in BC starts kindergarten with odds stacked against their success--in the classroom and later in life. In Surrey's Guildford West neighbourhood, this number is worse: it's almost one in two.
United Way of the Lower Mainland is determined to change these odds and ensure more children in Guildford West start school ready to succeed. They announced an investment of $400,000 in Guildford West for the early childhood program called "United Way Avenues of Change." A total of $1.2 million over the next three years has been earmarked for this initiative. These funds will act as a catalyst for the community and be used to implement neighbourhood-specific strategies tailor-made for the community to change outcomes for vulnerable children arriving from war-torn countries.
Vulnerable children are defined as those children who, without additional support, have a higher risk of struggling in school and in later life. Research shows that many problems--such as poverty, homelessness, obesity, and crime--have their roots in the first years of life. At the check presentation, the United Way told the audience and the press that many families in Surrey's Guildford West neighborhood are refugees from a camp in Iraq. Their children are not school-ready due to trauma, and are therefore identified as vulnerable.
A child is considered to be vulnerable if he or she is unable to meet crucial developmental milestones, such as being interested in reading and writing, able to count, and able to concentrate. They are children, who, without additional support, have a higher risk of struggling in school and in later life.
The two social service agencies that will deliver United Way Avenues of Change program are DIVERSEcity and Options Community Services Society. Under the United Way Avenues of Change program, the Guildford West neighborhood has developed its own business plan that provides specific action strategies for how they will be able to help the children living there who are considered vulnerable.
"From the start, United Way Avenues of Change has been a deeply collaborative neighbourhood project," said Michael McKnight, President & CEO of United Way of the Lower Mainland. "We knew that in order to tackle a complex issue like child vulnerability, we needed to bring together people and partners at a local level who are passionate about ensuring children and families thrive. Research shows that children thrive when their neighbourhoods thrive."
The Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation will allocate funds to help these vulnerable children progress and assimilate into our elementary schools through our tutoring services at our community-based tutoring centers. We applaud the United Way of the Lower Mainland for their innovative and courageous approach to ensure children in Guildford get the best chance to succeed in life. United Way supports children, families and seniors in need. They are the leaders in our field developing partnerships, tracking progress, and bringing the right people together to initiate change. We can spiritually hope for a better tomorrow and collectively we can do better. Together we can all help families meet the challenges that lie ahead.
A Kind Word from our Foundation
At Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation, we believe all children should have the opportunity to be all that they can. Amazing Tutors values and embraces diversity, and seek to ensure that all people feel welcome and included. We welcome students and people of all creeds, faiths, lifestyles and races. We extend our warmest welcome to you personally. Here at Amazing Tutors, we believe every child deserves access to high-quality education, that is why we champion reform strategies that address the urgent educational needs of our international community and attempt to close the achievement gap. Contact us today for more information about our tutoring programs.
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"Surrey is the fastest growing city in BC with one of the youngest populations; in fact, one-third of Surrey's residents are under the age of 19," said Mayor Linda Hepner. "Investing in our children and families is essential to ensuring a healthy, more sustainable and prosperous community for tomorrow. This is why we actively support United Way in this important early childhood initiative."
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