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Live to Give - Canucks Family Education Centre

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks Family Education Centre (CFEC) is located at Britannia Community Centre in East Vancouver where its services are available for people in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada.

What Charity did you work with today?

Canucks Family Education Centre – Strong Start Program. I was joined by Jeff, Danen, and Jessica, and our assignment was to speak with parents in the general vicinity of Britannia and distribute pamphlets in an effort to raise awareness of the Strong Start program and other programs offered through CFEC.

What do they do?

The Canucks Family Education Centre is located at Britannia Community Centre in East Vancouver and delivers programs for children and families in seven elementary school literacy centres in Vancouver's eastside. As a component of the Partners in Education (PIE), Strong Start is a free early childhood education program for the pre-school children and even includes transit tickets and food (snacks and a hot lunch).

What made you select them?

I volunteered at CFEC last year where I had the pleasure of meeting Nick, the programs first graduate. I also spent time with a class full of inspiring ladies of all ages who had immigrated to Canada from as far away as Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras, and whose first language was Spanish. They travelled to Britannia twice a week from various parts of the city to learn about their new home and more importantly, how to speak English. The obvious challenges they faced in starting new lives in a strange country were matched by their commitment to improving themselves and creating an environment of success for their children and families.

What was the best part – the highlight of your day?

In addition to speaking directly to dozens of parents about the program and meeting a number of staff members and volunteers, I had the pleasure of spending time with the leader of the program, Jean Rasmussen. We could all learn a few things from Jean. Her commitment, passion, and efforts in support of childhood and family literacy are unparalleled. The weather cooperated, so we walked and canvassed the area surrounding Britannia School from area around Commercial Drive to the Aboriginal Centres on East Hastings, to Seymour Elementary School just East of Clark Drive. It was old fashioned “hand to hand combat” . . . and no better way to spend a day.

What did you learn today about giving back?

We often take the simplest of things in our lives for granted and it is tremendously humbling, inspiring, and rewarding to be able to spend time with people who dedicate their lives to helping those less privileged than us, and to witness the positive impact their work has on so many. Equally important is the power of the Canucks brand when it comes to programs such as these. The staff, volunteers, and participants are all very proud and thankful for the support and participation of the Vancouver Canucks, and whenever I stopped people today to speak to them about what we were doing, the moment I mentioned that I worked for the Vancouver Canucks, without exception, they stopped and took the time to listen.

Why is it important for you to give back personally and as an employee of Canucks Sports & Entertainment?

To spend even a small amount of time providing assistance to those less fortunate than ourselves provides a small but necessary bit of perspective on life, and makes us realize how very lucky we are to live and work where we do. And to be a part of an organization where corporately and individually, there is a commitment to giving back and being “good citizens” is a very special thing.

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