by tom zillich for the surrey now-leader
Options Community Services launched the “Gamechangers” fundraiser on Wednesday (April 20) with campaign details and a link for donations posted to womenofoptions2022.ca.
The campaign goal is $1.5 million, the same target amount in the first Women of Options fundraiser in 2021 when money was directed to an affordable housing project in Newton.
This year’s “Gamechangers” campaign, to benefit a new youth discretionary fund, involves some new women among the 50 fundraisers – a mix of senior executives, volunteers, celebrities and community leaders. Their photos and bios are posted to the campaign website.
Surrey is home to the largest youth population in B.C. (those aged 12 to 27). Options Community Services supported close to 3,500 youth in its last fiscal year.
An increasing number of youth require “unique support,” say officials with the Surrey-based nonprofit, whose team members see situations that include a need for clothing or dental work so youth can attend a job interview with pride, and covering daycare or tuition costs for a young mother to complete an educational program. They also help get endangered youth to a safe place and address issues faced by those who have aged out of the child welfare system and lost their supports.
“We see youth needing our help to purchase clothing for a mother’s funeral or a young person who needs immediate re-location and support to escape the threat of a gang,” said Christine Mohr, CEO of Options Community Services.
“Our government funding is vital but youth needs are increasing and require immediate action and financial resources. This new fund will help to support at-risk youth with what they need, when they need it.”
The Gamechangers fund will aim to remove barriers by providing “critical funding to work with youth from a wide range of backgrounds,” including newcomers, unemployed, street entrenched, pregnant and parenting, those affiliated with gangs, those seeking their high school diplomas, and others.