how it began
The Executive Director of Kw’umut Lelum Family and Child Services Agency, William Yoachim, instigated the Hope and Health initiative to bring the community together in a positive way and engage and inspire the children and youth in care through a soccer-based event. As an Aboriginal youth who overcame significant adversity, Bill himself credits his own involvement in sports as a kid with helping him develop both flexibility and resiliency that serves him well in life.
In honoring the Coast Salish love for soccer and for the Whitecaps FC team, Bill strategized with Ed Georgica (Whitecaps FC Equipment and Facilities Head Manager) and wife Deana Gill-Georgica on how best to realize the goals of the initiative within the context of a community-based event. Initially named “KL Cares and Kicks”, the program was piloted in the summer of 2012 through an inaugural event in Nanaimo, BC in partnership with Kw’umut Lelum and the Whitecaps FC.
The tremendous level of community engagement and high impact outcomes encouraged the founders to sustain and expand engaging other partners throughout Vancouver Island. Through this expansion, the initiative was rebranded “Hope & Health” to reflect the mission and core outcomes.
More than an annual community event, Hope and Health reflects a movement. By finding opportunities to promote and keep the momentum going on a continuous basis, the children and youth who are the heart and center of this movement experience hope and health, inspiration and mentorship through soccer.
What We've Achieved
- In total, over 1200 Aboriginal children and youth have attended Hope and Health Skills and Drills day camps.
- Three “Evening of Champions” events involving 1000 in general attendance, featuring a variety of popular and dynamic Whitecaps FC players, Carl Valentine, Kimberly Caldwell, Theo Fleury and other special guests.
- 18 seaplane trips across the Coast Salish sea for Whitecaps FC Players and special guests (many first time flyers).
- 2 Adidas sponsored Boot Drives at Whitecaps FC regular season games and a Kia Boot Drive collected over 500 boots that have been distributed to the Hope and Health children and youth.
- Incredible In Kind donations and partnerships in place with a variety of generous people.
Hope and health Logo
This logo is an original design by Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr. created to reflect the positive impact of soccer for the Aboriginal children and youth involved in Hope and Health. The eagles represent strength, courage and personal leadership that comes from being active on the pitch and in being open to the mentorship offered through the Hope and Health experiences. The picture of the child’s face reflects the joy they experience with being at the centre of our community and feeling loved and inspired.