Earlier this month, Vancouver Whitecaps FC participated in the third annual Hope and Health event in Nanaimo, BC. The two-day event in partnership with two Vancouver Island-based Aboriginal Child and Family Service Agencies: Kw'umut Lelum and Lalum’utul' Smun’eem brought more than 1,000 community members together to inspire hope and health with the children at the centre.
The first day commenced with an inspirational 'Evening of Champions' at Nanaimo Port Theatre, which was filled with members from across Vancouver Island communities.
The evening featured a keynote speech from former professional hockey player Theo Fleury, members of Whitecaps FC, and dialogue with Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson, club ambassador Carl Valentine, Whitecaps FC defender Steven Beitashour and winger Kekuta Manneh, who discussed his journey from Gambia to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Topping off the evening was a performance by American Idol season 2 finalist and fiancée of Jordan Harvey, Kimberly Caldwell.
Day two followed with a skills and drills portion for nearly 400 Aboriginal children and youth – 100 more than the event last year – with the help of Beitashour, Harvey, Manneh, Christian Dean, Gershon Koffie, Nigel Reo-Coker, Russell Teibert, Erik Hurtado, Nicolas Mezquida and Darren Mattocks.
Valentine interacted with the community and demonstrated skills with the help of mascot Spike, who ruffled some feathers on his own. Coaching clinics were also offered to all participants, led by Robinson, as well as a goalkeeper clinic led by Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted. Thousands of smiles could be seen on the faces of the children and youth and a great time was experienced by all involved.
The 2014 Hope and Health movement brought together 10 different member Nations to support youth development and empowerment through “the beautiful game” of soccer. The lead agencies and Whitecaps FC would like to thank all of the sponsors including Harbour Air Seaplane , Grimms Fine Foods and Kind Snacks for helping to make the event possible. The ’Caps are proud to have been a part of a wonderful and inspiring event that truly encapsulated the meaning of the theme “nautsa’mawt”: oneness in heart and of mind.
Whitecaps FC are also proud to announce that the club's nominee for the 2014 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP contest is William “Bill” Yoachim, the Executive Director of Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services, an elected member of Chief and Council for Snuneymuxw First Nation and co-founder of the annual Hope and Health movement. Bill is up against 18 other Community MVPs in the journey to become the 2014 MLS WORKS Community MVP. The Grand Prize winner will be determined based on the voting results during a two-week period, until Friday, July 25 at 1 p.m. PT. Bill needs the support of the community to help win the Grand Prize, which includes a $10,000 donation to the winner’s charity of choice and a trip to the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game in Portland, Oregon! Show your support to accelerate the Hope and Health movement and recognize Yoachim for his determination to make a difference and vote today, and as many times as possible, throughout the duration of the contest by clicking here!