Hope and Health - Spike and kid

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC are pleased to announce that the club will be participating in Hope and Health for the fifth year in a row.

Hope and Health is an annual event that utilizes soccer to build resilience and connection amongst Aboriginal children and youth. More than just an event, Hope and Health is a movement to inspire hope, as well as improve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and life conditions for Aboriginal children and youth.

Hope and Health began in Nanaimo, BC five years ago. This year, in addition to the annual Nanaimo event, Hope and Health will hold a second event in Vancouver. The inaugural Vancouver event will take place on Wednesday, July 20 at Musqueam Park, while the Nanaimo event will be held on Wednesday, August 31 at Beban Park.

Over 600 children are expected to attend from over 40 First Nation communities, including first time participation from Musqueam Indian Band, Tsleil-Wautnuth Nation, Sumas First Nation, Tsawwassen First Nation, Métis Family Services, Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society.

At both events, Whitecaps FC players and coaches will host soccer skills, drills, and games, as well as a goalkeeper clinic.

The Vancouver event on Wednesday, July 20 will see appearances by Whitecaps FC players David Ousted, Kendall Waston, Blas Pérez, Tim Parker, Russell Teibert, Jordan Harvey, Fraser Aird, Pa-Modou Kah and Christian Dean. Spike, the Whitecaps FC mascot, will also make a special appearance.

“Whitecaps FC are thrilled to be partnering with Hope and Health once again this year and to be participating in the inaugural Vancouver event,” said club president Bob Lenarduzzi. “It’s about giving these incredible youth an opportunity to play soccer, meet their heroes, and inspire them to overcome any adversities that they may face.”

This year’s events will be presented in partnership with the Hope and Health For Life Society, Musqueam Indian Band, Kw'umut Lelum Child and Family Service Agency and multiple generous local corporate sponsors.

In 2014, Bill Yoachim, the Executive Director of Kw'umut Lelum and Lalum’utul' Smun’eem Child and Family Services, was nominated as Whitecaps FC’s Community MVP and went on to win the league-wide contest. As a result, $10,000 was donated to directly to children and youth to participate in Hope and Health. The last four years of Hope and Health have been hugely successful, engaging over 1,200 Aboriginal children and youth in soccer since the inaugural event.

Hope and Health events are open to Aboriginal children and youth ages 5-18. Participants must pre-register at hopeandhealth.org to attend.

Hope and Health (Vancouver)
Wednesday, July 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT at Musqueam Park

Hope and Health (Nanaimo)
Wednesday, August 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT at Beban Park

Watch footage from last year's Hope and Health event in Nanaimo below: