During these unprecedented times, community involvements can be more special than ever.
Approximately five years ago, Russell Teibert visited Penelakut Island as part of the Hope and Health program. This initiative started as a friend helping another friend and the people of his community. But then, it developed into something much stronger.
“They had brought a few players in to come help kind of implement that program, which uses soccer as a tool to give kids a sense of belonging, purpose, and really grow within a team atmosphere and team dynamic,” said Teibert. “It didn't necessarily have to do with soccer, but it was just using sport as a tool, from what we all get from different things as for can give you those are lifelong relationships, working within a team learning how to communicate and things of that nature.”
Building a special relationship with Penelakut Island led Teibert to continue helping out the community.
- 'CAPS IN THE COMMUNITY: Whitecaps FC players making a difference with new community programs
“I've always wanted to go back. I told the people in the community that I wanted to come back. I feel like a sense of being at home here, this place is amazing, I love the community, and it's just a special place to me,” said Teibert.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so many communities in a number of ways.
Since then, Ali Adnan, Inbeom Hwang, and Teibert have donated $4,000 worth of food and essential goods, which were distributed throughout the Penelakut Island community. In addition, the club donated 50 new Unity jerseys.
Teibert said that he most recently visited Penelakut Island in November, and that for him, was an experience of a lifetime.
“I really felt like I was part of the community and part of that family,” said Teibert.
Teibert said that initiatives like these have the potential to be life changing to people in that community, and can grow past the communities.
“It could be anybody. But this was something special to me this started off as just wanting to help a friend to raise awareness and doing so, and it evolved into something much greater.”