March 6, 2017 Winner

Congratulations to PLEA Community Services

Left to Right: Jen Graham, Development & Communications Manager – PLEA; Ann Alexander, Founder – PLEA; Charlene Fekeshazy, Founding Chair 100WomenVan

Left to Right: Jen Graham, Development & Communications Manager – PLEA; Ann Alexander, Founder – PLEA; Charlene Fekeshazy, Founding Chair 100WomenVan

PLEA Community Services was chosen as our winner at our March 6th meeting at Steamworks in Gastown for a $7,400 donation for their Kid Start program.

KidStart 6-12 is a unique volunteer-driven one-to-one mentoring program developed by PLEA Community Services, for children ages 6 to 12 across the Lower Mainland. KidStart began as a way to assist the younger siblings of youth who had entered PLEA’s youth justice programs by providing them with a trained, caring adult role model to prevent them from following the same path. They have since expanded the program to allow access for any child who is susceptible to challenges, such as bullying, substance misuse, family crisis, exploitation, and criminal behaviours, and who requires additional support to develop positive behaviours and reconnect with their community. Due to the complexity of the risk factors they face, these young people are often not eligible for other mentorship programs. The program is fully funded by charitable giving. There is no cost to the family.

PLEA recruits, screens, trains and provides ongoing support to adult volunteers who mentor these young people. They meet with their mentee weekly, engaging them in a variety of community activities that are fun and have the potential to create new interests, discover inherent talents and abilities, and reinforce strengths. The goal is to help children overcome any challenges they face to gain the confidence to make positive contributions in their communities.

The program has an average monthly caseload of 150 kids. The donation PLEA received from 100 Women Who Care Vancouver will be used to fund these activities. With $7,400 they can provide more than 200 life changing experiences.

As a testament to the impact KidStart can have on the life of those in the program, PLEA would like to introduce Simon Murphy* to us. Simon was the youngest of 8 brothers, 7 of whom were already in jail. All of the professionals involved with the family (social workers, probation officers, school teachers) knew that Simon would be lost if we didn’t do something. But he didn’t fit any government funded services. He was too young! And so PLEA found him a volunteer mentor, and that mentor stayed with him until he was 18 years old. He never got in trouble with the law. One time he let the fire extinguisher off at high school, but that was it…only that! So PLEA knows KidStart works. (*Names have been changes to protect client privacy and confidentiality)