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How the 'Hope & Health for Life' Sports Program Continues to Encourage BC Communities

Photo by Bob Frid

Hope & Health for Life utilize sports-based programs and social movements to improve long-term health and life outcomes for Indigenous children and youth, their families and community members. Their community-based program is called "Hope and Health at Home," - also known as "H3."

I had the pleasure of talking with Deana Gill and Ed Georgica, two of the founders from Hope and Health for Life about the change in their programs as we all navigate the changes to daily routines.

How did 'Hope & Health for Life' materialize?

Two of our co-founders, William Yoachim and Ed Georgica, recognized that sports saved their lives. They grew up with lots of risk factors and trauma. Sports allowed them to achieve their highest potential and learn true leadership skills.

They talked about how Indigenous children and communities are the most vulnerable and under-represented in sports and sports opportunities. Take soccer, for example, how many Indigenous professional soccer player role-models for Indigenous youth can you name? With Ed working for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer team, he brought the idea forward to the club and they were eager to partner to deliver a summer day-camp specifically for indigenous children and youth. It brought a lot of joy to the kids and their communities. It has since developed into a not-for-profit organization with an even larger vision.

Kelsey Jack, Penelakut Tribe Junior Ambassador for Hope and Health

How has your program adapted to remain ‘open’?

H3, our eight-week community program, based in different communities across BC, has been suspended due to COVID-19. Putting these programs on hold was hard – parents and youth looked forward to the programs, and it was challenging to have to cancel them. Our goal is to develop life and leadership skills through soccer and other sports. We bring the community together by engaging children and youth in an active, playful way, and inspire them to set goals towards achieving their dreams.

We discussed it and decided we would experiment with what this would look like virtually and call it the H3 Daily Challenge.

Deana Gill, Executive Director & Co-Founder

Photo by Bob Frid

We decided to take our programs virtual in the form of daily challenges. Each week from Monday to Friday, our coaches, coordinators, and indigenous youth ambassadors create videos for our social pages. We’ve had Whitecaps' previous players and captains create videos to create some fun engagement, including Vancouver Whitecaps Goal Keeper, David Ousted. He posted a video for H3 all the way from Norway!

One of our daily challenges is to participate in the 7 pm Vancouver cheer by going out on the front porch, backyard or balcony and cheer as loud as possible to show appreciation for all the frontline workers.

We encourage the kids to connect with the bigger picture and express gratitude for our frontline workers. We practice what we preach, we have our own kids outside banging pots and pans every day at 7 pm too!

💢H3 Daily Challenge💢 On International Day of Happiness, boost your happy through an in home workout inspired by... Vancouver Whitecaps FC Jake Nerwinski and fiancée Allie with their “Couch Challenge” with a squat/planks combo to keep your body fit💪🏻and spirits up❤️ ⠀ Give this #H3challenge a GO or ANY other activity we post to build your overall fitness, soccer and life skills! ⠀ Take a picture post workout or video clip (30 secs) yourself in action- post and tag us, with #H3challenge and you will be entered into a weekly prize draw! Bonus entries for each friend you tag to take the challenge. ‼️‼️PRIZE DRAW AT 4PM TODAY for a $100. Amazon.ca gift card‼️‼️ ⠀ Be safe-anyone under the age of 14 should do all activities with parent permission/supervision and 6 feet away from others 💢 ⠀ LET’S GO HOPE AND HEALTH’ERS‼️ ⠀ UBC Women's Soccer UBC Thunderbirds Vancouver Whitecaps FC Pacific FC Soccer Express Helijet Kw'umut Lelum Matt Arnett Lynda Sutherland Cordell Jack Thompson Nelson Shirley May Shaun Crocker Laura Lynn Jack Denny Jack Sr. Courtenay Gibson #changinglives #champions #oneheartonemind Jake Nerwinski

Posted by Hope and Health on Friday, March 20, 2020

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Jake Nerwinski and fiancée Allie with their “Couch Challenge”!

Watch the Hope and Health space for new and exciting online programs!

Find H3 Daily Challenges here:
Instagram / Facebook / Website

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