We are very proud to have completed our 2021 granting cycle and excited to announce we recently granted nearly $1.2 million to 78 incredible community programs across Vancouver.
Through this annual grant program, individual VPD officers apply for funding to develop and manage programs to address needs or gaps that they personally identify in the community. Many of these programs are operated on a voluntary basis by these dedicated VPD officers, supporting thousands of individuals, including children, women & seniors.
In keeping with our mandate, all $1.2 million was granted to programs that fall within one of our four pillars:
Mental Health & Addictions: $121,421
Community Outreach & Engagement: $368,170
Technology & Special Equipment: $127,952
The new Fly Fishing Respectful Positive Mentoring Program is one of the many programs we are proud to be funding within our Youth pillar for the first time. Through an impactful partnership between the VPD, RCMP, RayCam Community Centre, and Strathcona Community Centre, this program will support specifically identified at-risk youth from the Downtown Eastside though outdoor activities and education such as camping and fly fishing. It will provide these youth an escape from the streets and the poverty of the Downtown Eastside and take them on a journey of exploration and adventure connecting to naturewhile receiving impactful, non-judgmental and long-lasting mentorship.
“Youth want to feel that they are connected to the world and to be part of something,” explains, VPD Cst Kyle Marynick. “This program will provide positive mentorship, support and affect the lives of many vulnerable youth in a positive way. Taking these youth away from the streets and into nature will have a lasting impact on them as individuals as well as the communities that they are living in.”
In support of our Mental Health & Addictions pillar, we are excited to fund the VPD Film Festival. By partnering with East Vancouver’s Templeton Secondary School, the VPD Film Festival will educate and engage vulnerable high school students to create their own films that encompass themes of mental health and addiction. As a means to teach youth about the importance of taking care of their own mental health as well as avoiding addictive substances, this program will be delivered as an after-school initiative over the course of six weeks. Several VPD volunteers will assist the youth with their respective films to teach film technique, encourage creativity, empower the students, and ultimately provide a positive outlet for dialog around mental health and addictions issues. The program will conclude with an actual VPD Film Festival at Templeton to showcase each film at a premiere-style event.
“By presenting a positive outlet, the Film Fest will empower youth to express their creativity and help spread awareness of mental health issues to other youth,” explains VPD Cst. Renan Cabrera. Cst. Cabrera undertook undergraduate studies in media arts and film before becoming a police officer.
Under the Community Outreach & Engagement pillar, the Healing Path initiative is new program founded by a VPD member in partnership with the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre and with endorsements by Reconciliation Canada, to raise awareness about the complex relationship between the police and the Indigenous community. Beading, and in particular the order of beads, holds great significance in Indigenous culture. The goal is to create and distribute 3,000 culturally significant hand-crafted beaded necklace and pins. These are to be worn by police officers, members of the Indigenous community and the general public to visually signify the person’s willingness to participate in dialogue and sharing of culture and experiences intended to heal these relationships moving forward.
“The Healing Path initiative will create important interconnectivity by bringing police and Indigenous communities together,” says VPD Cst Tyler Urquhart.
One of the initiatives within the Technology & Special Equipment pillar that we are pleased to be supporting helps victims of abuse in emergency situations. This particular grant will provide the VPD’s Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit with 20 cellphones (with data plans) to be discreetly given to deserving and high-need individuals who are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or assault, elder abuse and/or criminal harassment. These phones will assist individuals, mostly women, with calling 911 for emergency help, stay in touch with detectives, and be able to easily reach out to support services such as shelters/housing and medical care. These phones can also be used as a camera to take immediate photographs and videos of personal injuries, violence in action, and/or damage to property.
It is important to recognize that the last 12 months have been nothing short of a significant challenge for everyone. While many of the commitments we made for 2020 were deferred or cancelled due to the pandemic, we are excited that these programs will take place in 2021. During a time where support for many communities was needed more than ever, it is also imperative we applaud those officers that were able to pivot and adapt their programs in 2020 to ensure they were still able to be delivered in the COVID environment.
Whether it’s supporting vulnerable or at-risk youth, fostering a culturally inclusive society, providing mental health support, or using telecommunications to save lives, each of the programs we grant to reduce crime and increase public safety in Vancouver.
To see a greater selection of programs funded during our 2021 grant cycle, please click here.