Through generous donations made by our community, the Vancouver Police Foundation funds innovative, creative, and inspiring VPD community programs each year.
These programs and initiatives fall outside of the regular operating budget of the city and the VPD officers that operate these programs typically do so on their own time – after a shift or on days off. Program support falls within four key areas: Community Outreach & Engagement, Mental Health and Addictions, Youth and Technology & Special Equipment.
Below are some of the programs that were funded by the Foundation in 2020 thanks to the support of our donors. We were truly inspired this year, by the versatility, adaptability and ingenuity of the VPD officers who have pivoted and refined their programs to adapt to the pandemic and continue to reach those most in need.
Personal Safety Alarm $7,591
This program aims to distribute over 7,000 personal safety alarms to residents in the Strathcona neighbourhood and via the Chinese Community Policing Centre to support those feeling threatened in their neighbourhood. The alarm emits a loud, piercing noise and is intended to deter criminals intent on committing crimes against people.
Safety Resource Kits $11,800
With no time to gather basic supplies, domestic violence victims often have limited financial resources to assist themselves and their children or will feel pressured to return to their abuser. The Safety Resource Kits, prepared by detectives from the VPD’s Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit are tailored to the individual and can contain grocery or drugstore cards, emergency whistles, hand sanitizer, a 911 cell phone or phone minutes, protective cloth masks, emergency snacks and more. These Safety Resource Kits contain products like clothing, food, water, hygiene products, bus passes, cell phone pre-paid cards to empower victims to get away and start again.
Project Landmark $24,098
An innovative project to hand out street address numbers to homes and businesses in Strathcona and Hastings neighbourhoods. The numbers come with a pamphlet (translated into multiple languages) explaining the purpose of the project, which is to affix the street address in the back lane to make it easier for first responders to find the address they are looking for. Vancouver has no bylaw mandating rear address signage, which can delay first responder response times by several minutes – too long in the case of life-threatening emergencies.
Women’s Personal Safety Team $13,090
The VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team is a truly unique program supporting women’s safety in our community. The program enhances women’s security, self-protection and confidence by providing the tools to prevent and defend from asocial violence, including education, training and resources. The Team teaches women of all ages, demographics and abilities and recently pivoted the program to offer virtual sessions due to the pandemic. Since inception in 2012, the Women’s Personal Safety Team has impacted more than 6,400 females, including 2,000 teens and 4,400 women.
Lunch with The Chief $5,000
The popular Lunch with the Chief series connects residents of the Downtown Eastside with VPD frontline and executive officers, including the Chief Constable. Lunches take place at the Carnegie Community Centre approximately four times a year and have been hugely successful in improving relationships between law enforcement and community members. By providing an informal platform for engagement, participants are able to share in food and conversation, as a way to break down established barriers of communication and have meaningful, positive interactions in a neutral environment.
Her Time $15,000
Gang Education and Prevention programs have primarily been conducted with a male-focus, yet young women are also victims of gang violence and the tragedies that come with involvement in gang life. Her Time was created to provide young women with a voice and to allow women to actively participate in taking control of their lives. Her Time has reached over 40 schools and over 5,000 students, educators and community partners. Proactively, the program provides young women with the tools, resources and knowledge about the dangers of gang lifestyle. Reactively, the program offers women currently involved or at high-risk to becoming involved in gang life the opportunity to connect with the detectives who will provide assistance with an exit strategy.
Out On Patrol $14,000
A peer support group for LGBTQ members of law enforcement that provides a safe space for connecting and sharing. The group will undertake community-based education and awareness programming. The Foundation provided start up funding to get them set up as a society.
A peer-led mental wellness program for grade 7 students which aims to reduce the stigma of mental health. This five-year pilot project works in conjunction with the Vancouver School Board and Canadian Mental Health Association Vancouver Branch. The program is facilitated by VPD members from the Youth Services Section and delivers workshops as well as facilitator training so that grades 10-12 facilitators work directly with grade 7 students. Not only does this program intend to make conversations about mental health a regular part of conversations and interactions, it provides a list of resources and how to access them for youth.
The ID4ME identification project is designed to assist low barrier and vulnerable individuals to move forward in their lives by providing them with photo identification. The success of this program has been felt, in particular, in the Downtown Eastside with the residents in the area using their new ID to open bank accounts, obtain improved housing, and upgrading their education. Every contact made with individuals in this program closes the gap in helping to strengthen the existing relationship with the Police. Since 2015, the Vancouver Police Foundation has supported ID4ME which has already acquired birth certificates, BCID, BC Services card and Status cards, changing the lives and lifestyles of residents in our community.
Trafficking Awareness Through Technology $10,000
The VPD’s Counter Exploitation Unit is the only investigative unit in BC targeting and focusing on human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Exploitation can occur to people from all walks of life, from the most vulnerable to those with supportive family and stable socioeconomic backgrounds. Youth and young people are especially vulnerable. This project will raise awareness through social media and will help people identify a pimp and to prevent them engaging with one; the second focus is to ensure that victims or potential victims have easy access to outreach and resources.
Streetfront Alternative Program $3,000
The Streetfront Alternative Program at Britannia Secondary caters to students between 14 – 17 years who struggle in a traditional classroom due to psychosocial challenges. A majority of Streetfront’s students live in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Streetfront emphasizes physical activity as a way to engage struggling students, with a major focus on training to run marathons. In 2018, a 17-year old student involved with the program for several years qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time under 3 hours. It teaches the importance of positive lifestyle choices, mental and physical fitness, leadership, community spirit and socially responsible behavior. It gives students experience in building relationships and achieving milestones through hard work.
Safety City $50,000
A pedestrian safety program for children in Grade 2. Safety City is a mobile miniature city, complete with streets laid out in blocks with intersections, stop lights and other road markings. VPD traffic officers instruct the students on the rules of the road and then move them to Safety City, where they take turns walking the streets and then “driving” pedal powered cars to understand the rules of the road from a driver’s perspective.
Windermere Run Club $3,000
The Club provides a supportive and welcoming running environment for dozens of youth. Grades 8-12 students are at-risk of negative association, criminal involvement and victimization. By participating in the Club, led by a VPD School Liaison Officer, the youth are learning to overcome personal challenges together by running as a collective and encouraging each other. In addition, they develop positive relationships with VPD members. The Foundation will fund the purchase of running gear for students to train safely and in all weather conditions, as well as race entrance fees and other expenses.
VPD Cadet Program $350,000
The VPD Cadet program is a unique leadership program for Vancouver youth in grades 10 – 12 that teaches tangible life-skills such as financial literacy, managing one’s personal brand, interviewing, teamwork and collaboration, diet and nutrition and more. This 28-week, youth-at-risk program has a positive and profound impact on their lives. The program commenced in September of 2014 with seed funding provided by the VPD Cadet Program Founding Partners and proceeds from the 2014 Night Patrol Gala. The Vancouver Police Department, along with the Vancouver Police Foundation and its community partners, are deeply committed to giving Vancouver’s youth every possible chance for a successful and happy life. Through mentorship, we can guide young people, especially those who live in low-income neighbourhoods, toward a positive future.
With the numbers of newcomer youth entering Vancouver area schools continuing to increase, the Foundation is committed to continue its support of NewKids program to support new immigrant and refugee youth to develop a sense of identity and belonging. The ten-week program focuses on instilling education and awareness around law enforcement through peer and police mentorship, to avert the risk of negative behaviours, and criminal involvement. In addition, it offers newcomer and refugee youth the chance to form positive relationships, instilling civic pride, self-empowerment and a foundation for positive decision making.