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Elizabeth Fry Society holds a summer camp to support vulnerable children during COVID-19

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver is a charitable organization that supports some of the society’s most vulnerable populations, including women, girls and children at risk, and those who are involved in or affected by the justice system. At Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, more than two dozen programs work to break the cycle of poverty, addiction, mental illness, homelessness and crime throughout the Lower Mainland with the support of more than 450 volunteers.

They are committed to actively promoting equal access and opportunity for all persons regardless of race, colour, ability, ethnicity, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, income, physical or mental disability, gender, sexual orientation or age.

SurreyCares Community Foundation has provided a $17,992.00 grant to Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver to hold a COVID-19 edition of the Blue Sky Summer Camp to provide enriched summer camp experiences for vulnerable children, including those who have experienced homelessness, have a parent in prison, or have witnessed abuse.

From left: Michelle Moloney, Director of Clinical Services and Kirsty Gordon, Supervisor of Just Kids talking with SurreyCares Executive Director Christine Buttkus and Board Director Linda Annis.,

“COVID-19 has been a significant challenge to our families, those who are most vulnerable.” Explained Vera LeFranc, Chief Operating Officer at The Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, “Over the past three months, Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver has responded to the pandemic with the philosophy that no person will be turned away from our shelters.” Regarding the Blue Sky Summer Camp, Vera said that “[Blue Sky Day Camp] will ensure every child we serve enters school in the fall with an increased sense of self-confidence, and the academic and social skills required to have a successful year.”

The University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health, has been working alongside Elizabeth Fry (EFry) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Growing Great Kids model on reducing the number of children entering into government care and breaking the intergenerational cycle of children in care. Family resiliency summaries of year 3 showed the following results with respect to the % of clients who experienced a minimum of two basis points increase in the domain over the period they attended Elizabeth Fry (EFry) programs:

  • Child well-being /Family interactions: 81%

  • Self-sufficiency/ Mental health + well-being: 62%

  • Basic physical needs, including housing and environment: 62%

Michelle Moloney Kirsty Gordon

The grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares.

Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares, explained, "The COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for housing, mental health, and other supports for vulnerable populations. This program provides much-needed support to vulnerable children and families, whose needs are greatly amplified during this pandemic.”

The Emergency Community Support Fund is being delivered through a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.



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