Combatting youth homelessness through hockey

On April 5th, 2024, hockey pros and community heroes will take the ice at MNP Place with the common goal of ending homelessness.

The net proceeds from the one-day Hockey Helps the Homeless charity tournament, presented by Peacock Sheridan Group and Value Partners Investments, will support youth through BGC Okanagan’s Shelter Diversion and Upstream Kelowna programs.

Be a game-changer for the youth in your community

BGC Okanagan’s CEO, Jeremy Welder, said that according to the largest survey on youth homelessness in Canada (Without a Home study), more than 40 per cent of respondents shared that they first experienced homelessness before reaching the age of 16.

“The impact of exposure to being homeless at a young age can be long-lasting and contribute to being chronically homeless, as well as complex health and mental health problems. Through the Upstream Kelowna program, we provide a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to addressing youth homelessness and school disengagement by identifying youth that need support. Along with our community support partners, we can get young people the resources they need and make an impact before they end up in crisis,” said Welder.

Upstream Kelowna has demonstrated great success at two middle schools in Kelowna. A total of 155 students used the supports provided by BGC Okanagan and their community organization partners.

Shelter Diversion is also prevention focused.

“Youth are safer when surrounded by people who care about them, Shelter Diversion engages family, friends and neighbours in creating a solution for the youth that surrounds them with these people while they are in crisis,” said Welder.

How you can support the prevention of youth homelessness at this event

Hockey Helps the Homeless offers many ways for the public to support the ongoing efforts of BGC Okanagan. Lace up your skates for a chance to play alongside NHL alumni, such as Jordan Tootoo, Ron Sutter, Todd Simpson and others. Come help on game day working the registration table or timekeeping. Or, bid on the many wonderful items in the Silent Auction. There is great NHL memoribilia such as a Connor Bedard autographed jersey, other player autographed items, wine and golf packages! All information can be found by clicking here to visit the player registration, donor and silent auction webpage.

Hockey players skate by their bench giving high-five's at the Hockey Helps the Homeless event held in Ottawa.

Hockey Helps the Homeless event in Ottawa.
PHOTO: Tim Austen

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