FALL 2020 COMMUNITY SERVICE UPDATE
September 23, 2020
The Vancouver Police Foundation
The Thiessen Team support of the Vancouver Police Foundation funds a number of Vancouver Police Department community building and youth programs each year. These initiatives often support those that are vulnerable and at-risk. Below are a few programs that we have chosen to highlight, along with how the VPD officers who run these programs, often on their own time after shift or on weekends, have adapted to deal with the new reality created by COVID-19.
The VPD Cadet program focuses on empowering youth to become the very best they can be by increasing confidence and resiliency; working with participants to help them overcome adversity; and to teach them practical life skills.
When the program was developed, no one could have imagined that the world would face the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. From that perspective, the VPD Cadet’s objectives of increased resiliency and adaptability were put to the test like never before.
VPD Cadet Class 6 was able to participate in the program as it normally runs until March 2020. At that time, the coronavirus pandemic caused the closure of schools and all group gatherings. The Cadet instructors, team leads and Ms. Ashley Currie, contract counsellor to the Cadet program, immediately got to work to figure out how to deliver the program virtually. Most importantly, they all made themselves available to connect with the Cadets by leveraging technology. Many of the Cadets come from difficult backgrounds: racialized minorities; single-parent or multi-generational families under one roof; lower socio-economic tiers; with parents or siblings who have had multiple engagements with law enforcement; and more.
In addition to delivering the regular curriculum via technology, the program instructors added additional content, including how to plan and cope with social isolation; develop time management skills; and an increased focus on mental health and self-care. They conducted mid-week Zoom workout sessions, something that doesn’t happen during the regular program and the program leaders were able to connect personally with 90% of the Cadets, particularly via text and IM apps.
The year culminated in a virtual graduation.
Assertive Outreach Team
The Assertive Outreach Team (AOT) is a unique collaboration between VPD and health care professionals who support vulnerable and at-risk clients struggling with mental health issues and drug addiction.
Cst. Ian Mayne saw an opportunity to partner with the VPF to help one of the most vulnerable groups of clients - homeless individuals that self-isolate and refuse to visit shelters. He proposed creating care packs to provide these clients with some basic necessities, but also to allow AOT team members to engage with them more easily.
So far, 150 Care packs have been distributed and have had a profound impact on those receiving them. One client, suffering from schizophrenia and drug addicted, was initially distrustful of the team and wouldn’t engage. After the care pack was introduced, he was very thankful and became more open about his life and background. He began to ask for Ian by name and became much more stable, ultimately transitioning to care by the Community Mental Health Team of Vancouver Coastal Health.
The VPD Foundation and the VPD members support numerous activities that create safe opportunities for youth & young adults.
For more information on this great cause, please visit www.vancouverpolicefoundation.org
COVID-19 has changed how many of us live - and the children and families we serve around the world are no exception. As we continue to adapt to the changing situation in each country where we work, we’ve added a new, important program: PPE distributions!
As mask regulations came into effect around the world, we were seeing kids with little more than rags tied around their faces. Often these masks were full of holes and not even very clean - we’re sure they weren’t doing much to slow the spread of COVID-19. It was clear the simple requirement to cover faces in public was a burden our families weren’t equipped to meet.
So, we put together a package including a new, clean face mask, and a supply of soap so that each child can keep both their hands and their mask clean!
But the best part is how those healthy meals bring more kids to the Life Center!
Along with protective gear, we’re also including a special devotional reminding each recipient that Jesus is our only true source of peace in troubled times like these. Our kids have faced so much upheaval in the last few months. Our biggest desire is that they would turn to Jesus for comfort and hope and that their faith would grow stronger as a result of this pandemic. Pairing Bible teaching with our PPE deliveries is an excellent opportunity to point kids to Christ!
We started delivering these PPE packages first in Peru, a country that has been particularly hard-hit by the virus. We have sadly seen a number of COVID cases in our Peru community, and have mourned alongside our kids when they’ve lost parents, teachers, relatives, and friends. We’ve also seen God work true miracles in Peru, as patients recovered even after the doctors had given up hope. As these masks reach each child, we’re praying they would be miracles too, keeping the kids safe and healthy in the weeks and months ahead!
We’ve also started delivering PPE packages in Uganda, and plan to move on to our other locations soon. These PPE deliveries often occur alongside food or water filter deliveries. With the loss of work due to lockdown measures, many families and children are left in truly desperate circumstances. By providing basic needs like food, water, and now face masks, we’re reminding kids that someone cares about them. And by pairing it all with the Gospel message, we’re able to provide hope not only for today but for eternity too!
Bill Nienhuis, President & CEO
For more information on this great cause, please visit www.childcareworldwide.org
Erik with his newest prosthetic
Group of children receiving their PPE
B.C. CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL FOUNDATIONProjects supported by Thiessen Equipment Ltd. include:
-Mass Spectrometer used in sensitive research that detects very minute changes in proteins.
-T.R.A.C.E., Provides children across BC with personalized medicine using patients own cells to prevent rejection of organ transplants, kill cancer & fight infections.
-CAPE This registry expansion and CAPE Database Project.
The research in child and adolescent psychiatry (RiCAP) is a powerful tool that helps to collect and analyze information on the child and adolescent. CAPE to better support these kids.
As cases of the novel COVID-19 virus began to surface across BC just before spring break, it wasn’t long before the entire province went into lockdown. Schools and businesses closed, loved ones limited their in-person interactions, and the health care system had to pivot - and in short order.
As one of the province’s 19 primary COVID hospital care sites, every child in BC who required intensive care due to the virus was to be treated at BC Children’s. Experts had to rapidly mobilize in order to ensure that the hospital was prepared to meet its evolving needs - while they continued to deliver the highest level of care to kids and families.
In the face of this pandemic, something remarkable occurred. Despite the distance among us, we became stronger than ever together. Many generous supporters immediately stepped forward to see how they could help the hospital take on its challenges. Through this remarkable generosity, countless strides have been made in children’s health care. Here’s a look at several of them.
- During this time of unprecedented change, the top research minds at BC Children’s Hospital quickly rallied together to embark on new paths to better understand the virus - launching a total of 46 studies related to COVID-19.
- At a time when children were already feeling isolated, physical distancing measures meant that playrooms had to close, which left child life experts with a shortage of bedside activities. To help comfort and engage them, numerous games, books, puzzles, art kits and more were provided. Donor support also helped purchase items like gift cards for coffee and food to help alleviate stress for families - as well as 20 tablets to help them stay connected to loved ones.
- Weeks after the pandemic hit, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation helped raise funds for critical virtual health technology to help more kids and families receive world-class care, where and when they needed it.
Director, Major Gifts
For more information on this great cause, please visit www.bcchf
CANUCKS AUTISM NETWORK (CAN)
While COVID-19 has been hard on us all, it has been particularly challenging for individuals with autism and their families who areespecially vulnerable to social isolation, depression and anxiety. Countless parents of kids with autism who were already stressed and alienated before the pandemic have been pushed to their limits. It’s become clear that the need for Canucks Autism Network has never been greater.
Founded in 2008, Canucks Autism Network (CAN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing programs for individuals with autism and their families, while promoting acceptance and inclusion through community engagement and training initiatives across BC.
There are currently over 16,000 families living with autism in BC alone. That’s one in every 46 kids.
Too often, children with autism face barriers to participating in community-based programs, and as a result, they’releft on the sidelines feeling excluded and alone.
CAN works to get kids with autism back into the field of play by delivering sports and rec programs that empower participants to learn new skills, gain confidence, and have fun.CAN also provides programs for youth and adults with autism that are designed to promote physical and mental health, while supporting transitions into independent living. Beyond their program offerings, CAN is actively dedicated to increasing autism understanding and accessibility to build capacity and facilitate inclusion of individuals with autism in all community spaces.
Unfortunately, like many charities, CAN’s crucial work has been negatively impacted by the unexpected health crisis. COVID-19 has created unforeseen financial challenges, roadblocks to facility access, and new barriers to participation for children with autism, such as social distancing protocols.
CAN has responded quickly to the changing landscape by moving much of their programming online so that individuals with autism and their families can continue to benefit from the support, connection, routine and respite that CAN programs provide, while staying safe at home. They have also started to gradually re-introduce their in-person programs and family events with new COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
But they can’t keep it up on their own. In order to ensure that Canucks Autism Network can continue to serve families living with autism long after the pandemic, they need your help.
Hear firsthand from a parent who has benefitted from CAN’s support during COVID by reading Kaya’s Story. Learn how CAN’s virtual programming has helped Keara, a 24-year-old with autism, feel less depressed and alone. Join us in supporting CAN’s vital work at www.canucksautism.ca/give.
Together, we can give more families living with autism hope that they will get through this.
For more information on this great cause, please visit https://www.canucksautism.ca/
SANDI'S VILLAGE PROVIDES HOPE FOR CHILDREN IN DESPAIR
I recently returned from our annual trip to Uganda. I was in Southern Uganda touring through and visiting various facilities of Childcare Worldwide.
After spending three nights on Bugala Island, which is located on Lake Victoria, I travelled to Masaka. It was during this portion of the trip that I met Annette, Maureen and Emanuel, aged 15, 13 and 10. Nothing unusual here...except these three had been living alone for 5 years without either parent! Their father had died two years after the youngest was born. Their mother died a few years later when Annette was only 10.
This photo shows the "family" house that the children lived in for those five years.
How Annette managed to care for her two siblings is nothing short of miraculous...I was told a few of their stories of hardship which left me in shock.
Childcare Worldwide only recently became aware of these children. We immediately began the process of relocating them to Sandi's Village on Bugala Island.
There are 400 Childcare Children living here at Sandi's Village. Along with the children's village, there is a school and medical clinic staffed by a registered nurse 24/7. Soon after the children arrived, it was discovered that Annette had Malaria, which was treated at the Village Clinic. All three children also had a number of foot related issues, due to not wearing any sort of shoes, which have since been treated.
They are enjoying their new life here in this safe, loving environment.
All of these children are in need of sponsorship. If you feel compelled to help and sponsor one or all three of these kids, the cost is $38.00 per month, per child. Contact www.childcareworldwide.org.
Below you will see a photo of our newest family members. The oldest is Emma (Emanuel) and the little fellow with no left foot is Erik. Emma was born with severe Club Feet. At the age of six, Emma was taken to a hospital in Entebbe, where doctors worked on him over a six month period to correct his Club Feet.
Erik's story is a little more tragic. Born with no lower calf and foot below the left knee, Erik's father immediately gave an ultimatum to his wife..."I don't make junk, take the child away and dispose of it, or I will leave you forever." The wife said goodbye to her husband and chose to be a mother, to raise and love her son Erik.
Both of these boys have survived and thrived due to the work of Childcare Worldwide and specifically, in their cases, the "Starfish Fund." This Childcare Worldwide progam (that people donate to), provided the funds for Emma to have his Club Feet corrected, and it also provided funds for Erik's doctors and his prosthetics (Erik is currently on his third prosthetic).
-Sandi & Lawrence
Our Involvement with Childcare Worldwide
THIESSEN TEAM STAFF PURCHASES 'AMBULANCE' FOR UGANDA
Since 2007, Lawrence & Sandi continue to travel on behalf of Childcare Worldwide, primarily to Kenya and Uganda. Once, over a 10-month period, Lawrence travelled to Africa 3 times due to the feeding crisis along the Somalia/Kenya border, at the world's largest refugee camp.
While the need is huge and at time seems overwhelming, we continue to do what we can, "one child at a time."
Above is a photo from my Spring 2013 trip, where I presented the keys to a motorcycle to the nurse at Sandi's Village, located on Bugala Island. This Childcare Worldwide Village is home to over 400 children. Due to impassable roads during the rainy season, a motorcycle is the only machine that can transport a sick child to the local hospital, a 45-minute drive away.
Message from Lawrence & Sandi Thiessen
It was during an early trip to Africa in 1999 that I became aware of the huge needs that people in most all parts of Africa suffer from. We had all heard of the starving, drought besieged Ethiopians many years earlier, then the AIDS epidemic that swept through all of Africa... but the problem was so large what difference could one or two persons make... so I did nothing.
Then in 2007 my wife Sandi & I joined the advisory board of Childcare, later that year I made my first trip to Kenya and Uganda on what I thought was a fact finding trip. What it turned out to be was so much more. What I saw were thousands of children being helped to "Survive and Succeed", first through secure care, food, medicines and then through education.
I saw how much difference the $40.00 per month made on so many of these Childcare children. I saw the passion that the staff in these countries has for these children; we have not looked back...
MINING FOR MIRACLES
THIESSEN TEAM RAISES FUNDS FOR BC CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
Thiessen Team was one of 24 organizations involved in raising funds for this year’s Mining for Miracles campaign for BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Each organization had an individual (called a Pie-ee) appointed to set out to raise funds for the campaign and compete against one or more of the other fundraisers. The ‘winner’ of the contest gets to throw a pie in the face of the other poor soul at the annual Teck Celebrity Pie Throw!
The 2018 Pie Throw took place on Thursday May 24, 2018 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.During Pie Throw, participants toss the world’s most expensive cream pies in the faces of mining industry leaders, all in support of BC’s sick and injured children.
Scott Trainor from Thiessen Team was the Pie-ee participant from Thiessen Team. This year Thiessen Team matched all donations raised by Scott. Including matching funds, a grand total of $191,270 was raised and Scott was able to avoid getting pied! Here is Scott getting to throw a pie at Edie Thome from the Association of Mineral Exploration, along with Brent Davis from Finning throwing a pie at Bryan Cox, Mining Association of BC.
One hundred per cent of all funds raised as part of the Pie Throw goes to support thedevelopment of the Transplantation & Cell Therapy Program (TRACE), the first of its kind in Canada. This year’s campaign raised $1.6 million to support the development of TRACE. TRACE will work towards providing children across British Columbia with personalized medicine using the patient’s own cells to prevent rejection of organ transplants, kill cancer cells and fight infection.Learn more atwww.miningformiracles.ca.