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United Way support keeps mental health a top priority in kids’ program

Youth story Edith WEB SIZE.jpg“What do you think of Katie?”

“She’s pretty fun, and she’s helping and caring,” says Edith, as a smile spreads across her face.

And that’s exactly what Edith has needed over the past year.

Like so many children, eight-year-old Edith has spent much of that time at home due to the pandemic. Keeping vital connections with people like Katie, a local kid’s program mentor, has been essential.

“A lot of children have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, or mental health-related issues,” says Katie. “It’s effected the children the most I think.”

“I know that [the pandemic] really effected Edith’s family, because they have a lot of younger children in their family, and elders too,” says Katie, a community mentor with a Hiiye’yu Lelum Society program, in partnership United Way British Columbia.  “Both her and her brother were at home, she wasn't going to school. She’s pretty much been at home for the whole year. I think it’s been hard for her.”

 

Whether in community or at home, United Way is there for kids

Continued support from Katie, made possible by United Way British Columbia, has helped to keep Edith going. Even when Katie, Edith and other members of the program could no longer meet in person, Katie made sure they had something fun to do to maintain their mental health. She put together activity booklets, crafts and colouring materials for them, ensuring they always had an outlet.  

“When I get mad, when we can’t go out, I just grab a pencil and a paper and I start to draw different kind of arts,” says Edith.

It’s thanks to the generosity of United Way donors like you that Edith has been able to keep connected to important supporters like Katie and continue to learn ways to cope that will help her not only maintain healthy relationships now but into the future. Thinking she may one day be an artist; Edith is using her art to solve friendship dilemmas.

“Some of my friends were being mean to me sometimes. So, I gave them a gift … She made a drawing for me ... and then we are talking Youth story Edith and Katie WEB SIZE.jpgagain,” says Edith.

“I’ve seen a lot of the children become more outgoing and being able to create connections with other children, especially since it has been hard to work on those social skills during COVID,” says Katie.

“To the United Way donors: thank you,” says Katie. “It’s really appreciated. That's what makes our program possible, and also gives us more opportunities and more things to do with our children here. So, thank you.”

 

But more children need your help

Sadly, 1 in 5 kids in BC grows up in poverty. With that comes a host of barriers that can make it harder to succeed in life. Providing support, role models and mental health tools to children early can make an incredible difference in their lives.

With your support, United Way British Columbia is ready to impact the lives of even more kids in your community through programs like this.

Help more kids like Edith. Donate today.