Hockey pros and community members unite to combat homelessness in Kelowna – Kelowna News

Hockey pros and community members unite to combat homelessness in Kelowna – Kelowna News

Hockey enthusiasts and local heroes are gearing up to hit the ice at MNP Place for a noble cause – putting an end to homelessness.

The one-day charity tournament, Hockey Helps the Homeless, will take place on April 5 and its net proceeds will go towards supporting youth through BGC Okanagan’s Shelter Diversion and Upstream Kelowna programs.

“The impact of early exposure to homelessness can have long-lasting effects, contributing to chronic homelessness, as well as complex health and mental health issues,” said Jeremy Welder, CEO of BGC Okanagan.

According to one of the largest surveys on youth homelessness in Canada, the Without a Home study, over 40 per cent of homeless youth ended up on the streets before the age of 16.

“Through the Upstream Kelowna program, we adopt a proactive approach to address youth homelessness and school disengagement by identifying and supporting vulnerable youth. With the help of our community partners, we aim to provide necessary resources to youth before they reach a crisis point,” Welder said.

Upstream Kelowna has already assisted 155 students with the support provided by BGC Okanagan and its community organization partners.

“Youth are safer when surrounded by caring individuals. Shelter Diversion engages family, friends, and neighbours in crafting solutions for youth, surrounding them with a supportive network during times of crisis,” Welder added.

NHL alumni like Jordan Tootoo, Ron Sutter, Todd Simpson, and others will be taking part in the day.

Additionally, attendees can bid on a number of items in the silent auction, including a Connor Bedard autographed jersey, NHL memorabilia, wine, and golf packages.

For more information, click here.

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