Pictured above: Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada (back row, right) with past and present members of the Foundation’s Young People’s Advisory Council.
The true character of a society can be measured in how we treat our children. All children and youth deserve the right to be safe, loved, and supported, and to have the tools they need to succeed. And yet today, hundreds of thousands of kids are at risk or have experienced abuse, abandonment, and neglect.
As President and CEO of Canada’s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system, I believe that all Canadians have a role to play in supporting these kids so that they can lead productive lives and break the cycle for future generations.
In 2017 when we changed our name to become Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, it was with the hope that we could improve our capacity to build more innovative and impactful programs in partnership with child- and youth-serving agencies across the country. Our ambition is to significantly raise the awareness among more Canadians of the fact that too many of our children, through no fault of their own, are experiencing abuse and neglect. We hope to inspire donations from a broader group of supporters so that we can increase our reach and positively impact more kids.
Stand Up for Kids is the Foundation’s movement for change, and we are amazed at how Canadians are responding in a positive way, and standing up for kids in and from the child welfare system. We are so grateful for their commitment and for becoming allies of the movement and to these young people. To date, more than 7,000 Canadians have signed our pledge to become Stand Up for Kids Allies and more than 800 people or groups have fundraised through community events, workplace giving, and more. We have also seen many more Allies joining the conversation in our social channels, helping us to amplify the voices of youth and sharing the impact of our work in their own channels.
As 2019 gets underway, it’s a great time to find new ways to support the causes that mean the most to you. If you haven’t already joined us, or are looking for ways to deepen your involvement as an Ally to vulnerable young people in Canada, I wanted to share with you the top five ways you can Stand Up for Kids in the year ahead and beyond.
Sign the pledge if you believe all kids deserve a life free of fear and violence; a loving home where they are accepted, nurtured, and safe; and an optimistic future that allows them to achieve their own success. You can show your support by signing our pledge or, if you’ve already done so, encourage others to take this action.
Host a fundraising event in support of Stand Up for Kids at your workplace, school, or in your community. The funds you raise will help to strengthen families so they can stay together instead of becoming involved in the child welfare system, support kids in care with the supports they need to thrive, and help youth aging out of care to feel empowered to build a stable, successful future. Learn more and take advantage of our resources and fundraising toolkit.
Spread the word within your social media network by using your likes, comments, and shares to show your support for at-risk children and youth in and from the child welfare system. When you follow @cafdn and share our content using #standupforkidscanada on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you’re helping to spread the word about the need to support vulnerable young people across Canada. Let your followers know that you Stand Up for Kids and encourage them to join you!
Volunteer at our special events or in our office during regular office hours. Become part of our volunteer team as an individual, or group or corporate team and support a cause you truly believe in while applying your current skills and gaining new ones. You will meet new people, make new friends, and develop professional contacts. Additionally, you will feel the personal satisfaction of helping others while you make a difference in your community.
Become a foster or adoptive parent. By opening your heart and your home, you can provide children and youth who are not living with their biological families with a sense of stability if you become a foster parent or adopt one of the 30,000 children and youth involved in the child welfare system who are eligible for permanent adoption. The stability you can provide can help improve the overall health and well-being of these young people, and it can have lasting positive effects on their futures.
Thank you for taking a stand for Canada’s most vulnerable young people. Together, we can help them to heal, thrive, and have a chance at a brighter future.