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United Way ‘Avenues of Change’ invests in early childhood support for Surrey’s Guildford West children

united way avenues of change families

October 16, 2015

Surrey, BC – The United Way of the Lower Mainland has announced a $1.2 million investment over the next three years in the “Avenues of Change” initiative in Surrey’s Guildford West community. These funds will be used to implement neighbourhood-specific strategies to change outcomes for vulnerable kids including mental wellness support, early childhood literacy support, health promotion, and a screening program that helps track children’s developmental progress.

“Surrey is the fastest growing city in BC with one of the youngest populations. In fact, one-third of Surrey’s residents are under the age of 19,” said Mayor Linda Hepner. “Investing in our children and families is essential to ensuring a healthy, more sustainable and prosperous community for tomorrow. This is why we actively support United Way in this important early childhood initiative.”

Guildford West is one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in BC, and research has shown that many young children and their families in this community are struggling. By tackling a range of neighbourhood-specific factors contributing to vulnerability, and bringing together families, residents, service providers, public partners and other stakeholders, the Avenues of Change initiative seeks to ensure more children start school ready to succeed.

“Evidence shows that investment in the early childhood years on quality learning, development, and parenting programs, has a direct, long-term economic return to society,” said Councillor Judy Villeneuve, Chair of the Social Policy Advisory Committee. “The City is so pleased to partner with the United Way to create meaningful, positive change in the Guildford West community.”

Key partners in the initiative are the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at UBC; the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC); the Children’s Partnership Surrey-White Rock, which consists of the City of Surrey, Fraser Health Authority, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, School District 36, Surrey Libraries; DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society and Options Community Services Society who will manage the implementation of the Action Strategies in Guildford West; and the residents of Guildford West.

For more information visit www.uwlm.com.

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For program information contact:

Stacey Rennie
Manager, South Surrey Recreation
City of Surrey
(604) 592-2618
SARennie@surrey.ca
For interviews contact:

Oliver Lum
Communications Manager
Office of the Mayor, City of Surrey
604-591-4519
OWLum@surrey.ca