In spite of the pandemic and all of its implications over the past six months, the team at CityKidz got creative while working within the confines of a “new normal” to continue to help children living in low-income neighbourhoods across Hamilton. If you live downtown, you may have noticed CityKidz’s bright red buses circulating through your neighbourhood, even after schools had shut down.
“We were as proactive as possible to pivot our entire suite of programming to continue to support families across the city,” said CityKidz Founder & Executive Director, Todd Bender.
Back when the pandemic first hit in March, CityKidz did not sit idly by. They picked up the phone to check in with families, they launched a brand-new website with virtual content for all age groups, and they shifted their home visits to weekly outdoor pop-up shows.
“We knew the virtual piece just wasn’t enough,” said Manager of Fund Development, Susan Morris. “It’s so close to our mission to connect with kids in person, we knew we needed to do more especially for those in crisis.” CityKidz to this day is still reaching over 1,300 children (almost 700 families) every week!
Ever since CityKidz first moved to its location on Burlington St in 2011, HOPA Ports has contributed almost $600K to the organization in the form of charitable donations or subsidized rent. Most recently, donating $15,000 over three years to provide much-needed sustainable funding to help cover their transportation costs – aka, funding for the big red buses CityKidz is known for!
“The programs have changed over time, but we continue to adapt to deliver the most meaningful programs we can offer. The most important thing is that we continue to inspire children across Hamilton to dream big, increase resiliency and inspire them to reach their potential.” CityKidz aims to increase resiliency amongst Hamilton youth and inspire them to reach their full potential by engaging with them and helping to instil self-worth at a young age.