Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation supports UpstartED's pursuit for educational equity

Tuesday, Aug 8, 2023

The $45,000 donation supports UpstartED’s You(th) Explore Program, which offers educators with locally and culturally relevant learning resources to support the potential and self-determination of marginalized youth in British Columbia (BC).

The Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation pledged $45,000 over three years to support UpstartED’s You(th) Explore Program. The goal of the program is to provide youth with a safe space to discover who they are, how they relate to others and the world they live in, and how they can begin to make an impact on a personal and community level.

“The UpstartED community is immensely grateful to the Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation for their unwavering funding support,” says Céline Godard Aron, Head of Development and Operations at UpstartED. “Since 2021, their consistent backing has been a beacon of reliability, especially as a non-profit organization. Their unique approach of providing financial and human assistance without imposing undue pressure on our nonprofit, driven by their trust in our ability to deliver on our mission, sets them apart as a true partner, allowing us to focus on our goals confidently and purposefully.”

The program has digital and hands-on aspects and is designed with and for youth to apply to their everyday lives, in relation with their peers, communities and the world. For some students, being able to participate in the You(th) Explore Program can be a life-changing experience.

“My favourite part of the program was discovering who I am as a unique individual,” says Rosie, a Grade 8 student at Robert Service School in Dawson City, Yukon. “I enjoyed delving deeper into the different aspects of my character and capabilities because it allowed me to understand my personality more clearly and the value I can bring to my generation, as well as how I can contribute to the next ones.”

As part of the program, students receive an Explore Box, which includes physical workbooks with activities that stimulate students’ creativity, critical thinking and sense of empathy, along with tactile materials (pens, post-its and other materials) to prototype ideas and build out solutions.

With funding from the Health Foundation, 450 students within BC will receive their Explore Box free of cost for three years.

“We’re proud to support UpstartED as they foster interactive learning experiences for youth in BC,” says Jim Iker, Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation Board Chair. “Their commitment to creating culturally relevant and accessible learning programs aligns with our mission to build healthy communities, and advance health equity by empowering the next generation of changemakers.”

Since 2016, UpstartED has served 5,000+ youth, teachers and educators in Quebec, Ontario, BC and the Yukon.

To learn more, visit UpstartED’s You(th) Explore Program website