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A New Year and A New Opportunity for Global Literacy

Schoolgirls at a Room to Read project in Vietnam. Photo credit: Room to Read

The New Year is always a time for reflection and setting new goals. This year, for 2020, we are setting our sights on building on the momentum of years’ past and do even more to support Room to Read.

Room to Read is an international NGO that promotes literacy in the developing world. The organization’s multi-pronged approach includes opening up school libraries, providing teacher training, publishing in language children’s books, and running community-lead interventions designed to keep young women in school and out of child marriage.

Every year, we pick one Room to Read project country to support. We make it easy for our community of vendors and customers to join in these efforts through matching donation drives and other initiatives. Last year, we hit a major fundraising milestone, with a grand total of $200,000 being raised since 2013 for Room to Read’s projects in 16 countries around the world.

This year, we’ve decided to centre our efforts on raising enough to send 50 girls to school in Vietnam. At one time, Vietnam was considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Today, this country in South East Asia is in a period of growth and development, but with this growth comes a widening gap between children who can afford to attend school and children who can’t.

Photo Credit: Room to Read Vietnam

In 2020, we’re aiming to raise $20,000 towards school scholarships to allow 50 young Vietnamese women to make the most of their changing economy.

Our Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer lead us in the decision to support Room to Read Vietnam because of the organization’s excellent track record in the country. In 2015, Room to Read successfully influenced advances in the country’s national education policy. Last year, Room to Read partnered with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education to launch a targeted program to build and stock school libraries in the country. Room to Read also continues to train local social mobilizers that support girls and young women in low-income areas through life skills training and other programs designed to keep them in school.

Merinda will go to Vietnam in 2021 to see our fundraising efforts in action. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on how you can join us in making sure that children around the world have the reading skills they need to succeed!

Nic Sun Shares His Love of the Outdoors Through the Raven Giving Fund

Nic Sun gives his cheque to the VASS
Nic Sun visits the VASS to drop off his Giving Fund donation in person.

As VP of Engineering, Nic Sun gives his all to every project he takes on. That means that Monday to Friday, Nic is ready, energized and enthusiastic about every proposal or client plan that he dives into. On the weekend, Nic finds another way to get his energy out- by making the most of the outdoor activities offered by the incredible mountains, lakes and oceans surrounding Greater Vancouver.

So when it came to deciding where to send his Raven Giving Fund donation, it seemed only natural that Nic would pick an organization that helps make the great outdoors accessible to everyone. That’s why, this year, Nic selected Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS) to as recipient of his Raven Giving Fund donation. Introduced in 2018, the Fund gives each of our employees $250.00 a year to donate to the charity or community group of their choice.

“Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports enables persons with disabilities to access the mountain experience, allowing them to discover their unique capabilities with the assistance of coaches and mentors,” he explains.

“Skiing and mountains have been a huge part of my life since birth. To me, nothing else in the world delivers a greater sense of freedom, joy and self-expression,” he adds. “These are all fundamental parts of the human experience that I believe all people are entitled to.”

Nic’s donation will help support VASS’s ski and snowboard programs for people living with physical and intellectual disability. This non-profit, membership based organization is run entirely by volunteer instructors who offer snowboarding, skiing, and sit-skiing classes for students of every level and any age group. 

Every instructor is Canadian Adaptive Snowsport (CADS) certified, and is dedicated to working side by side with VASS members to help them achieve their athletic goals. For some more serious members, that means preparing for races as a member of the VASS Blue Streaks Adaptive Alpine Racing Program. The Blue Streaks practice twice a week and enter general races hosted by the Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski club.

VASS also hosts the annual VASS Cup event. The VASS Cup features snowboard, ski and sit-ski races, along with sledge hockey, an adaptive snow sports experience zone, a silent auction, and even a costume contest! This year, more than 300 people came out for this event, which raised $83,000 for VASS’s programs. You can check the VASS Cup in the media here.

Thanks Nic, for letting us know about this cool organization. To find out more, visit www.vass.ca.