Funds are needed to Move That Bus
For many youths, the bus is a frequent mode of transportation, delivering them to school, home and work.
For some Tri-City young people, one bus delivers something else: help.
And the group behind the Project Reach Out bus is now asking for help of its own.
PoCoMo Youth Services Society and a local restaurateur are teaming up for Move That Bus, a fundraising initiative benefiting Project Reach Out. The campaign will launch with a lunch Oct. 18 at Fred Soofi’s Pasta Polo, with the meal provided in exchange for a donation to the charity.
PoCoMo has never received operating funding and operates Project Reach Out from donations from the community and charitable foundations.
The service supports at-risk youth in the Tri-Cities by bringing services to them via Canada’s first mobile drop-in centre. A team of adult youth workers, peer mentors and volunteers travel in the evening to areas of the community where youths congregate, such as parks, convenience stores and schools, and provide access to drug and alcohol education, referrals to community agencies and other support.
“We have a consistent presence every Friday and Saturday night from 7 p.m. to midnight and we provide a safe place for youth to go.” said Jerome Bouvier, executive director of PoCoMo.
The main goal of the Move That Bus campaign is to sign up 500 people for monthly donations of $20 to raise more than $100,000 a year, half of the minimum amount required to fund the organization for a year.
“One thousand people donating $20 a month would provide the base funding for the program,” Bouvier said. “It would help a minimum of 2,000 kids a year.”
The second goal of the campaign is to raise $10,000 over the next six months with the A Toonie in the Tank program. Coin donation boxes have been placed at various restaurants and businesses in the Tri-Cities, and they will collect change for PoCoMo.
“It costs the government something like $70,000 to put services into a homeless adult, so for every one that we prevent from pushing a shopping cart, we save B.C. $70,000,” Bouvier said. “But we can’t get $70,000 from the province.
“We’ve clearly demonstrated our success in providing services. We’re just asking for help. Provincially, from our community, from local businesses and corporations, help us to continue to serve the young people who we care so much about. They could be your son, your daughter, your granddaughter, your grandson — it’s that simple.”
“As a businessman, I encourage more businesses to get involved,” said Soofi. “It’s an investment in our youth and our community. It will have long-term returns.”
• The Move That Bus campaign launch takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Pasta Polo, (2754 Barnet Hwy., Coquitlam) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.pocomo.org, or follow PoCoMo on Twitter at twitter.com/pocomoyouth.