In their inaugural season, Vancouver FC has partnered with Foundry BC to celebrate and bring awareness to important touchpoints in youths’ lives including 2SLGBTQIA+, mental health, and accessible basic needs. The series of themed matches provides a platform to amplify the work and resources that Foundry offers while connecting with our community through the global game of soccer.
To learn more about what Foundry BC does, Vancouver FC athletes Callum Irving and Tyler Crawford toured the Langley location. Foundry is a provincial initiative that englobes a network of centres offering young people, aged 12 to 24, and their families/supporters free, confidential access to mental health support, substance use support, primary care, peer support and social services. There are currently 16 active centers across BC with nine more set to come into 2024.
“I’m super pleased that we collaborated with [Foundry] and are working alongside them,” says Irving. “With Vancouver FC as a new member of the community out here in Langley and the Lower Mainland, it’s important for us to find our way within that community and how we can lend our hand.”
Irving and Crawford were led around Foundry Langley by Taylor Saayman, Foundry Program Coordinator, and Carli Schneider, Youth Employment Outreach Support Worker/Facilitator. As they wandered through the facility, Saayman and Schneider pointed out multiple resources that help to reduce barriers to accessing basic needs. Some of these included laundry machines, free hygiene products, primary care such as dental or vaccinations, and computers with internet access.
“Foundry is an open place for anyone to come to. It’s very welcoming and the people here want to help you,” shares Crawford.
Foundry is also a safe space for youth to spend an evening and hangout with others through the youth peer support initiative. The drop-in program offers different recreational activities like games and DIY classes and provides a special family-style dinner on Mondays. This was an eye-opening experience for Irving, who did not imagine how many services Foundry has to offer and invites youth to come and, “take the time to figure out what they need. It’s here, it’s available.”
Favour Olaniyan, youth peer support worker at Foundry Langley, is grateful that a sports organization is helping Foundry with its mission to support youth, “Vancouver FC could play an important role in promoting togetherness and community using your platform to reach out to the youth.
“The more you speak about it, the better it gets for everyone. No one is perfect and everyone has struggles,” says Olaniyan.
Irving is also aware that footballers are in a privileged, public position and that’s why he is committed to giving back to the community as much as he can. “It’s much more than just about playing football. It’s about having a relationship with the community that you’re playing in,” explains Irving. “It’s close to my heart to be out in these communities and working with people and helping out.”
Vancouver FC is proud to host the Balanced Minds match, the second game of the Foundry amplifier series, this Saturday against Atlético Ottawa, aimed at driving awareness and support for mental health programming. Get your tickets here!
In addition to this work, Foundry is working with staff and players to be allies in promoting greater well-being and opportunity support for youth in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.
If you would like to book an appointment with Foundry Langley to receive help, call 604-546-2700, or for more information including drop-in hours, please visit Foundry Langley’s website here. If you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis, please use one of the crisis lines below:
Fraser Health 24-hour crisis line: 604-951-8855
Crisis Centre BC: 1-800-784-2433
Kids Help Phone – text CONNECT to 686868