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Organization Spotlight: Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation

Nanaimo-LadysmithAt DP World Vancouver, it’s our belief that businesses can help the Vancouver community in a variety of ways. We encourage our employees to make charitable donations and volunteer, and we hope customers and citizens in our community will do the same. By supporting a charity, individuals and business can help make the community a better place for all of us to live.

Our Community Kinship programme spotlights organizations that contribute to the greater good. In this article, you’ll learn about the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation, a registered, community-based charity that supports the needs of vulnerable students in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District 68.

The Mission the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation

Born out of the Nanaimo Schools Financial Awards Society, which originally presented graduation awards to deserving students, the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation (NLSF) supports students from families in the district that struggle financially. Hardship is unusually prevalent in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district, which is located in central Vancouver Island. Nearly one in five students in the district lives in poverty; in especially hard-hit areas, that rate climbs to one in two. The foundation was formed to help meet the academic needs of the students in areas that the school district and families cannot.

The care, services and supplies needed to get a student through a year of school can be overwhelming for families living in poverty. Without the work and support of the NLSF, many students in school district 68 would not be able to reap the full benefits of their education.

Providing Tools and Financial Support for Academic Success

One significant example of the NLSF’s work is its school supplies programme, which provides tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of basic supplies to students whose families can’t afford to provide them.

Near the end of each school year, the NLSF works with the district to project the number of students who will need school supplies for the following year. Thanks to an excellent partnership with Staples, the Foundation obtains school supplies at a significant discount. The supplies are brought to the Foundation’s central location where volunteers sort, pack and deliver the items to the schools. Then, on the first day of school, students who need assistance are provided with a backpack filled with necessary supplies that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Throughout the rest of the year, the NLSF supports students in other areas as well:

  • Clothing and apparel—from running shoes for physical education, to winter clothing, to eyeglasses
  • Fees for text books, field trips and athletic programmes
  • Emergency expenses for dental work and medical care

Finally, it’s the NLSF’s belief that any student who works hard and meets graduation requirements, should be able to walk across the stage with their peers to collect a diploma. So, the NLSF works to cover graduation fees too.

Measuring Success

The NLSF is driven by the successes of the students it supports—and those can be counted in a variety of places. The NLSF tracks and records the number of students served, whether they’ve been provided a good breakfast, and whether attendance and graduation numbers have gone up in the district’s schools.

Success can also be gauged anecdotally; the most rewarding form being the real-life stories shared by students, families and faculty. Letters of gratitude and praise are powerful evidence of the programme’s impact in the community.

Measuring the success of the NLSF’s efforts is a bit of a paradox: Though a high volume of participants means that the poverty rate in School District 68 isn’t decreasing, a greater number of students helped is considered a job well done.

How You Can Help the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation

Cash contributions are the most useful type of donations for the NLSF because they can be directed straight to the areas of greatest need. Businesses can support fundraising efforts through payroll deductions or third-party events (Jean Fridays, for example).

Volunteers are welcome to participate in NLSF fundraising events, such as its Stock the Lockers campaign—which helps pay for school supplies—as well as the annual Spring Market.

To find out more about the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation, and to make a donation or learn how you can volunteer to support this worthwhile charity, visit their website, Facebook page or Twitter feed.