For many years now, Fairware has supported a local organization called the Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL), a volunteer-run organization which reaches out to individuals who have been homeless, are currently homeless, or are at risk of homelessness, as well as individuals who feel marginalized within their communities, or are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. We now have three staff members who are active volunteers with the organization, including Sarah White, co-founder, Charles Freund, account manager, and David Lawton, our accountant who is the acting treasurer of the organization.
Every year, the ‘Namgis First Nation hosts an invitation-only soccer tournament during the June Father’s Day weekend. The tournament takes place on the beautiful, rugged island of Alert Bay, which is about a 10-hour drive and boat ride from Vancouver.
The Vancouver Street Soccer League has been invited to attend June Sports for the fifth time this year, and both Sarah and Charles will be participating in the tournament. We’re thrilled to be taking part again this year, as this tournament has proven to be profound and life-changing for many of the league’s members. This year is going to be the biggest year yet, and it’s also the first time that a women’s team is taking part – something we’re very proud of as a women-owned business.
Close to 40 players and volunteers from the VSSL will be heading to Alert Bay to participate this year. The village parade and traditional longhouse ceremonies that kick off the tournament resonate deeply with many of our players, particularly those who rarely leave the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. For our players who are struggling with mental illness or living in shelters, the long trip up-island, natural beauty of Alert Bay and scenic boat-rides, can be particularly refreshing and rejuvenating. For all our players and volunteers, the camaraderie forged on the soccer field or at the camping site while dining over communal meals after a hard-fought match makes this trip a highlight of the year.
Words don’t tend to do this trip justice, so feel free to check out our short video with some highlights of last year’s tournament. If you’d like to support our team on this year’s journey, please visit our GoFundMe page to help us get there! Your donation will be gratefully put toward food, fuel, gifts for elders, car rentals, camping gear, registration fees and the ferry ride there and back.