Message from our Executive Director and Chair of the Board of Directors
After two years of remote programming and piloting new projects to serve the immediate needs of our children and families – it was an absolute joy to return to some of our classic program lineup in 2022.
In 2022, our priorities were to rebuild our in-person core programming. Reflecting on our progress, we’re so grateful to have relaunched our CityYouth and CityKidz programs, completed the first phase of a major landscaping project, and successfully piloted the first season of Camp CityKidz.
As part of our rebuilding process, we ended our pandemic-response CityKidz Cares project, at the end of 2022, which included the distribution of care kits and meals kits to families. While this project helped to support our community’s needs at a time when we could not deliver our regular programs, we are now able to redirect our resources back towards our child and youth programming and guide families towards other excellent community resources that can serve their other needs most efficiently.
While we are thankful for what was accomplished in 2022, it did not come without challenges – the greatest of which, like most of our peer organizations, has been a significant decrease in our volunteer base. We worked hard throughout the year to fill these gaps but by November, it was clear that we did not have the human or financial resources to serve all our routes well. After exploring every opportunity, we made the difficult, but necessary decision to close five of our bus routes and refocus our resources into our most populous routes.
For all the ups and downs of 2022, we entered this year with hope and determination. Hope because we have an amazing community of volunteers and supporters who continue to stand by us and pour their time, talents and financial support into our mission. And determination because there are still so many vulnerable children in our city who need our love and support. There is lots of work to be done, but also lots of fun to be had, memories to be made and lives to be transformed.
Thank you for being part of our story in 2022 and we look forward to facing all the challenges and joys that lie ahead together with you!
All for one,
Rev. Todd Bender
Founder & Executive Director
Chair of Board of Directors
Story of Hope: Anaejah
“Everyone is welcome. Everyone is respectful. I felt like an equal.”
Around the time that CityYouth relaunched, our Home Visit team for Anaejah’s neighbourhood found themselves in desperate need of a helping and well-organized hand to help with the administrative side of the visits. Anaejah graciously offered her Friday afternoons to help out.
Weston Family Scholars
Thanks to the generosity of the Weston Foundation, Irene Lau and an anonymous donor, CityKidz is able to continue supporting our youth into young adulthood as they work towards making their dreams a reality through the pursuit of post-secondary education.
The Education Fund provides former CityKidz program participants with annual financial support to help offset the costs associated with post-secondary education. From books to bus fare, this scholarship eases the financial burden of higher learning and creates more space for growth and learning for our ambitious students.
Between our new and returning post-secondary scholarship recipients and grade 11 and 12 Encouragement Award recipients, CityKidz granted 24 scholarships to 21 teens and young adults in 2022.
2022 Education Fund Recipients
Hsa Gay Say
Early Childhood Education
Personal Supporter Worker
Early Childhood Education
Health and Kinesiology
CityKidz Encouragement Award Recipients
Hsa gay say
Supporters and Corporate Partners
When we think of faith, hope and love, we can’t help but think of our wonderful Corporate Partners. Your faith in our mission, hope for our kids and love for this community shines so bright each and every day.
Thank you for your gifts, your dedication and your partnership in inspiring big dreams and helping amazing children reach their full potential.
Thank You Foundations
Thank you so much to the generous foundations, funds and charities who believe in the incredible potential of our amazing CityKidz children and youth.
Burlington Community Foundation
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities
Charity of Hope
City of Hamilton
Conam Charitable Foundation
Freeburne Banting Foundation
Gift Funds Canada
Losani Family Foundation Fund
Poetz Family Foundation
R & K Fund at the Niagara Community Foundation
Sam & Roma Mercanti Foundation
Strategic Charitable Giving
The Allen & Milli Gould Family Foundation
The Anthony G. DiCenzo Foundation
The Audrey and Alan Moffett Fund
The Edith Turner Foundation
The Maudsley Family Foundation
The Plansky Arc Foundation
Weston Family Foundation
Youth & Philanthropy Initiative Canada (YPI)
Thank You Supporters
Wow! We are honoured and humbled by the generosity of the many, many incredible folks who opened their hearts and financially supported CityKidz in 2022.
We know that the past year was difficult and that inflation has affected everyone and yet you chose to use your hard-earned money to invest in the lives of Hamilton children.
Your gifts – both big and small, once a year or every month – are what move our mission forward and cause our hearts to swell with gratitude. Whether we’re purchasing food for hungry kids at our Saturday program, buying that perfect gift to make a child’s Christmas wishes come true, or putting fuel in one of our big red buses before we pick up dozens of youth for mentorship sessions, it’s your gifts that make these things possible.
Thank You Volunteers
Thank you so much to the hundreds of incredible Servants of Love who collectively gave thousands of hours in 2022 to move the CityKidz mission forward!
You drove buses, made phone calls, wrapped gifts, visited families, mentored youth, sang and danced and celebrated with kids. You offered your time and your talents to bringing out the best in children and youth. You served your community with love and devotion.
You made a difference. You transformed lives. Thank you!
In a year filled with so many financial challenges and uncertainties facing everyone, we are honoured by the generosity this community bestowed upon us in 2022. We know that every donation is an act of faith, hope, love and trust and we are so grateful that you chose to invest in our mission, our stewardship, our team, and, most importantly, our children and youth.
We are humbled by your generosity and take seriously the responsibility to use the resources you give us effectively. With every program we run and initiative we take, we seek to make a meaningful difference and transformational change in the lives of our children, their families and our community.
Last year, this wonderful community entrusted $2,784,393 with us to nurture transformational change in the lives of children growing up in low-income neighbourhoods. Thank you.
Of this generous sum, $2,136,446 went directly towards re-building some of our pre-pandemic programs, piloting a new summer camp, investing in staff development and continuing the most relevant pieces of pandemic relief program – CityKidz Cares. The rest of the money was used to cover the operational expenses – such as fundraising and administrative expenses – that are essential to bringing our programs to life.
Financial values are based on approved draft Audited Statements. Our T3010 and Financial statements will be available in late May 2023 at citykidz.ca
Reporting Back: 2022 Strategic Priorities
Reflecting back on the goals we set last year, we are proud to say that we have successfully implemented our key objectives. Thanks to the hard work of our board, staff and volunteers, as well as the incredible support of our community, we were able to make significant progress on our 2022 strategic priorities.
Transition from our pandemic programming response (the CityKidz Cares Project) and invest in rebuilding permanent programming in line with our new program model, including the development of outdoor space for our kids and youth.
• We ended our CityKidz Cares pandemic response program and began the transition to permanent in-person programming for our children and youth
• We piloted a new summer camp model, bringing camp in house and creating sustainable long term camp opportunities for CityKidz children
• Through the generous support of our community, we completed Phase 1 of a multi-year landscaping project, creating safe, outdoor programming space
Develop a new multi-year strategy to ensure the work of CityKidz continues to achieve deep, meaningful impact in the lives of vulnerable children and families.
• During multi-year strategy planning, we realized the external environment continued to be vulnerable, so we made the decision to pivot to a 1-year plan. Our 2022 strategy focused on rebuilding the programs and services that were paused due to COVID19, and re-establishing a sustainable program capacity. Unfortunately, this meant a reduction in our service area to bring our program capacity into alignment with our volunteer and staff resources. This empowered us to serve the most densely populated routes sustainably and with deep impact in children’s lives
Continue to increase our organizational capacity through staff training, volunteer development and improving our internal processes.
• We have begun the restructuring of our program and volunteer departments to increase impact, efficiency and sustainability. We have also invested in training for all staff and developed new systems, processes and implemented new software to improve new ways of working
We learned so much from both the challenges and triumphs of 2022. This year, we are taking all those lessons and putting them into practice as we continue the ambitious and important work of transforming the lives of vulnerable children in our city.
We are passionate, committed and driven. Our dreams are big, and we will pursue them with excellence knowing that the journey is long, but that, working together, we can make a difference for generations to come.
As we take stock of where we are and where we want to go, we have set priorities for 2023 focused on laying a new, sustainable foundation from which we can rebuild, grow, and imagine new possibilities.
2023: Strategic Priorities
Increase the capacity and impact of our programming
• Increase our volunteer base by 30%, ensuring there are more than enough volunteers to support in person programs and facilitate bi-weekly connection visits to all CityKidz’ participants
• Increase the number of children enrolled by 10%
• Complete the program evaluation framework including procedures, schedules and annual survey responses from a minimum of 10% of participants
Ensure excellence and ensure accountability in all that we do
• Improve policies, processes, systems and performance measurements
• Improve internal collaboration, productivity and communication
• Improve stakeholder complaint handling procedures and response time
Invest in our people
• Provide meaningful opportunities for volunteers to invest in and join our mission
• Invest in staff training and workshops that increase knowledge of our programs, strategy and ecosystem
• Empower staff through training in systems and technologies that improve productivity, work flow and communication
• Inspire and ignite the passion in our staff, volunteers and supporters
Build a CityKidz for the future
•Grow our community of monthly supporters
• Establish a new structure in our Resource Development Department to increase growth in financial resources and secure sustainable, long term funding
• Provide opportunities for supporters to invest in our mission and work together to create transformational change
•Create a multi-year strategic plan that provides a clear vision for the future and a roadmap on how to get there
Volunteer with Us
Volunteer with Us!
We’re looking for fun and kind folks with talents of all kinds to help move our mission forward. Whether you are gifted with office administration, have the energy of a camp counsellor, can pack a lunch bag with breakneck speed, or aren’t sure where your greatest strength lies, we’ll find a role that’s just right for you!
Volunteer with us and become a Servant of Love in your community.
Here are some of our current greatest volunteer needs:
Looking to liven up your Saturday routine? In this role you’ll join our kids on the bus and in our theatre for CityKidz’ fun and interactive Saturday program.
Driving a bus for CityKidz means being an integral part of our programs. You’ll bring together kids and youth from all corners of the city to learn, laugh, grow and have fun together.
Connect with kids and their families on a one-on-one basis through weekly Home Visits. Visit kids at their front doors to say hi, encourage big dreams, share a joke and invest in your community.
Join our Community of Hope
Growing up in poverty denies opportunities and undermines childhood development in ways that make it difficult for them to break the cycle of poverty for future generations.
CityKidz’ monthly supporters ensure that children receive the love, support, and nurturing experiences they need to dream big and reach their full potential. Reliable monthly supporters allow us to invest in the long-term, sustainable wellbeing of the most vulnerable children in our city.
Monthly supporters are amazing folks who are committed to the empowerment of children growing up in low-income neighbourhoods. Working together, monthly supporters make an ongoing investment in the limitless potential of resilient children to transform their lives and with them, the world.
There’s a method to our madness. While our programming may seem from the outside like any other fun, fast-paced children’s program, everything we do is thoughtfully designed to support child and youth wellbeing, as well as positive transformation in their lives.
In 2022, we focused on the ‘Dream & Develop’, ‘Love & Acceptance” and Plan & Pursue” objectives as we relaunched our two biggest programs – CityKidz Saturday and CityYouth – and piloted a new summer camp program.
The progressive journey fostered by our Program Model empowers children to rise above their circumstances, dream big and reach their full potential.
Through its inspirational experiences CityKidz Saturdays provide opportunity for children to articulate their dreams for the future, develop life skills to thrive in their environment and practice good character and skills to achieve their dreams
With the wisdom and guidance of mentors, this program encourages youth to articulate their dreams for the future and develop a plan and begin to pursue these dreams.
At camp, kids build confidence and character as they try new things and engage in new experiences. The guidance and support they receive from their counsellors affirm their understanding that they are loved and accepted. children, youth and their families within the CityKidz community.
2022 Community Impact
Last year, we surveyed 150 households in our community to better understand their experiences, strengths and needs, as well as CityKidz’ impact on their lives. By engaging with our community and giving them an opportunity to share their thoughts, stories and dreams, we are empowered to grow and shape our programs in a way that best serves our community.
Below are just a few of the survey’s findings as well as some of the ways we at CityKidz are working to address our community’s concerns:
How we’re helping:
CityKidz provides a free, safe, fun and supportive environment for children and youth to learn and grow.
Our program model is focused on ensuring that children and youth experience a life that is safe, secure and filled with love and acceptance.
Our Connects program involves staff and volunteers visiting children at their homes regularly, increasing our presence in local neighbourhoods and building community.
How we’re helping:
Every child and youth receives a nourishing meal whenever they attend one of our programs, thereby providing a small financial break to struggling families.
Although we have now ended our pandemic response program, in 2022 we delivered 2,520 meal kits and 200 care kits to CityKidz families.
To replace our Care Kit initiative, we are now providing support to households on an ‘as needed’ basis including food, grocery gift cards, school supplies and toys.
Volunteers Transform Lives
Whatever your time, whatever your talents, you can make a transformative difference in a child’s life.
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Inspire Big Dreams
Help us build strong foundations of faith, hope and love into children’s lives and watch them thrive.