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(ISN) – VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC today announced their community relations strategy, programs, and initiatives for the 2015 season. The club will focus on positively impacting the lives of children and youth in the community by promoting mental and physical health and encouraging fit and healthy lifestyles through soccer.

“Community is integral to everything we do at Whitecaps FC,” said club president Bob Lenarduzzi. “We are committed to making a difference on and off the pitch, and all of us at the club are looking forward to working with our fans and community partners to make a significant contribution.”

Whitecaps FC will work closely with the following organizations: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, BC Soccer, Camp Goodtimes, Covenant House, Kids Up Front, Special Olympics BC, Make-A-Wish Foundation, KidSport, Vancouver Street Soccer League, Canada SCORES Vancouver, Vancouver Police Foundation and the Michael Cuccione Foundation – organizations whose mandates and programs align with that of Whitecaps FC.

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

50/50 PROGRAM
The ‘Caps 50/50 program, run at MLS home matches at BC Place, will now benefit BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. This new partnership will see funds, in excess of $250,000, donated to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in 2015 and will be used to help improve the lives of children and youth treated at the hospital.

“We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and look forward to working with the organization to drive the 50/50 program forward,” said Bob Lenarduzzi. “Together with our supporters, we hope to raise significant funds for such a worthy cause which will directly impact the lives of children and youth in British Columbia.”

“It’s a great honour to partner with an organization with such deep roots in our community,” said Teri Nicholas, president and CEO of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Given the high level of youth participation in organized soccer in BC, it’s safe to say that, by supporting BC Children’s Hospital, Whitecaps FC will have a direct impact on the health and well-being of many of their young fans, and thousands of other young people.”

#BUCKUP FOR MENTAL HEALTH
On Saturday, May 30 as the ‘Caps take on Real Salt Lake at BC Place, the club will collect funds for the #BuckUp for mental health campaign. The campaign, launched in 2014 during the club’s 40th anniversary, raised over $22,000 for mental health initiatives. The goal, once again, is to raise $1 per fan, for a total of $21,000 which will be directed to Covenant House Vancouver, an organization which provides shelter and services to children and youth who seek help, with a priority of concern and commitment to those for whom no other service is available.

MERCHANDISE ROUND UP
At all BC Place merchandise kiosks, fans will have the opportunity to round up their purchase with funds being donated to Camp Goodtimes, a summer recreation program that provides a unique experience for children and teens affected by cancer.

For the fourth year, Whitecaps FC players will attend Camp Goodtimes teen camp in August, where they will spend an afternoon playing soccer and participating in activities with campers. This annual visit has become a highlight for veteran players and campers alike.

BMO KICKIN’ WITH THE ‘CAPS COMMUNITY CLINICS PRESENTED BY BC1
Between April and June, Whitecaps FC will host BMO Kickin’ with the ‘Caps Community Clinics presented by BC1. Eight community clinics will be held throughout the Lower Mainland for boys and girls ages seven to 10. These free clinics provide children with the opportunity to learn from Whitecaps FC coaches and players while giving them the opportunity to develop new skills in a fun and dynamic environment. This year’s clinics will be held in Coquitlam, Ladner, Langley, North Vancouver, Vancouver and Surrey.

‘CAPS KICKSMART PROGRAM
The ‘Caps Kick Smart Program is a school program hosted by club ambassadors Carl Valentine and Sam Lenarduzzi. This program, designed for children in grades 1 through 7, is a platform for Whitecaps FC to introduce soccer to youth in a fun and interactive way. The ‘Caps are anticipating visiting approximately 50 Lower Mainland schools in 2015.

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