When I was developing my business plan for FitCity Tours & Travel it was very important to me to have an element of my business that gave back, but I wasn't sure exactly how I would do that with an active tour company.
I went through a branding exercise which was really helpful from Brands for the Heart. Through this I was able to boil down my intention to one basic statement, which defined my mission for FitCity:
This is great I thought, I will have an impact on helping people make active choices. Given that much of my potential customer base will be tourists, I thought that it would be great if there was a way to give back to my local community. At that point I realized that I would use a portion of the funds I made through tours and donate them back to a charity or non-profit organization that encourages physical activity in the local community. Each year FitCity will choose a different organization which will extend our reach in the local Vancouver community.
When considering who would be the FitCity inaugural non-profit my mind immediately went to the Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL), as I had heard about them previously and thought it sounded like a pretty phenomenal organization.
The VSSL is a volunteer run low-barrier recreational league which reaches out to individuals who have been homeless, are currently homeless, or at risk of homelessness, as well as individuals who feel marginalized within their communities, or are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. The VSSL addresses these issues through inclusivity and soccer - believing we can enhance all of our lives through the principles of fair play, community building, supportive partnerships, and health & safety.
The VSSL began in 2008 and since then has sent players to four consecutive Homeless World Cups which were held in Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Mexico City and Poznan (Poland). The League's various teams train throughout the week, and the League also holds regular matches against or alongside teams from the UBC Medical School & Women's Varsity Team, the Vancouver Police Department, and the Vancouver Mayor's Department.
I am so excited to have the VSSL as our non-profit for 2016 and I would loooove to give them a hearty cheque at the end of the year. Please help me, help our local community and take a tour or better yet, you can donate to them directly on their website.