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Corporate teams face off to raise money for YWCA financial literacy program


Could you imagine surviving on an income of $20,000 a year in Vancouver?

Would that be enough for you to raise your children, put healthy food on the table, have clean clothes on your backs and a roof over your head? Do you think you could make it work? What if your income was only $10,000 a year? This is the reality for residents of YWCA Crabtree Corner Housing in the Downtown Eastside. Residents of Crabtree Corner Housing are striving to make a positive change in their lives despite a steady stream of challenges that test their resolve. These single mothers face extreme poverty and in many cases, are recovering and healing from addiction.

To shed light on the challenges these women face on a daily basis, YWCA Metro Vancouver is hosting the inaugural Extreme Budget Challenge which will have corporate teams facing off to create a feasible budget for a low-income, single mother. This event has a dual purpose: to spread awareness about the hardships facing low-income women living in Metro Vancouver and also to fundraise $20,000 for the Financial Literacy and Peer Mentorship Program at YWCA Crabtree Corner Housing. The program is designed to empower low-income single mothers to break the cycle of poverty through building their financial literacy.

If you think your MBA, CMA or economics degree will give you an advantage in this competition, think again. The reality is, even if you’re a whiz with a calculator, this challenge will be an arduous one. Curveballs that low-income single mothers face regularly will be thrown in at different stages of the competition — just when you think you’ve managed to balance your budget, you will get the flu or your children will fall ill, or you might lose your job.

I’m looking forward to participating in the Extreme Budget Challenge with a small but mighty team of my co-workers from BCLC on November 18th! Initially, I was one of those naive people who thought my team would be a contender for first place in the competition, considering two of my teammates are Certified Management Accountants. However, after speaking with those who work at Crabtree Corner Housing, it’s clear that the real skills needed for survival and in this case, success in the game, are patience, resilience, creativity and determination.

You don’t need to have a corporate team registered to support the goal of raising $20,000 to fund the Financial Literacy Program -- you can make a donation here.

Jessica Gares is a dedicated YWCA volunteer and guest blogger. Do you have what it takes to write for our blog? Contact us and find out how to get involved with the YWCA and give back to your community. 

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