Written by Helen Choi, Capital Campaign Officer

Go Jays Go! What an Astonishing Year in Rallying Toronto to Come Together

To commemorate, Mayor John Tory’s declaration of October 27th, 2015 as #JaysAppreciationDay, Eva’s is honoured to recognize our partnership with the charitable arm of Canada’s Major League team, Jays Care Foundation. Its mission is to create safe spaces for children and youth across Canada.

Eva’s Phoenix Rising Capital Campaign is a proud recipient of Jays Care Foundation’s Field of Dreams grant in the amount of $150,000 for the project. Eva’s is recognizing the gift by naming one of the critical program spaces inside Eva’s Phoenix as the Jay’s Care Foundation’s Multi-Purpose Area right on the Main Street of Phoenix.

We were fortunate to have had a chance to briefly sit down with Robert Witchel, Executive Director of Jays Care Foundation to honour Jays Care Foundation and his philanthropic initiatives. He brings a wealth of 25+ years in international business development and in the charitable sector and we are thankful for Robert’s and Jays Care Foundation’s support.

Robert shares, “at the time of our investment in 2012, Eva’s was soon to be displaced from their original location, directly impacting 100’s of homeless youth each year in need of safe shelter and employment training support. Eva’s applied for a grant through our Field of Dreams program and based on the strength of that application, we were excited to become one of the original investors by contributing $150,000 to the capital campaign.

To date, the Eva’s Phoenix Rising Capital Campaign has hit $9.5 million and has less than $2 million shy from its goal, which will ensure a smooth and safe transition for current and future residents of Eva’s Phoenix. The grand opening is scheduled for early 2016.

We asked Robert, if you had five minutes to speak with a homeless youth, what advice or support would you offer them? He said,If I had five minutes to speak to a homeless youth, I would tell them to never stop trying. It is a quality that the youth with whom both Eva’s and Jays Care work need to succeed. Of the many life skills one can learn on the baseball diamond, perhaps none is as important as resiliency.  In baseball, if you reach base just three out of every ten attempts, you are considered one of the best. The game teaches you how to deal with setbacks, to learn from them and to never stop trying. Eva’s provides resources to support what is arguably the most vulnerable population in the city.  There is no limit to what people can achieve if they are able to deal with obstacles, especially with the support of partners such as Eva’s and Jays Care.

We thank you Robert, for your words of kindness and encouragement to never give up. The partnership with Jays Care Foundation is priceless. We give thanks and salute you!

Older gentleman leaning up against a wall with blue baseball seating in background and jays Care community clubhouse written on wall

Robert Witchel, Executive Director of Jays Care Foundation

About the Author

A former homeless youth who knows first-hand how urgent it is to have life-saving help and a fresh start. She is the recipient of Ryerson University’s Communicators Forum Award and the Hansa and Ramesh Mehta Fundraising Management Award. Helen Choi has her B.A in Political Science and post graduate studies in PR, Fundraising, and Volunteer Management.

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