As Sharon Davis-Payton cycled the Sea to Sea 2013 bicycle tour raising funds to eliminate poverty, she had City Kidz Hamilton on her mind. Davis-Payton, a member of Ancaster (Ontario) Christian Reformed Church, had been volunteering for the program since 2008. “The City Kidz program is so aligned with the objectives of Sea to Sea,” Davis-Payton said, “and it gave me a visual to bike for during the 2013 tour.”
She was delighted when Sea to Sea recently announced the grant recipients of the 2013 cycling tour, one of which is City Kidz Hamilton, which will receive $9,600.
City Kidz Hamilton is an outreach program for children ages 3 to 15 who live with a high level of poverty. Each week over 2,400 Hamilton children and young people receive a personal home visit and attend a fun-filled worship service at a local theatre, a Kinder Kidz story and sing-along program, or a youth leadership program. City Kidz eliminates two main barriers to participation—transportation and finances. The program is free to attendees; buses travel 28 routes in Hamilton to pick up and drop off children.
When Davis-Payton, who also cycled in the 2008 Sea to Sea tour, signed up for 2013 Sea to Sea ride, she encouraged City Kidz to apply for some of the funds that would be raised on this tour.
With the grant, City Kidz can fund additional buses and continue expansion in Hamilton: “It will allow us to invest in a brand new-neighborhood, the last targeted neighborhood where children are living in a higher level of poverty,” explained City Kidz founder and executive director Rev. Todd Bender, whose mission is to reach out to every child in Hamilton.
As City Kidz’s secretary treasurer, Trevor Thomson pointed out, “We will not change the circumstances in which most of our participants are raised. That is beyond their control. What we can change is their future. By increasing hope and resilience, by helping them to understand God’s plan for their lives, they can become agents for change.”