Kids Up Front Wishlist Program

The Cause

The Kids Up Front Wishlist Program is an initiative designed to empower deserving youth and revolutionize the way we at Kids Up Front provide enriching experiences. Kids Up Front provides fun, enriching experiences to deserving kids in the community by partnering with over 100 youth-serving agencies like Bent Arrow Healing Society, YMCA, Boyle Street Community Services, and more. We serve youth in Edmonton and Northern Alberta. In 2022, Kids Up Front distributed over 21,000 experiences.
The Wishlist Program emerges from the experience gaps in our current programming and dives into the diverse dreams and aspirations of the kids we serve. While our traditional model of distributing donated experiences has been extremely successful, it has limitations. These limitations arise from the fact that our offerings depend on the experiences donated by our entertainment partners and donors. The Wishlist Program expands from this by allowing children to express their desires, offering a customized and personalized approach to enrichment. It empowers youth by giving them the opportunity to express what they want.
The purpose of the Wishlist is to empower deserving youth by granting them the opportunity to express their dreams. It fosters a sense of choice, ownership, and control over their experiences, creating profound transformations in their lives. This also ensures that every child, regardless of their background or circumstances, has an equal opportunity to access experiences that align with what they want. It addresses the need for inclusivity and equity, recognizing that children are unique individuals with unique interests.
The Wishlist Program has endless benefits for not only the kids and families we serve, but the community as a whole. By allowing children to voice their wishes, the program encourages greater community involvement. It invites community partners, donors, and supporters to engage with the specific dreams of youth, making the fulfillment of these wishes a collaborative effort.
From our pilot Wishlist Program in 2023, success has been clearly measured. From the 829 Wishlist experiences distributed, we have reached a wide variety of agencies, removed barriers by purchasing accessibility friendly play zones, and listened to the different needs of unique kids and groups. By investing in the Wishlist program, you are creating more memories and impact like this: "Thank you for this experience. This is my best day in Canada."

Who Will it Benefit?

We achieve our mission by collaborating with over 150 child and youth serving agencies, charities, and schools, making a profound impact on a broad demographic of children facing vulnerable situations. By working in partnership, we ensure that our funding reaches those who need it most. Our evidence-based programs serve as prevention measures for children's mental health and well-being.
Those we serve are often from vulnerable populations who face:
-Housing or food insecurities
-Unhealthy or high-risk environments
-Mental or physical health concerns
-Violence and/or abuse
-Living in remote and/or rural areas
-Limited access to information or services

Our experiences typically benefit:
-Indigenous communities
-Black communities
-Communities for People of Colour
-Immigrants or Refugees
-Women and Girls
-Single Parent Households
-Low Income Households
-People with disabilities
And more...

Providing these experiences also benefits the whole community. The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness recognizes the importance of social inclusion for all youth, precisely the focus of our initiatives, as it serves as a structural prevention measure in addressing the homelessness crisis. A person who engages in cultural activities as a child is more likely to participate in their community as an adult. From our evaluation report, Kids Up Front interventions are seen as directly influencing the attitudes of children, youth and their families regarding the role of community in their lives. Beneficiaries can build their understanding of what community was, had improved knowledge of social norms in different contexts, and understood how to be more involved in community.