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Fundraiser launched to support men's health programs on the Downtown Eastside

How would your pandemic experience look if you didn't have access to mental health services?

How would your pandemic experience look if you didn't have access to activities, programs, technology or mental health services?

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money for essential programs for men's mental health and wellness in the Downtown Eastside. 

From now until March 31, the East Van Sandlot Society (EVSS) is asking for donations to help the Dudes Club fund their essential programs for mental health and wellness.

The Dudes Club

Established in the Downtown Eastside in 2010, the Dudes Club has set up clubs in communities across British Columbia.  The organization uses a proven model for Indigenous men’s wellness promotion that builds solidarity and brotherhood, enabling men to regain a sense of pride and purpose in their life.

"Within DUDES Clubs the hierarchy of the western medical model is flattened, and the healthcare providers who are involved prioritize cultural competence and safety, genuine connections, and support to help men navigate the healthcare system," explains the Dudes Club.

"Men who often carry with them intergenerational trauma related to the loss of or damage to their land, culture, family, language, and identity, are able to begin to drop some of their armour. All initiatives are community-driven and highlight the importance of peer champions."

East Van Sandlot Society (EVSS)

The EVSS is an independent, non-profit society dedicated to the advancement of amateur hardball in East Vancouver. The group has offered no-cost community based, recreational baseball as a contribution to the Dudes Club programs of health-focused activities for their members. 

Over the course of four months in 2019, the EVSS says it held multiple “gear raisers,” information sessions and live practices to completely outfit the Dudes and prepare to play a true sandlot game. "Thanks to many generous donations, the local baseball community outfitted us with an incredible amount of amazing gear and allowed us to get going."

Now, the EVSS hopes to resume practicing weekly in the summer of 2021, depending on public health orders, COVID-19 vaccinations, and safe play options for the Dudes. 

"The first $500 of donations will be matched by myself and my wife Aryana," says the GoFundMe campaign creator Sean Thomas. "Donations over $100 will receive either a snazzy East Van Sandlot Society t-shirt or retro East Van Black Sox long sleeve."

Larger donations and corporate partners are also welcomed, but the organizer asks that people email him separately or donate directly via The Dudes website or donation form. 

Check out @EastVanSS on Instagram for more info and to follow along with the campaign  ️