After many years of working at The Bay Centre, I have had the pleasure to work with many of our non-profit community partners. We are privileged to have some exceptional not-for-profit organizations that work tirelessly to round out the community support services that are offered by the public and private sectors. It is these collaborative partnerships that “unite” our resources and passions and are the driving force to initiating change while growing and strengthening the health of our community. With this in mind, I am excited to share our most recent partnership between The Bay Centre and United Way of Greater Victoria.

United Way has partnered with bc211, a Vancouver-based nonprofit organization that specializes in providing information and referrals regarding community, government and social services in BC, includes mental health support services. For those seeking support services and do not know where or how to access resources, they can simply call or text 211 or visit bc211.ca to receive the help that they need 24/7.

The Bay Centre is very passionate about working on providing awareness and focus on mental health so when the opportunity was presented to partner with United Way and assist in showcasing the bc211 program that enhances mental health support services, it was a win-win for everyone. Mental illness affects people of all ages, education and income levels and unfortunately, the stigma attached to mental illness continues to be a serious barrier to diagnosis and treatment. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.

On September 18th, United Way took over The Bay Centre as part of their 80th Workplace Campaign with a special bc211 announcement. As the backdrop to the festivities – United Way and The Bay Centre are encouraging guests to be the “I” in UNITED to enter to win a $1,000 Bay Centre gift card and $1,000 for the charity of your choice! From September 18th to October 8th, 2017, snap a photo of yourself as the ‘I’ in the larger than life UNITED letters in Centre Court at The Bay Centre and share it on social media for your chance to win.

The statement that “it takes a village” is strong in the Downtown Victoria as we all work together to support those who live, work, and play downtown. In fact, we are “United” in our efforts to add vibrancy to the core. This is just one more reason why I enjoy working in Downtown Victoria where a collaborative approach is not just a strategy but a common mindset that allows all of to succeed.

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