The program began in 2011 after Prospera met with Archway Community Services staff and realized that there was an unmet need in providing Christmas gifts for youth.
Trees were set up at the two local Prospera branches, which featured tags with holiday wishes from youth connected to the Archway Youth Resource Centre. Prospera members and staff purchased the gifts and then Prospera staff assembled and wrapped the gifts.
“This is our favourite time of the year as we get to see the youth light up with excitement when we deliver their presents!” said Brandy Sundstrom, a Youth Support Worker at Archway.
“We’re so grateful to Prospera and all of the people who make this happen! Thank you for bringing joy to so many of our clients each Christmas season!”
Kristyn Thomson, Regional Director and Branch Manager, West Oaks branch at Prospera, says that the Angel Tree Program is something that employees and members look forward to every year.
“We absolutely love taking part in this program year after year as these kids are aged out of most other holiday gifting programs. It’s so rewarding to do something special for these youth,” said Thomson.
“Christmas is an extremely difficult and lonely time for our youth,” shared Sundstrom.
“Many of our youth are living on their own or even experiencing homelessness, without a family to spend the holidays with.”
Gift suggestions ranged from grocery store gift cards, cleaning supplies to clothes and books. One youth just wanted socks, so Sundstrom took them shopping for socks so they could request a “real present.”
“I don’t think people realize how much these gifts can mean to youth,” said Sundstrom. “It’s not just getting something that they couldn’t afford, it reassures them that there are good people out there who care about them.”
“When we tell them about the gifts, the youth often feel like they don’t want to take a spot away from another youth.
They don’t feel like they deserve anything, and these gifts are just one of the ways to help build self-esteem and confidence.”
“I don’t think people realize how much these gifts can mean to youth. It’s not just getting something that they couldn’t afford, it reassures them that there are good people out there who care about them.”
About Prospera Credit Union
Local banking means investing in Local Good. Built over 75 years as a BC credit union, Prospera Credit Union is a community-based, purpose-driven organization that offers a full range of financial products and services. Prospera is British Columbia’s fourth-largest credit union, with $8.7 billion in assets, almost 120,000 members, and 20,000 leasing and wealth clients. With 26 branches, Prospera is proud to serve communities from Vancouver through the Fraser Valley, and to the Okanagan. It’s our vision to help build vibrant, healthy communities, thriving local enterprises and financially empowered people. Learn more about Prospera Credit Union at prospera.ca.