We are pleased to announce that Cara Sinclair, founder of Project Backpack and HELP Youth Canada, was awarded the BC Medal of Good Citizenship in June of 2021. The B.C. Medal of Good Citizenship celebrates British Columbians who have acted in a particularly generous, kind or selfless manner for the common good without expectation of reward.
The following is the announcement on the Province of British Columbia’s website: “Cara now dedicates her life to improving the welfare of at-risk, often homeless, youth in Vancouver. Her goal is to help these young people exit the street and break the chain of entrenched homelessness. With this in mind, Cara founded H.E.L.P. for Youth Canada Society, a registered charity, where she volunteers fulltime. H.E.L.P. has two initiatives: Project Backpack (PBP) and funding educational bursaries.
Founded by Cara in 2005, PBP purchases backpacks, donates them to schools in the lower mainland, educates the participating students about Vancouver’s homeless crisis, arranges for the packs to be stuffed with essential items including new clothes, toiletries, rain gear and other personal effects, and delivers these packs to shelters for distribution.
Last year more than 530 packs were distributed to those in need. Since its inception, thousands of packs have benefited these youth and shelters.
Under Cara’s guidance, H.E.L.P. also awards bursaries to at-risk youth who are ready to go back to school. Bursaries have been awarded to students in 14 different occupational fields including: plumbing, pipe-fitting, early childhood education, marine engineering, dental assistance, electrical engineering, TV production and social work.
Cara has spoken at numerous events and to thousands of people. She has educated and inspired others to help. In May 2016, on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Cara addressed hundreds of members of the BC Nurses Union about Vancouver’s homeless youth crisis and her dream of how to make a difference. As she spoke, 260 backpacks were stuffed and donated by the nurses.
Cara’s vision and efforts have directly improved the lives of thousands of disadvantaged youth, educated thousands of others about youth homelessness, and made Vancouver a kinder place to live.“