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VANCOUVER, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The SUCCESS Foundation is often one of the first groups coming on the radar of thousands of new immigrants to Canada each year -- officially about 250,000 -- particularly Asian newcomers.
Vancouver's Chinese community, as well as others from all walks of life, demonstrated their appreciation for the group Sunday when more than 10,000 people turned up at the Stanley Park for the 25th anniversary of the SUCCESS Walk with the Dragon event.
Covering 7 km through the park, the event attracted families, politicians, more than 300 teams from community organizations and public and private corporations, and even a group of beauty queen hopefuls aspiring to represent Vancouver in the Miss Asia pageant in Hong Kong in November.
A non-profit group with partial government funding, the SUCCESS Foundation helps youth, families and seniors in health, training and education, employment, social services and business and economic development.
SUCCESS attracted more than 260,000 participants and raised more than 10 million Canadian dollars in its first 24 years, and targeted to raise more than 400,000 Canadian dollars on Sunday.
"Twenty percent of our annual operating budget is raised from the community through donations, membership dues, cost recovery programs, corporate sponsorship and fundraising events such as Walk with the Dragon," said Maggie Ip, chair of the foundation.
"With the increasing services needs, the SUCCESS Foundation is in even more dire need of the community's support. We all have to work doubly hard to reach our fundraising target," she said.
Tung Chan, SUCCESS's chief executive officer, said so many people turning out on a Sunday morning in Vancouver and a few hours before the start of the World Cup final, nevertheless, demonstrated the support of the community for the foundation.
The funds raised would go to programs "very underfunded or not funded at all by the government." The group's website in traditional and simplified Chinese, English and Korean, for example, is not supported by the government at all.
An emotional hotline run by the organization is 25 percent government-funded. It runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. so that people under stress can speak to someone in either Cantonese or Mandarin. It has been successful in preventing numerous cases of potential suicides.
SUCCESS also supports senior care homes that are 90 percent to 95 percent government-funded to ensure that Chinese senior homes provide "culturally appropriate food and recreational programs."
"In British Columbia, we get roughly 40,000 to 45,000 new immigrants coming here annually," said Tung, himself a Hong Kong immigrant and former Vancouver city councilor.
"It's important when they come here they know where to find a school for their children, how they apply for a driver's license, how they can get their social insurance card so they can start working and if they do not speak English, where they can get the free language training," he said. "All of that is the first step."
Gordon Campbell, premier of British Columbia who has constantly tried to promote the province in China, is also supportive of the work of SUCCESS, saying it is "a major bridge building organization."
"It's a great event for Vancouver," Campbell said. "(This event) makes sure we have programs that welcome new families to Canada, and help them become a part of our community as quickly as possible."
Overlooking the carnival-like waterfront event, Tung said what was great about the evolution of the walk, though a small event, was that it had now transcended the Chinese community and was supported by people of all colors.
"We're seeing people who came here as a kid to participate. Now they bring their own kids to come and enjoy the celebrations," he said.
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