WHAT WE DO
Kite Vancouver provides students with the platform to design, run and scale community projects from the ground up.
Our team of interdisciplinary student volunteers comes from diverse faculties. The team identifies opportunities for improving the community, assesses available resources, and then develops projects that have engaged hundreds of volunteers as active agents of change.
Our team runs three collaborative, and at times related, projects that benefit the community and train our student leaders. Each project is run by a team of four or five dedicated volunteers who are supported by our various administrative and governance portfolios. Projects take shape in a variety of forms, based on the unique style and goals of the team and the community they serve.
Kite Vancouver provides UBC students with unparalleled volunteer training. Our team gets firsthand experience and a close-up look at what it takes to run an organization and make a worthwhile impact in their city.
While we are driven to create sustainable social change, our model begins with the personal and professional development of our volunteers. This vision is supported through professional development workshops, custom-created by Kite leadership and community experts.
Kite will continue to push the boundaries of what student-run organizations can accomplish. We will continue to support students in creating sustainable change in our Vancouver communities and the world.
The idea for Kite Vancouver began in the Pembroke College dining hall at the University of Cambridge during the spring of 2016. There, one of our founders was eating dinner with a childhood friend attending the institution. This friend was the engineering project director for the Cambridge Development Initiative and was speaking in detail to those who sat around him about the organization and the work that they were doing. Impressed and intrigued at what this student organization had been able to accomplish, our founder jumped at the opportunity to bring a similar initiative to the University of British Columbia.
Once the commitment had been made, several months of research and planning led to the foundation of Kite Vancouver. None of our founders had ever been part of, let alone run, a non-profit organization and the learning curve was steep yet rewarding.
At the start, Kite Vancouver’s development model mirrored that of the Cambridge team, with a plan to run international projects in a developing country. The team researched a city to work in, followed by potential projects relevant to the local needs and context. We eventually landed on Lima, Peru and took our first assessment trip down to the South American country in the summer of 2016. With little experience to stand on, and even less Spanish, we began to realize the significant barriers that lay in the way of successfully running projects in Peru. Honest team deliberation near the end of the trip yielded the idea that our efforts were likely better spent in Vancouver where we were more familiar with the context and could speak the language.
Thus, our project model switched its focus from international to local opportunities. We were excited about this because, even though Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world, there are many pressing issues requiring immediate attention and support. As our focus turned to local development, we also wanted to retain an international element to the organization and therefore worked, and continue to work, towards building an independent partner organization in Peru - Kite Lima.
Between September of 2016 and May of 2018, Kite’s members worked hard to develop both the projects and the organization. Progress was not always linear and the organization hit a number of barriers caused largely by a combination of governance miscalculations and significant external factors outside of our control. Struggles to maintain membership in the summer of 2017 and the spring of 2018 twice brought the founders to the point of nearly foregoing the initiative altogether. But it is through these difficulties and the manner in which we were able to recognize and learn from our mistakes that have made our organization far more resilient today.
In the 2018/2019 school year, thanks to a strong committee of new and returning student leaders, Kite has grown significantly. Our curent team of over 25 currently runs three development projects, assists with a handful of external initiatives and executes all tasks and due diligence necessary for the continued success of the organization.
We are optimistic about what lies ahead and the position Kite will occupy in it. We hope to progress our agenda of student-led development and create a better future for everyone.
“Kite Vancouver exists to raise the bar of student volunteering and catalyze sustainable development in our local and international communities. We believe that young people have the passion and innovation to not only be part of the current solution, but to lead our world towards a better future.”
— Josh Morgan, Founder of Kite Vancouver