Taking a Leap of Faith for Cyrus Centre

Annual tandem parachute jump raises money for youth centres in Abbotsford and Chilliwack

The Leap of Faith fundraiser for Cyrus Centre takes place in Abbotsford on July 14.

The Leap of Faith fundraiser for Cyrus Centre takes place in Abbotsford on July 14.

by Sam Bates, Black Press

It’s time to take the jump.

On July 14, take the opportunity to cross skydiving off your bucket list and help homeless youth at the same time.

Cyrus Centre is hosting the seventh annual Leap of Faith fundraiser event. It’s a tandem skydive, so there’s no prior experience necessary.

Participants will board a Quest Kodiak aircraft at Skydive Vancouver in Abbotsford, and climb up to an altitude of 10,000 to 12,000 feet. Then it’s time for the drop.

Jumpers will enjoy a 40- to 60-second freefall at a speed of 200 km/hr, then the “chute” is pulled as they enjoy up to five minutes of gentle descent under canopy.

“It’s quite remarkable,” says event organizer and former participant Maren Sawatsky. “The Fraser Valley has phenomenal scenery.”

Those who wish to take part need to raise a minimum of $700 by the day of the jump. The majority of the funds will go toward the Cyrus Centre location in the city where the participant is from – Chilliwack or Abbotsford.

The two locations are holding a friendly competition to see which can raise the most money. Thus far, Abbotsford is leading.

Cyrus Centre is a non-profit organization that provides support to vulnerable and homeless youth 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. They work with youth between the ages of 12 to 18 who may be experiencing homelessness, poverty, neglect, abuse, hunger, sexual exploitation or addiction.

Cyrus Centre offers an emergency youth shelter, hot meals, shower and laundry facilities, as well as employment services, counselling, advocacy and referrals.

The fact that participants can tackle a high-flying, incredible outdoor adventure while making a substantial difference in the lives of local homeless youth is often the tipping point when deciding whether or not to make the commitment.

“Lots of people have skydiving on their bucket list, but they never get around to doing it,” Sawatsky explained. “A lot of the participants are telling me that this event has motivated them to do it, because they’re supporting the Cyrus Centre.”

The event takes place Thursday, July 14, starting at 5 p.m. at Skydive Vancouver (5112 Gladwin Rd.). All are welcome to come watch the skydiving and enjoy a barbecue (by donation) and kids’ activities.

This year, a youth who uses the services at the Cyrus Centre participates in the event.

“She’s never even been on an airplane. This will be her first time on a plane and she wants to jump out,” Sawatsky said.

Those who do not want to skydive but would like to support the cause can donate directly online to a specific jumper or Cyrus Centre location at cyruscentre.com/donations/.

Participants must be between 90 to 220 pounds to tandem jump, and anyone under age 18 will need parental consent.

For more information, visit cyruscentre.com, contact maren@cyruscentre.com or call 604-859-5773.