Edmonton

The Beverly area in Edmonton is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. It’s also the site of HEROS fourth program which commenced in the fall of 2007.

Over the years, Beverly has been the first home for each wave of immigrant families looking to start a new life in Edmonton. Money is tight for many families living in the blocks of rundown walk–up, post–war–era apartment buildings.

Commonly seen signage in the area reads: “Prostitution will not be tolerated.

There’s weariness among residents who’ve seen it all too many times before. “Neighbourhood Watch” warnings feature prominently on most gates and well–lit doorways.

There’s a cluster of pawnshops along Beverly’s main drag. A few doors down, a tired café serves up toast and coffee. There’s no cappuccino or fresh croissants here.

Kids raised in Beverly face the quadruple threat common to all depressed inner-city neighbourhoods: drugs, prostitution, crime and gangs.

Mostly, these are children of parents on income assistance or the working poor. With few economic resources, they struggle to make healthy life choices and dream of a brighter future.

HEROS – through its hockey program – helps at–risk youth build self–esteem and life skills. It offers these children a different picture – one filled with fun, respect, hard work and discipline, and most of all, hope.