Third Annual Birthday Party Gala


In 2018, approximately 1000 foster children will reach their 19th Birthday and will age out of Government care.  For most of these young people there will be no celebration, no gifts and no on-going support.  The journey ahead will be challenging and lonely. Last year over 200 of these young people came through the doors of Aunt Leah’s Place.

The Aunt Leah’s Birthday Party Gala is a symbolic event that points to social justice.  A gathering that reminds us of what parents do for their children on their birthdays and when they approach adulthood.

Gifts raised at this year’s event will provide housing, support and personal kindness to this group of vulnerable young British Columbians to help carry them into their young adult years.

Can’t attend? Please consider making a donation to support Aunt Leah’s Place programs. Go to our donate page.

When: Thursday, November 1st, 2018 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Where: The Italian Cultural Centre, 3075 Slocan Street, Vancouver, BC V5M 3E4

Limited Seats Available:
$150 a Seat or $1200 a Table (10 Seats)
If you have any questions or need help registering, please contact Dumi Owane at | 604 525 1204 ext. 251

Purchase Your Seat or Table

(When you are purchasing a table, you’ll be prompted to enter the name of the first attendee. Only one name is required to complete the registration. Simply press ‘Continue’ and you’ll be taken to the payment page.)

Guest Speakers

William is a connector, connecting community, industry, and government in support of Vancouver Island University as the Associate Vice-President, University Relations and Chief Advancement Officer. In addition, he serves as the Executive Director of the Vancouver Island University Foundation and Alumni Association.

Through these roles, William is able to live his values of equality, opportunity, partnership and access through education. The most rewarding aspect of his current position is creating new opportunities for vulnerable populations through programs like BC’s first Tuition Waiver for former youth-in-care, an outreach program to empower low-income families to access free RESP funding for their child’s education through the Canada Learning Bond, and academic bursaries so that students, no matter their background, have the opportunity to dream, and realize those dreams.

Under his leadership, the VIU Foundation has doubled endowed funds and annual giving over the last four years, while at the same time more than tripled student scholarships. William holds a Master’s degree in Project Management from the University of Liverpool, a graduate certificate in International Development from the University of British Columbia and an Honours degree in International Business from Carleton University. William has had the opportunity to live and work in New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.

Meredith Graham is a proud young person from government care, a spoken word artist, a youth advisor with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, a youth worker, and an advocate for systems change especially inside our child welfare system, mental health system, and educational institutions. Meredith holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child and Youth Care Counselling from Douglas College. She journeys with five mental illnesses and weaves those stories into her cross-country mental health and spoken-word workshop facilitating, keynote presenting, and consulting. She is a recipient of the Coast Mental Health’s 2016 Courage to Come Back Award in the Social Adversity category. Meredith believes in the power, possibility, and responsibility of community in becoming instruments in a person’s symphony of resiliency.

Marketing & Communications Assistant at Aunt Leah’s Place

I believe in supporting our youth and providing them with the care they need to navigate life after the foster care system. I’m passionate about the work that I do at Aunt Leah’s and advocating for youth who are in the system as well as those who have aged out.


We gratefully acknowledge the support of our sponsors and donors who make this evening possible. In particular, we acknowledge the support of Breakfast TV and Mary Cranston, our MC for the evening.

Mary Cranston joined the BT Vancouver family in June of 2018. Before moving west, Mary lived on the east coast in Saint John, where she worked as a video journalist for CTV News. Before that, she spent two years in Kitchener as a writer and reporter.

Mary’s career history includes stints at 570 News and Rogers TV in Kitchener, where she hosted a live current affairs talk show. Her earliest career highlight was winning the RTDNF Cold-FX Scholarship for her documentary on Huntington Disease, received at the RTDNA national conference in 2012.

Raised in the Greater Toronto Area, Mary attended Fanshawe College in London where she earned a diploma in Broadcast Journalism.

Outside the newsroom, Mary can be found hiking in the mountains, taking a dance class and exploring Vancouver, the beautiful city she now calls home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you accommodate my dietary restrictions?

Yes. Please contact Dumi Owane and let her know what your needs are.


Phone: 604 525 1204 ext. 251

What is the dress code for the event?

Please be in a semi-formal attire.

Is there parking on-site?

Yes. There is ample parking available.

Is it transit accessible?

Yes. It is a 6 minute walk from Renfrew Skytrain Station. Feel free to use Translink Planner to plan your route.

Will I get a tax receipt?

Yes. A Charitable Receipt of $40 will be given for each ticket purchased and will be issued after the event. Charitable Tax receipts will also be issued for donations made at the event. If you’re paying for a full table and are attending the event, then a tax receipt will be issued to the host for $400.