A fundraising event for the Success Foundation - a not-for-profit aimed at empowering immigrants to achieve their goals - is going virtual this year, allowing more participants to join the walk without leaving their homes.
The three-kilometre Walk with the Dragon event along the Stanley Park Seawall has normally drawn thousands of people annually, but, this year, it will take the form of an online event in the last week of July, complying with the provincial government's health and safety guidelines.
Anyone interested in participating can do the Stanley Park walk or participate in a walk in their neighbourhood instead, said Harry Lee, a senior manager with the Success Foundation.
Many people were puzzled by the term “virtual walk,” but it is simply an interactive map of Stanley Park with various checkpoints that participants can do on their own, Lee said.
“People can view the most iconic spots of Stanley Park at each checkpoint,” Lee said. “Participants, who either plan to join online or organize their own walk offline, are also welcome to share photos from their walk with us afterward. Even though we can't walk physically together and meet each other this year, we can still complete the mission together."
The event raises money to help immigrants build a sense of community and belonging, Lee said.
Irene Hsu, a Richmondite who has taken part in Walk with the Dragon for the past 10 years, said the new online walking concept opens up the fundraiser to the entire country, allowing more people to join them.
"We can also go on walks anywhere across B.C., and even across Canada, with the new format. Our walking area isn't just limited to Vancouver’s Stanley Park in the future," said Hsu.
Another long-time participant Winnie Yung agreed with Hsu about the benefits of virtual walking, noting her walking group members are becoming more close-knit as they learn to navigate the new system.
"We are busy making phone calls these days to help each other with the new online map,” Yung said. “This is a win-win situation - we can stay connected and learn something new at the same time.”
In addition, proceeds from the event will be dedicated to supporting social service programs.
The Success Helpline is one of the most in-demand services this year due to the pandemic.
"Many people are stuck at home, especially seniors and vulnerable groups. Although people have more time to spend with their families, many are suffering from emotional and financial stress and need someone to help them,” Lee said. “Therefore, the need for the helpline has increased dramatically this year and we need more funding.”
It is free to sign up for the walk but donations to the Success Foundation are welcome.
To sign up for the Virtual Walk with the Dragon 2020, go to https://secure2.convio.net/succes/site/TR?fr_id=1060&s_trID=1060&pg=informational&sid=1020.