About

Do What U Luv: Online Platform

Started by volunteers and based on the goodwill of many in-kind contributions of professional services, marketing focus groups, community outreach, and IT development and consulting, with the vision of bringing innovation to help families, children and youth deal with some of their challenges in today's world.

It first started an "exploratory" social impact project from 2016-19 under the DWUL Foundation thanks to Bob Armstrong, Scott Shaw, Social Venture Partners (SVP Vancouver), and Chris Spencer Foundation, as well as the Groundswell Alternative Business School (countless volunteers who helped out: Jesse, Kim, Angela, Anton, Ron, Sharina, Sarah, Megan, Jay, Matt, Jeff, Sean, many more).

The "DWUL.io - Online Platform" was officially launched in June 2021 as a social enterprise initiative by the DWUL Foundation, and will operate as an independent business to create future profits/ sustainable funding to advance the charity programs without solely relying on donations and grants.

Starting and partnering in a "related business" not only can help the charity save costs, access more resources, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our programs, it also has the potential to create more future wealth to do more charity.

Why did we start

Since most of the school-based affordable programs can be sustainable in providing free spots to support vulnerable families without relying on grants and donations, they also do not generate anything "extra" to fund the operations and coordination of the program. We had to figure out how to support the operation and coordination costs to create a sustainable solution to help more schools.

What was our goal?

  • Figure out the most effective way for online marketing/listing, registration and payment, reporting, administration

  • Reduce operating and coordination costs (labour) in the long term while providing great service to all the stakeholders

  • Create a cost-effective and scalable solution easily accessible to schools, families, children and youth, and program providers

  • Streamline, reduce paperwork, and automate all the "repetitive processes" that could be easily managed through technology

We could not find any existing solutions that could meet all of our requirements, so we decided to create our own with the help of dedicated grants for social-enterprise initiatives and private donors.

Our initial prototype received validation from school district staff and leadership team, school principals, program providers, and families that it is now easier than ever to access and register for programs and services in their school or community.

Result: We have seen positive results in resolving the systemic problem of information gaps, bottlenecks, and accessibility issues between school communities, families, and program providers.

How does it work

Our vision is to make it accessible to every school, family, and program provider in B.C. and across Canada.

For Providers (businesses, nonprofits, charities, grassroots)

  • Alternative online registration system (cheaper, effective)

  • Listings of programs, services, education for children and youth (listing)

  • Supports external registration links (accessibility)

  • See Subscription pricing and plans

Why? With DWUL, providers get both listing/promo to a dedicated audience (schools, families) and online registration at the same time on the same platform, and automate your customer service.

Many program providers we work with have some registration systems (on their website). Still, they use DWUL for the low cost and efficiency in listings, promo, simple customer support, and registration while only paying 10% or less for doing business with upfront costs or risks or low cost. No other platform supports free to low-cost online listing and promo for community-based education, programs, and services for children and youth while providing direct registration or links to another system (if providers do not want direct registration). If we missed something, please let us know so we can deliver an even better service.

For Families with children and youth ages 0-18

  • Access registration to anything good for children and youth (vision)

  • Tell us their "interests," and we help them find better programs (feature)

  • Bridging gaps during out-of-school times for busy parents (programs/services)

  • Bridging gaps of what's not offered in school, community centres (further education)

Why? There's no online place to access all the information and registration for programs and services dedicated to schools, families, children and youth 0-18.

We spent over 1,000 hours in total searching on Google, government websites, archives, Statistic Canada, school districts, social agencies, community guides, community centres, and libraries. They either promote specific and limited types of activities or just strictly their programs. When people cannot find what they are looking for from schools or Community Centres (often long waitlists, limited activities), families are on their own most of the time. Not a lot of options for lesser-known organizations with a small marketing budget to reach families - No way for busy parents to find them either.

What does it solve

We have saved over $400,000 in admin and coordination costs for schools and program providers and facilitated more than $350,000 in registrations with our prototype from 2017-19. More programs were created and attended (500+ programs and 5000+ registration).

For Providers (businesses, nonprofits, charities, grassroots)

With DWUL, providers get both listing/promo to a dedicated audience (schools, families) and online registration at the same time on the same platform, and automate your customer service.

Many program providers we work with have some registration systems (on their website). Still, they use DWUL for the low cost and efficiency in listings, promo, simple customer support, and registration while only paying 10% or less for doing business with upfront costs or risks or low cost. No other platform supports free to low-cost online listing and promo for community-based education, programs, and services for children and youth while providing direct registration or links to another system (if providers do not want direct registration). If we missed something, please let us know so we can deliver an even better service.

For Families with children and youth ages 0-18

There's no online place to access all the information and registration for programs and services dedicated to schools, families, children and youth 0-18.

We spent over 1,000 hours in total searching on Google, government websites, archives, Statistic Canada, school districts, social agencies, community guides, community centres, and libraries. They either promote specific and limited types of activities or just strictly their programs. When people cannot find what they are looking for from schools or Community Centres (often long waitlists, limited activities), families are on their own most of the time. Not a lot of options for lesser-known organizations with a small marketing budget to reach families - No way for busy parents to find them either.

For School Districts and Schools

From working with over 30 schools, we learned that they do not have a streamlined and effective solution to easily list and promote programs for families, collect registration, payment, and reports for afterschool programs, nor do they have the staffing or capacity to find and coordinate programs.

Participating school districts and school partners can work with the DWUL Foundation to access a network of vetted community programs to be offered in-school during the afterschool time 3-5 pm at discounted/subsidized rate while using the DWUL.io platform to reduce the coordination time, marketing cost, paperwork, and increase efficiency for everyone.

We also help school communities find, plan, and book programs, camps, and services, to support families, children and youth while reducing paperwork and improving efficiency for everyone. (Optional) Any school staff or parent group can access a simple online registration system for any staff and parent who collects registration and payments for activities. $0 monthly fee, 6% + 30¢ per registration. No cost for free programs.

Investment plans

Social Venture - Seed Investment Pitch

What is a social venture business? Helping communities to solve social issues through innovation and technology, while creating sustainable business services, revenue, and surpluses to repay investors/ loans and give back a part of all future profits to charity.

Journey continues

There are 60 public school districts and 1,500+ schools in B.C. alone, with over 550,000 families with school-age children 0-18, and an estimated 6,000 - 8,000 organizations, businesses, non-profits, charities, and grassroots that serve schools, families, children and youth with community-based education, programs, and services.

There are 1,500 public school districts and 15,000+ schools in Canada with over 5.5 million families and an estimated 60,000 - 80,000 program providers.

It is the duty of the "Do What U Luv Online Platform" to bridge families and program providers together to help the next generation to discover their potential. Imagine a future when families of all backgrounds can have equal access to "what's good" for children and youth in their community, free, subsidized, fee-based, whatever their needs are. Together we can help the next generation to discover their potential and uncover their passion.

  • Do you want to make a "social impact investment" and be part of our long-term solution?

  • Leave a message here, and we'll get in touch with you!

Afterschool Guide (DWUL Foundation)

Started in 2014 to bring affordable afterschool programs, creative outlets, and social-emotional learning to schools and help vulnerable families participate. We have served more than 5,000 families and 30 schools across the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam), Surrey, and Burnaby) with over 500 programs that they did not have access to before and supported over 500 free spots.

More than just "childminding" and "babysitting," the afterschool hours should be "educational" and extended hours for learning new things. We recruit and vet professional program providers and instructors and bring programs to schools from 3-5 pm, or when most adults are busy, such as out-of-school time, winter, spring, summer breaks.

It also would not be possible if it wasn't for the belief and support from the Tri-Cities Coquitlam School District SD 43 (Jeff Stromgren, Community Connections) and Surrey School District SD 36 (Community Schools team) for piloting our programs.

Bringing affordable afterschool programs and supporting vulnerable families

  • Schools can easily access afterschool programs through the "Afterschool Guide" school partner page.

  • Mainly supporting vulnerable schools and underprivileged kids (charity program)

  • Building partnerships for school-based partnership programs (afterschool programs)

  • Low-cost registration for cost-recovery (sustainable solutions)

Why do schools and families need these programs? Watch a two-minute "testimony" video here

Programs for different learning needs

  • Arts & Drawing

  • Music & Instruments

  • STEM (Coding, Design, Science)

  • Dance (Breakdance, Hip-hop, and more)

  • Drama & Performing Arts

  • Martial-art & Self-defence

  • Yoga & Fitness and more

  • Sports

  • Youth leadership

  • Social-emotional learning (mental wellness)

  • Specialized education (learning differences)

  • And many more to come

Charity programs

Afterschool Guide (by DWUL Foundation)

In 2022-2023, we will continue to provide affordable afterschool programs and support vulnerable families through school-based programs and partnerships with School Districts. SD43 (Tri-Cities) is our largest and most active district partner, with over 25+ participating schools and growing.

We help schools plan, engage families' interests, program bookings, coordination, marketing, registration, payments, customer service, and admin reports to the School District. We are removing all the barriers for any schools to get afterschool programs in school.

School principals, teachers, and youth workers can easily refer vulnerable families to participate in any in-school afterschool programs offered in partnership with SD43, saving families the lengthy background check, notice of assessment, and embarrassment.

Universal approach

We have developed an inclusive, sustainable, and long-term approach to solving these age-old problems. We created the possibilities of a universal strategy for afterschool programs that are "good for all (everyone can benefit) and essential to some (the most vulnerable population)."

Vulnerability is not always just about "income status," and the biggest challenge is redefining how "we" (public opinion) understand vulnerability in today's society and developing the appropriate school district/ community/ public policies to address new needs. Studies show that some of the most vulnerable/ at-risk youth today come from higher economic status and two-parent families, due to society and peer pressure, social media influence, and mental health-related issues.

From working closely with school districts, schools, program providers, and families to figure out what is a "low-cost" price range that could work for most families (80-90%), so the "haves" can help cover the instructor costs for the "have nots" while everyone wins.

Thanks to the Tri-Cities School District (SD43), the third-largest school district in BC, we successfully brought this vision to reality in 2014 and have created long-term solutions for the entire school district (potential of 70 schools and 30,000+ families).

Today, we are working to bring this model to more communities across B.C. and Canada with the help of the DWUL.io (online platform). What a two-minute video.

How can vulnerable families access support?

  • We work closely with schools and district partners, principals, social workers who know best.

  • They help identify who needs help, and once the program reaches the minimal registration for the program to start, they can join without any barriers.

  • Children and youth never find out who paid or hasn't to learn and grow together.

  • DWUL, School partners, and program providers protect this confidentiality.

Are programs taught by paid instructors or volunteers?

  • All the programs taught by professional instructors and providers are already offering a heavily discounted rate (25-50%).

  • They love teaching and sharing their passion with the youth that they sacrifice half to an entire workday to spend quality time teaching children and youth when most adults are busy and do not have time.

  • Many programs work with volunteers and provide training for youth volunteers, but we do not rely on "goodwill" alone to create a sustainable long-term solution for schools and families.

  • People who teach programs are generally doing it because of their passion and love for what they do, and sharing their knowledge with the younger generations to spark their curiosity, inspiring them to learn more. They are important and should be valued more in our society.

  • Instead of doing jobs that they don't love, they should be teaching kids in schools and making a decent living.

  • Did you know that according to Candian Industry statistics 2020, "Dog care provider workers" get paid more than average afterschool program instructors and child care workers? We have nothing against dogs, but we should be valuing the people who take care and teaches children and youth more.

What we learned

Starting from scratch was challenging

  • Donations and grants across Canada have been decreasing each year due to the new landscape of how people give.

  • Thousands of new nonprofits and charities each year competing

  • Big charities get most of the large grants and funding

It would not be possible for us to start without the help of Darlene Gerring (Former CEO, Burnaby Board of Trade) and Bosa Properties Foundation for funding our initial afterschool programs in the Surrey, Tri-Cities and Burnaby region from 2014-15.

We learned from school districts, school principals, program providers, and families

  • "Universal programs" also require the right school district policies to support

  • Programs alone do not solve the systemic issue of "information gaps, bottlenecks, and accessibility"

  • Funders, schools, and school districts do not have unlimited budgets to go around

  • For small organizations, it takes more effort to fundraise than deliver programs

  • Free programs that solely rely on donations and grants have the risk of vanishing once the funding runs out

  • Volunteers are not available all the time, and people come and go too often

  • Many school communities that had ongoing programs that families relied on for years have nothing if funding stops

  • Studies and interviews show "free" programs are sometimes associated with low-quality, social stigma, and labels

  • Schools space such as gyms, fields, multipurpose rooms, libraries are sometimes unused from 3-5 pm because "other activities/ community groups" from "school facility rentals" starts after 5 pm since most adults are busy

  • If schools and districts can offer space, program costs decrease for all families

No streamlined way of accessing information

Every school district has different processes, each school runs differently, and each child is unique. Even though some school communities have program support, families struggle with finding activities that are not available through schools, community centres, or well-known agencies, nonprofits, charities.

And every community-based program provider is unique, and each has different processes, websites, and registration forms. Some do not have a registration system and rely on phone-in registration, manual mailing, cheques, paperwork, and cash (sometimes coins).

Coordinating programs was complicated because no one had a manual or set standards. Before the families receive the information, it takes multiple parties' back and forth questions to confirm "program information" and "registration procedures" (sometimes months) because every program provider was different.

Our partners

2014-Present: Afterschool Guide programs with Community Connections

2021: MOU with the DWUL.io Online Platform

2020: BC Provincial Community Gaming Grant for inclusive afterschool programs

2020: Canada Summer Job Grant for community research and engagement

2020: Orbis Investment Employee Donation program from Lucy Liu