Together, we raised over $13,500! Each ask, each step, each pedal, and each smile – all incredibly worth it


Our first ever Ride for Refuge event for student refugee programs at Columbia College concluded with a celebration by the seaside.

Over a hundred riders and walkers joined us on October 01, 2022 to celebrate and support newcomer refugee youth at Vanier Park, Vancouver. The funds raised from this year’s inaugural RIDE will go towards supporting the education of newcomer youth with backgrounds in forced displacement under the Institute for Equity and Advancement in Education (IEAE) at Columbia College. 

Saturday was a perfect day for a stroll/walk/ride as Columbia College hosted Ride for Refuge, for the very first time. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon with colleagues and friends, finishing with a delicious picnic at Vanier. Congratulations to all the teams – including the babies! – and thank you to all the volunteers and the organizing team. 

This event would not have materialized without the efforts of Mark and Gurjashan, Event Directors of the RIDE. They rallied together many forces in a relatively short time, raising over $13,000. These funds will go towards college bursaries allowing displaced young adults to pursue post-secondary studies at CC. Mark’s family also came out in full force, manning the support vehicles and helping to ensure that all participants in the RIDE were kept safe, hydrated and well fed.” – Brenda Louie (Vice-Principal, Columbia College).



RIDE is a nation-wide family-friendly ride/walk fundraiser that began in 2004. Every year charities across Canada come together to support the cause. This year Columbia College made the decision to host the RIDE for the very first time, and it was a huge boost to the launch and ongoing expansion of the College’s Charitable initiatives. 

Mark Friesen, Executive Director IEAE and RIDE Event Director was amazed at the turnout and success of the event.  

“We were unsure how our community would respond to this event, or what the engagement would look like. We were hoping to see participation from a wide variety of college supporters together with staff, alumni and students. There are simply not many opportunities for our whole community to get together and celebrate the success and impact of these programs. I’m pleased to say that a wide range of community partners engaged in the event. A highlight for me was staff family members interacting with alumni, former staff members, and our donors!” 

“According to a recent IRCC report, out of all resettlement beneficiaries in BC, 80% are eligible for post-secondary education and 42% are under the age of 17. These youth with backgrounds in forced displacement face significant barriers as they attempt to pursue education in Canada. Columbia College has stepped forward to create a pathway for such students and attempts to create their journey to university little bit smoother and easier. Ride for Refuge is a step in creating a stronger foundation for resettlement bursaries at Columbia College directly benefitting the students in accessing post-secondary education and creating a sense of belonging in the Canadian society”- Gurjashan Singh Dhummi (Community Development Coordinator, Columbia College).

We would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation for everyone who donated and stepped up to support the RIDE including our sponsors JLL Realty, Paladin Security, Johnston Meier Insurance, and Keep.meSAFE. Special thanks to our many volunteers and participants who made RIDE’22 a success.  

Here is what Sylvana Thison, a current student at CC and Volunteer Leader for the RIDE said about their experience, “Being on the Leadership Committee for RIDE had its stressful moments considering it was our first time hosting it. But it gave me the opportunity to work on my communication skills and to learn the dynamics of working in a tight-knit team. I’m especially grateful for this experience as it taught me how to plan events – it wasn’t as easy as I always thought it would be. I am beyond grateful for all volunteers who came out in support of the RIDE on and before October 1st as we worked towards achieving our collective goal.” 


Check out the full photo album here