A big THANK YOU to Steelhead Business Products and everyone else who came out to our 28th Annual Golf Tournament & Auction. You can find pictures of our event here.
Posted on June 14, 2017
A big THANK YOU to Steelhead Business Products and everyone else who came out to our 28th Annual Golf Tournament & Auction. You can find pictures of our event here.
Posted on June 14, 2017
CONNECTING YOUTH. TRANSFORMING LIVES.
Employment Opportunity Program Manager for The Elevation Project
Youth Unlimited (YU) in Greater Vancouver is a faith-based, grass-roots, pioneering organization that offers connection and transformation fostering mental, physical, social, spiritual and emotional well-being among young people in our community. The Elevation Project (elevationproject.ca), is Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited partnership with Rwanda Youth for Christ.
As Program Manager, you would be working 35 hours a week, based out of our Central Office in Surrey, and responsible for managing in all parts of The Elevation Project. Specific responsibilities include assisting in the development and operationalizing of strategic plans and guiding principles, maintaining clear relationships and communications with partners both in Rwanda and North America, traveling to Rwanda to lead teams and monitor partnership activities, and high-level involvement in maintaining the financial stewardship and partner development of the program.
This job might be for you if you:
Extra awesome if you’ve got:
Please send a cover letter, resume and a short statement outlining your philosophy of Christian international development to Dean Klassen via email, snail mail or drop them off in person by March 10, 2017: firstname.lastname@example.org; #115-12975 84th Avenue, Surrey, BC V3W 1B3.
Posted on November 25, 2016
Young Families Youth Workers
Young Families is a dedicated team of Youth Unlimited with a vision to radically change lives and restore families in Surrey. We provide a safe, caring and supportive environment for parenting youth, aged 12 to 24. Our goal is to help break generational cycles of poverty and offer hope through a relationship with Jesus.
Youth Unlimited is currently looking for two full time youth workers to join our Young Families team in Surrey.
Young Moms Program Youth Worker:
Young Dads Program Youth Worker:
For more information, please contact
Cecil Rast: email@example.com
Kellie Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on September 9, 2016
New spin on a 65-year-old toy to help Langley middle school students succeed
LANGLEY, B.C.—While it’s often teenagers who attract attention to their distraught outbursts, Youth Unlimited and HD Stafford Middle School have long known what studies show—it’s the pre-teen years where intervention is both possible and critical. That’s why they‘ve partnered to turned their attention to a surprising ally in helping those young people—LEGO. Puzzled? Think less interlocking plastic bricks, and think more innovative robotics.
In a 2011 United Way study, researched showed that as disengaged kids aged 9 to 12 moved from middle school to high school, they report a troubling decrease in self-confidence, self-worth, optimism, empathy and satisfaction with life. If left unchecked, this exacerbates as children move into adolescence.
“However,“ says Danny Ferguson, youth worker and director of Youth Unlimited in Langley, “the study also shows that children who engaged in afterschool-structured activities scored significantly higher across almost all dimensions of psychological and social well-being than their non-involved counter-parts. That’s the kind of outcome you get behind. And that’s exactly what the Langley community is starting to do.
It was this understanding that prompted Stafford school officials to push for additional school activities for students to fill the gap in time between the end of the school day and when they go home. Input from BCIT practicum students suggested the launch of an afterschool LEGO club, but the resources and man-power to launch it, felt like an unattainable dream.
Stafford Vice Principle Iha Hayer reached out to Youth Unlimited outreach workers for project support. For Youth Unlimited, whose ethos is to create long-term, sustainable initiatives that both meet community needs and align with outreach workers’ passion, involvement was a no-brainer.
“We saw this project as a really smart investment in our kids,” says Ferguson. “LEGO has a way of igniting imagination and developing community—two ingredients we definitely want to see more of in local youth. LEGO Mindstorms takes it to a whole new level.”
The project is based on the First LEGO League curriculum which uses LEGO Mindstorm, a series of kits with software and hardware to create customizable and programmable robots. Projects like this enable youth to research engineering projects, such as environmental sustainability, then build working systems to address these issues.
Through the power of social media, Youth Unlimited jumped the initial funding hurdle, and after six hours of broadcast, Kitchening and Co stepped up as a program sponsor, and the program was a “go.”
“It’s the definition of community partnership,” says Ferguson. “Stafford provides the space, BCIT students teach robotics, the shop teacher volunteers his time and a local business provides the start-up funds. We couldn’t be more thrilled to coordinate and provide the youth workers.”
While research affirmed project relevance was high, expectations for student turn-out was temperate.
“We were expecting 10-20 students to be interested,” explains Ferguson, “But as it turns out we have our 12 kids, and there are over 100 on the waitlist.”
The initiative launches today and will continue through the end of the school year. The hope of Youth Unlimited, HD Stafford and the community partners is to relaunch the full-fledged project in September to meet the demand. Ferguson says an additional $1,000 would create space for 30-40 more youth. He dreams of sending kids to provincial LEGO competitions and LEGO land in California.
“I would love to find the funds to send Langley youth to next year’s competition,” he says. “This project really feels like just a beginning of what’s possible.”
Posted on May 31, 2016
Rounding out BC Youth Week CityFest is the largest youth event in the Lower Mainland. It is for youth, by youth to celebrate Youth Week. Now in its 14th year, the CityFest attracts 3,000-5,000 attendees of all ages with its performing artists, visual arts display, fashion, food, and of course the largest skate competition in Metro Vancouver.
When Saturday, May 7, 2016; From 11:00AM to 4:00PM
Where Centennial Theatre Parking Lot & Skate Park
Why It’s a fun, interactive celebration that builds strong connections between young people and their communities and profiles the issues, accomplishments and diversity of youth.
Partnerships + History
Cityfest is a shining example of what can happen when diverse groups partner. Cityfest started in 2002 with a collaboration between Youth Unlimited, the City of North Vancouver and North Shore Alliance church. The City had just invested $500,000 to create Centennial Skate Park for the community, something that the skate community desperately needed. Mark Koop a North Shore youth worker with Youth Unlimited, and Dave Sattler a North Shore Alliance pastor wanted to throw a youth skate jam in the park to celebrate this important milestone and to thank the City for listening to and meeting the community’s needs. The three groups coordinated their efforts and Cityfest was born—an annual event not only for youth, but by youth as they are supported teens to take on leadership roles in planning the event. Today CityFest has grown from a BBQ in the park to a Citywide event for thousands, while celebrating youth.
Food booth – Free food for youth 24 and under
Music + dance showcase
Youth art display
The City of North Vancouver, Youth Unlimited and Northshore Alliance Church
Student Ambassadors: 30+
Community Partners: 30+
Youth Event Volunteers: 150+
Student Artists, Musicians and Performers: 150+
Skate and Longboarders: 200+
Event Attendees: 4,000+
Percentage of crowd that is 10-24: 75%
Visuals: click HERE for a photo album from the action!
Posted on May 7, 2016
Vancouver, BC—The cycle of mentorship and support for at-risk youth comes full circle in Jason Hradoway. Once a teenager heading down a dangerous path, Jason’s connection with Youth Unlimited led him to do a complete 180. Today, Jason works with East Vancouver’s most marginalized and struggling youth through the Youth Unlimited Street Life program.
Through Street Life, Jason and his small team run the only mobile youth center in Vancouver. This renovated 25-foot RV provides a safe place for youth where there a sense of belonging and home and a connection to caring adults. Practically, youth receive a hot meal, and, when available, clean clothes, blankets and toiletries.
“When I was in grade 10, I was in desperate need of mentorship,” says Hradoway, who first encountered Youth Unlimited in his hometown in Edmonton. “I had a poor relationship with my family, a lot of angst, and I started hanging out with a group of kids that were destructive. Inside, I was in conflict. I was drawn to the activism of the punk rock scene, which I think was a positive draw, but so much else was not. Even at that age, I knew that deep down I did actual want to help make the world a better place, but my life was not heading down that path, and I just didn’t believe anything better for myself.”
In that same year, through his music class, Jason met James, a Youth Unlimited youth worker who shared Jason’s passion for music, but who was also a stabilizing force.
“He could see that I desperately needed mentorship and someone to believe in me,” says Jason. “He was crazy enough see past the punk rock exterior to my heart. He didn’t try to change me. Instead he invited me to come help him serve other people in the inner city.”
Jason did, and when his punk rock friends started dropping out of school, he knew he was at cross-roads: did he stick with his friends, or follow the risky tug on his heart to build a different life? With Jason pouring into his life, the latter felt possible.
“In grade 12 I realized it only took one person in my life to radically change it for the better,” he says. “It wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to have an impact on struggling kids like James did for me.”
Jason came to Vancouver in 2010, trained at Lifeteams—Youth Unlimited’s year-long urban youth worker program—and worked in the Edmonton branch of Youth Unlimited before returning to East Vancouver in the fall of 2015 to help run Street Life.
Today, in a city where street-involved kids are transient, and the real estate is unbelievable, the mobile drop-in’s innovation has proven to be invaluable. The RV runs two nights a week outside Britannia Community Centre, and off Commercial Drive. During the week, dedicated staff meet regularly with youth to provide practical and emotional support, mentorship and referrals.
The program that runs on a shoestring budget is in desperate need of financial support. The lease for the RV is up in May (an extension from the April deadline), and the buy-out is $11,500. At the last week of April, the RV’s generator died, adding another $4,000 expense. The two staff and band of extremely dedicated volunteers who run the program are hoping the community will help support it through their GoFundMe campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/yustreetlife; the first $5,000 donated will be generously matched by Fraserway RV in Abbotsford. For more: www.youthunlimited.com
Posted on May 2, 2016
Vancouver, BC—The public is invited to a special Vancouver Giants Hockey night on Friday March 4 in support of vulnerable youth across Metro Vancouver as Youth Unlimited partners with the Giants. HGTV Canada’s The Timber Kings will also be in support, wowing the 5,000+ Coliseum fans with their lumberjack prowess.
On ice, the Vancouver Giants take on the Victoria Royals in regular season WHL action, but fans will be part of more than a “regular” hockey game. The Giants are generously donating a portion of all tickets sold through Youth Unlimited to help the charity’s work with at-risk and vulnerable youth throughout the Lower Mainland. Tickets are discounted to $20.
“The Giants themselves are the same age as some of the kids we work with,” says Mark Koop, Executive Director of Youth Unlimited. “It’s beautiful to see how the success that these young athletes are having can open up doors where more of their peers across the Lower Mainland, who didn’t get the same opportunities, can now be supported because of this partnership. We are humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity.”
In keeping with the night’s theme of “Outdoorsman Night”, Youth Unlimited is thrilled to welcome HGTV Canada and Pioneer Log Home’s real-life lumberjacks the Timber Kings Vancouver for the game. The Timber Kings are world-renowned master log-smiths heralding from the small town of Williams Lake, British Columbia. Timber Kings Beat, Andre, and Joel will be joining YU to provide for the first time, epic on-ice entertainment during the period break.
Additionally, Youth Unlimited is also doing what it does so well—creating an additional youth-only event, prior to the game. This city-wide, high-energy, pre-game party, featuring DJs, games, prizes, and a free toque for the first 700 kids.
Most YU youth cannot afford to go on their own. To sponsor a youth to attend visit www.youthunlimited.com/donate and write “giants” and we will be able to bring an at-risk youth for every $20 donated.
Posted on February 28, 2016
Vancouver, BC—As Nimrat Mann, 18, roams the halls of her North Vancouver school, confident and vivacious, looking out for the best interests of younger, less-savvy students, it’s hard to believe she was once the victim of extreme bullying—or heading down a dangerous bully path herself. The remarkable person she is today seems almost unfathomable in light of her past. But thanks to the unrelenting support of her mom and Youth Unlimited outreach workers, Nimrat is not only thriving, she’s giving back.
For Nimrat, her life changed from normal to terrifying in grade eight gym-class. A grade 10 girl singled her out with name-calling and hair pulling, that soon evolved to punching, biting and the inclusion of the bully’s grade 10 entourage. Then it went online.
Nimrat recalls the day she tried to get help. Her bully had dragged her across the school field by her ankles, in front of her peers who did nothing to help, only to laugh. The bully told her plainly: “Go kill yourself Nimrat. Nobody likes you.”
According to research from the Canadian Red Cross, 89% of Canadian teachers rank bullying and violence as serious problems in the public school—and cyberbullying as top on their list of concerns.
“According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, one in three adolescent students report having been bullied recently, and cyber bullying is on the rise,” explains Mark Koop, Executive Director of Youth Unlimited, a non-profit dedicated to helping vulnerable youth.
“The impact of being bullied can be traumatic and persistent. Victims often skip school and their grades and interests plummet.” Koop explains that it’s common for emotional, behavioral and relational problems to therefore develop.
Nimrat’s response was consistent that assessment and evolved to the extreme. She skipped school often to avoid her bully and depression, cutting and suicidal thoughts began. Later that year her mom found her in the bathtub, nearly succeeding at taking her own life.
Nimrat was offered counselling and eventually a new school, but she didn’t have access to the depth or frequency of support she needed. An underlying, profound sadness evolved to anger; she became fascinated with school shooting stories and began to identify with the Columbine shooters.
“It was so weird and gross,” explains Nimrat. “I was in a bad place and becoming obsessed with trying to get revenge on my old school. I wanted them to feel what they did to me.”
Through a series of events, Nimrat’s plans were exposed before coming to fruition, and it started her down a new path in the opposite—and wonderful—direction.
A turning point in that journey was Nimrat’s decision to try a Youth Unlimited cooking class, where she met youth workers who soon became a major support system for her.
“Never in a million years would I have thought that they would care about me,” she says. “In a way, they kind of saved my life.”
Nimrat joined numerous other YU-run clubs. Feeling supported and safe, she flourished.
Koop explains that to really help both the kids who are bullied and the bullies, an anti-bullying stance is just the start.
“Anti-bullying rules are a good start,” he says, “but not hitting the root of the problem. What’s missing is compassion. Eighty percent of parents put achievement and happiness above the importance of caring for others. Teaching the affected community how to have compassion can do a better job of discouraging abuse then rules alone.”
In Nimrat’s life, she is not only learning compassion, she demonstrates it.
“I’ve seen Nimrat stand up for others when bullying becomes an issue,” says Cassia Phillipson, YU youth worker. “Because of what she’s been through, she understands the hurt.’”
Nimrat is enrolled in the Youth Worker program at Douglas College for September and plans to become a teacher to help kids who need support.
Posted on February 17, 2016
Jester’s Theatre in Mission has some hip hop classes each week from Friday, January 29-April 29th. Registration is $110 and our location is at Parkside Community Church.
Grades 4-5 @ 3pm
Grades 6-7 @ 4pm
Grades 8-10 @ 5pm
Register at jesters.ca!
Posted on January 8, 2016
A few weeks ago, we had our first dinner with youth in the House. One was recently homeless, one was currently homeless and the other hung out downtown (a little too much). It was an awesome time spent over a meal and bonding with each other. That’s the first step… building a relationship of trust.
The Children and Youth Services Review published a research paper entitled, “How to Open and Sustain a Drop-In Centre for Homeless Youth.” It states that:
…engagement and re-integration is considered a by product of the development of trust, interpersonal connection, and unconditional positive regard. To treat an individual as worthy and capable, even when the individual does not act or feel that way is unconditional positive regard. The development of a genuine, empathic relationship with unconditional positive regard between the youth and a drop-in service worker is the hypothesized mechanism of change.
Relationship with youth is what we’re good at. We listen to their story. Then they want to know our story of how we have found HOPE in the saving love of Jesus. At the same time, we work to meet their needs such as meals, showers, laundry, medical care and connection to professional help.
Hope is the banner over MY House. I believe that multitudes of youth will find hope to move towards wholeness through the ministry of MY House.
I am still blown away by the amount of support MY House has received from the community. I’m humbled by the level of trust that all who have partnered with MY House have extended to Youth Unlimited. We have been entrusted to be the front-line workers and management of the daily operations of MY House. I’m blown away by the tens of thousands of dollars (in material, labour and donations) that our community has given towards MY House.
Posted on October 6, 2015
Welcome to the Youth Unlimited blog! This is where we share stories, events, videos and much more. Stay tuned for all the latest.