Ken Neufeld has been a YU youth worker for the past 14 years. He first met Dillon at “The Fridge,” a Youth Unlimited drop-in center in Richmond.
           “At that time he was pretty broken and low,” says Ken. “He had a complicated family situation; his male role models were problematic and he was doing poorly in school. We spent many years going for walksalong the river in Richmond. It’s been a long, beautiful journey of walking alongside Dillon.”

           Over time, Dillon came to faith; got the support he needed and experienced healing. Now 25 years old, he lives in Montreal, has a good job and is part of a local church community.

           He recently wrote a letter to Ken to share a revelation: “I’d always been searching for a father figure to teach me what it means to be a man, to look up to, and to model myself after. And I just realized you are that figure.”*

Dillon is just one of many youth Ken has helped during nearly a decade with YU in Richmond. Ken’s first nine years were part-time, as he was also a youth pastor in Richmond. As Ken transitioned to full-time with Youth Unlimited, despite flourishing in Richmond, he felt his heart pulled east.
           “When I met with YU leadership to explore where to invest full-time, a long list of places with need and opportunity were named, and then at the end, the director said kind of off the cuff, ‘maybe even Chilliwack’, and my heart suddenly leaped. It was like God had taken the word ‘Chilliwack,’ and burnt it on my heart.”



           As Ken and his wife, Lisa, researched and prayed, that initial spark fanned to flame and it became clear they were called to Chilliwack. There was only one problem: YU did not actually work in Chilliwack. Yet.
           So, Ken accepted a YU youth worker position in Abbotsford, one city over, and moved his entire family to Chilliwack.

Traditionally a beautiful farming area nestled in BC’s charming Fraser Valley, Chilliwack doesn’t tend to

make headlines, so it often comes as a surprise that 22% of its homeless population is under 20—the largest percentage of homeless youth in both the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver. In fact, Chilliwack and neighbouring Abbotsford have the same number of homeless youth, despite Chilliwack being smaller by 57,000 people. Strangely, research also shows that girls living in Chilliwack are more likely to self-harm than those living in the rest of the Fraser Valley or Metro Vancouver.
           “Higher-risk behaviours are beginning younger and getting riskier,” explains Ken who is often asked why this unexpected dynamic is emerging. “As affordability has moved east, so has the number of low-income households. Chilliwack is a beautiful community but it has a lot of generational brokenness and many people struggle to heal from the past. Generational suffering has passed down and many young people are looking for ways to cope.”

In 2016, after two years of research, an expansion to Chilliwack seemed undeniably necessary. Ken concluded that a safe drop-in space for struggling teens would be highly beneficial. Because of Chilliwack’s isolation and lack of public transport, the drop-in would need to be mobile—one of YU’s strongest areas of expertise.
           When he approached Chris Hyslop, longtime manager of YU’s drop-in in Abbotsford, Ken couldn’t believe his ears. Just two days prior, Chris had been approached by two donors who had a desire to provide seed funding for a mobile drop-in in the valley. Around the same time, a partner


organization reached out to YU to say they are expanding to Chilliwack and, that after performing their own assessment, they concluded Chilliwack was in greater need of support than just one organization could bring. Would YU also consider also expanding its youth work to Chilliwack?

Today, Chilliwack YU is still in the pioneering stage. The mobile drop-in has been purchased, but funding to retrofit for firetruck-drop-in is still a long way off. The Monday Hot breakfast program, however, is thriving thanks to Central Community Church’s committed partnership with YU. The positive impact on the school’s youth has been deeply felt.
           Ken’s strategic vision for Chilliwack support is to hire three more youth workers, expand to three middle schools and to secure three facilities (mobile and stationary) by 2022. We invite you to prayerfully consider supporting Ken and the youth in Chilliwack by joining the advocacy team and/or partnering financially.

*Shared with permission


We are so stoked to partner with the City of North Vancouver and so many others to help put on CityFEST, the largest youth-run festival in B.C. We are proud to help host hundreds of youth performers and 6,000 attendees on May 4 at Lonsdale Skate Park.




We are proud to announce our Young Families program’s Spring Gala is on Saturday, April 13th at the Fairmont Hotel Rooftop in Vancouver. Join us for an incredible night of great food and live music from legendary Soulstream. Learn how Youth Unlimited is breaking the cycle of poverty and providing hope and help to young families in the community.



On Saturday, May 4, we will host our annual Burger Bash in Abbotsford. This is a fundraiser and thank you event all in one! Join the Abbotsford YU staff and volunteers in celebrating this year of ministry with entertaining games and delicious burgers. Come hear stories from youth about the impact that Youth Unlimited ministry workers have having on their lives.










It seems like no matter where I drive these days, I am greeted by a construction project of some kind: office towers, condos and houses are going up all around us. Businesses and organizations expand for all sorts of reasons, typically to generate higher profits and increase market share. For some the desire to grow is inspired by maximizing the greatest impact on people. At Youth Unlimited, our heart for expansion is to create community and family around vulnerable youth who don’t have the supports they desperately need. Growing up with foster kids in our home exposed me to the healing power that a family can provide for a young person.

In this issue of Connections, you will read about the work that Ken Neufeld is pioneering in Chilliwack, where far too many young people are disconnected from healthy families and are therefore struggling with either physical, emotional or spiritual poverty — and sometimes all three.

Twenty-two percent of homeless people in Chilliwack are youth 19 and under, the highest percentage in the Lower Mainland. A rapidly expanding part of the Valley, services in Chilliwack have not yet caught up to the growth, and more services for youth are desperately needed — especially services for youth who struggle getting access to them. Our pioneering outreach workers meet youth where they are at and build long term, authentic relationships. As the relationships grow and strengthen, trust forms and youth workers connect them to the services they need, whether that be medical, nourishment, mental health resources, or spiritual direction.

I think of James, the brother of Jesus, and what he said:
Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight.
-James 1:27 The Message (MSG)

This is the “why” of what we do in Chilliwack: as we show the God’s love to youth and they are invited to join the family.

Because of you, the work that YU does is expanding into new cities and with new innovations (like a firetruck!) We are excited to see what God does in Chilliwack through YU’s involvement in the community. Thank you for your generous support!

Mark Koop,




Executive Director