Seventeen-year-old Keira first noticed an inner uneasiness at a young age. “I felt all this pressure within myself to be the kid I thought I was supposed to be,” she says. “I always had a pit in my stomach.””

From the outside, no one could tell Keira was struggling. She came from a stable home and a supportive community, was a star basketball player and an excellent student. Yet Keira suffered with intense internal pressure to live a “perfect” life.

At age 11, Keira was diagnosed with anxiety. “I closed myself off because I didn’t want to add anything negative to the lives of others,” she says. By 14, she hit a breaking point. “I was experiencing the worst anxiety of my life. I blamed myself. I avoided going out. It was easier to stay in my room all day than to face the anxiety. I felt so ashamed.”

At 13, Keira met Youth Unlimited’s Nate Wiebe, who, at the time, was a youth pastor in North Vancouver. She had begun attending youth events at his church and saw that he cared. “It took a while, but eventually I risked opening up about my struggles,” says Keira. “Nate’s responses always made me feel heard.”

Soon, post-youth group check-ins became regular mentorship meet-ups. Nate became an invaluable support to Keira as she navigated her high school journey.

“She cares so deeply about others,” explains Nate. “What she needed to learn was to give that same care to herself.” Nate’s perspective and non-anxious presence impacted Keira profoundly. “He helped me learn to accept my anxiety instead of trying to become ‘perfect,’” she said. “I started to let go of the shame I was carrying.”

Keira and Nate at a youth retreat

Katie Jarmer-Wiebe (left) supporting youth at the NS mobile drop-in centre

Last summer, Keira reluctantly accepted Nate’s invitation to volunteer at a summer camp on Anvil Island. “I was in a difficult season,” she says. “My anxiety was high. It was tiring and I felt like an angry person.”

Many YU staff who worked at camp alongside Nate spent intentional time investing in Keira, resulting in something beautiful. Keira looks back at her time at camp and says it was one of the most transformational experiences of her life so far.

“My heart softened and it deeply changed me,” she said. “The staff helped find a piece of me I had lost, and my faith was so lifted. The YU staff care deeply for the people around them, and I was lucky to realize that I’m one of them.”

While Keira was experiencing deep growth and change, Nate had his own epiphany. As a pastor, he had spent years watching YU staff—most notably his own wife, Katie—invest in the lives of struggling youth. He began to realize the tug at his own heart and passions.

“It began to sink in that the parts of my pastoral job I gravitated to most were the parts I saw happening

at YU every day,” says Nate. “I loved being part of youths’ lives outside of Sundays. Walking alongside them felt so natural and I wanted more of that.”

In September 2023, Nate entered full-time youth work with Youth Unlimited.

Now as a youth worker, Nate meets with Keira (as well as many other youth) monthly, and runs a number of programs in North Vancouver—including Keira’s book club. He now has space and time to build into the lives of youth more wholistically, and helps youth like Keira work out their fears and anxieties in a healthy way.

“Being a Christian in a public school can be really challenging,” explains Keira, “but Nate is a role model I can look up to.” As Keira prepares for life after high school, she still wrestles with anxiety, but now with a toolkit of resources. “I still have a hard time recognizing things to be proud of in myself,” she says, “but I am growing in that. People like Nate believed in me, and now I can believe in myself.”

Nate is looking forward to continuing to invest in the many Keira’s in need in his community. “The world needs more Keira’s,” he says. “We don’t yet know what life has in store for her, but no matter what we know she’ll thrive—she’s learning to trust, accept and be Keira.”

Nate and Keira meet for monthly mentorship


From exploring the Oregon Coast to experiencing a first NBA game to sleeping under the stars by a lake-side fire, spring break 2024 was filled with joy, laughter, and a whole lot of wonder.

Across GVYU, life-long memories like these are being made because of people like you. Thank you for making these transformational opportunities possible!




The GVYU team is fresh off of our Western Regional Conference!

It’s an important time each year to gain training from youth work experts, spend time in community and celebrate many accomplishments and milestones.

We learn, grow, grieve, innovate and laugh with other YU/YFC chapters from western Canada, as we prayerfully and faithfully serve in the mission of Youth Unlimited.


In February and March, Lifeteams hosted two “Eyes Wide Open” mission trips. In total, 52 youth from Alberta and Saskatchewan joined the Lifeteams students for a week of ministry.

“The real highlight of both these trips is that the students not only saw God’s heart for the poor but God’s heart for them,” says Rob Snair, Lifeteams director.

To join the next life-changing Lifeteams cohort visit,










“I know there are youth struggling who don’t have a place to go and need someone to unpack their emotional baggage with. Jon was that person for me. I don’t know where I’d be without him.”

– Quote from a mentored youth

I was very blessed to have many caring adults in my life such as teachers, coaches, camp counsellors, and my parents. I always knew there was someone in my corner, no matter what I was going through. My parents played the biggest support role in my life and modelled an expansive love for others by becoming foster parents. Over the years I learned a lot about the foster care system and the overwhelming number of children who needed a loving family. Decades later and still there are way too many youth walking through life on their own.

Enter Youth Unlimited.

We provide a sense of family for vulnerable youth, a place for youth to belong, and caring adults equipped to mentor them.

If you were to boil down what we do into a word it would be MENTORSHIP. What’s unique about our approach to mentorship is the focus on the whole person. We are concerned for each young person’s social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. The way we mentor vulnerable youth has the power to bring about hope and healing in their lives because at the core of it is LOVE. Let me say it another way. At the core of it is the CREATOR who is LOVE.

“We love each other, as a result of his loving us first.”

(1 John 4:19 NLT)

Our team has the highest level of commitment to the flourishing of our youth. In this edition of Connections you will catch a glimpse of the sacredness of the mentorship relationship and the impact it can have on both the mentor and mentee.

Thank you for your commitment to Youth Unlimited. You are part of an amazing team of partners who give, pray and volunteer so young people don’t walk through life alone.

With immense gratitude,




Mark Koop

Executive Director