As a teenager, Georgia’s mental state was anything but calm. Having grown up around others with signficant anxiety, depression, and ADHD, Georgia compares her unending feeling of anxiety to a headless chicken running around, affecting her sense of logic. Youth Unlimited’s Andrew Chong, a calm presence in turbulent times, has been a steady and supportive influence for her. Thanks in part to Andrew’s help, Georgia has been able to not only cope with her anxiety and mental health struggles but to see the gift in overcoming challenges.

In high school, Georgia suffered multiple concussions, including a major double concussion in grade eleven. That breaking point had a profound impact on Georgia’s mental health.

           “Concussions often cause and exacerbate mental health issues,” says Georgia. Danish scientists found that head injuries can increase the risk of developing certain mental disorders by up to 439%.

After the double concussion, Georgia spent four months in her bedroom, recovering in the dark and missing much of grade eleven. During that time, Georgia became clinically depressed and found it very difficult to return to school. While she persevered, an additional concussion in grade twelve occurred, plummeting Georgia to rock bottom.



        “There were days when I would just randomly burst into tears during class,” says Georgia. “I just couldn’t be there because my anxiety was so crippling and my depression so intense.”
        It was not lost on Georgia that her brain injury came at a crucial time when grades mattered and focus was needed. Her life and future had been forever changed, and she needed tangible help, guidance and compassionate support.

Georgia (middle), on a YU zipline adventure


Georgia discovered a school program designed for students who suffer from social, emotional, or behavioral issues that interfere with or hinder their academics. A teacher in the program introduced Georgia to Youth Unlimited’s North Shore Area Director, Andrew Chong, who has been running programs and offering youth work at Georgia’s school for six years.
        YU’s North Shore team is known for their signature mobile drop-in center, a 1982 Winnebago Brave RV that can be found on site during lunchtime and after school.

        “It was clear he genuinely wanted to get to know me,” says Georgia. “We had a lot of really good conversations about a lot of things. He allowed me to see things in a new light and wasn’t afraid to disagree with me.”

Fast-forward three years, and Andrew has been a constant in Georgia’s life. Since they first connected, the pair meet up once every two weeks, and share a special bond. Georgia dog-sits Andrew’s pups on occasion and she has even quilted a quilt for Andrew’s new baby. “I was the first youth he told about his wife’s pregnancy,” she says, beaming.
        Having Andrew as a mentor and friend to lean on has helped Georgia feel more stable. “Andrew has been a rock through all the struggles I’ve faced,” she says. “He is my emotional water wings.”

Georgia now has a new perspective on her mental health challenges. In her opinion, “having anxiety is like having X-ray glasses. You see things you


wouldn’t be able to see without it. I feel like, because of the deep pain I experienced, I can appreciate so many beautiful things in life.”

        “I was having coffee with one of Georgia’s peers the other day, and she described Georgia as ‘the purest form of good — like a shining light,'” says Andrew. “I love that description, and maybe Georgia doesn’t always see herself that way, but I get to be there to try to remind her of how valuable she is.”

This September, Georgia took a big step and moved to Toronto to start a nursing program. She plans to complete a Master of Nursing and possibly apply for medical school in the future. “All of it just screams stress,” laughs Georgia. But knowing how much she’s already overcome and that Andrew is just a phone call away, Georgia is jumping into this next chapter with open arms.
        “It does relieve stress knowing he’s there if I ever need him,” she says, “And since I’ve known him, he’s always been there when I’ve needed support.”
        With her resilience and vision, Georgia hopes she can utilize her superpowers to help others dealing with trauma and stress.
        Georgia, never lost for creative metaphors, says Andrew “is a whale. A beautiful soul who radiates calm, steadiness, forgiveness, openness, reliability, generosity and supportive energy.”

Georgia and Andrew at The Shipyards



Thanks to the generosity of our golfers and sponsors, this year’s fall golf tournament raised a record-breaking $133,000 to support GVYU’s work with vulnerable youth. A special thanks to our lead sponsor, Steelhead Business Products, who have been making outstanding copiers with exceptional service and value for decades.




Transform the lives of youth and their families this Christmas. The impact will be felt for years to come. GVYU has launched its first official Christmas Catalog, both online and in print, where you can find gifts large or small. For those making contributions on behalf of others, you will be mailed a Christmas card that you can personalize for your loved one. We are so thankful for your generosity! To shop visit:


GVYU staff and supporters once again took part in Ride for Refuge, this year not just cycling, but also walking, running and our Jesters team even danced! So far $8,099 has been raised.


Sleep outside or donate in support of a sleeper. This uncomfortable but surprisingly fun and enriching experience allows all of us to not only stand in solidarity with youth who have experienced homelessness or other vulnerabilities, but to also make a tangible difference. A huge thank you to our lead sponsor, Cedar Coast, for helping make this event possible! To register, donate or learn more:











Once a year, we celebrate our staff who have been serving at Youth Unlimited for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30+ years. We have many current staff who have reached each of these markers. Now get this: one of our team members has been serving young people for 40 years — I kid you not. His name is Brian Brown, a truly wonderful human being. Clearly, this isn’t just a job or a stepping stone to a loftier career; serving youth at YU is a God-given passion.

Consistency is king!

When it comes to youth work, the importance of showing up on a consistent basis should not be understated. Faithfully being present, day after day, week after week, and year after year is essential for building trust. Over time, our youth begin to open up about the challenges they face, the trauma they have experienced and the people who have let them down. Why? Because by consistently showing up over and over and over again, we show our youth that they are loved and valued and, well…worth having someone be there for them. We can’t magically fix all their problems, but what we can do is keep showing up, even when no one else will.

Who showed up for you?

I would guess that many of you had a caring adult in your life, maybe a mom or dad, aunt or uncle, high school teacher or youth group leader who was there for you when needed. (*Side note: if they are still around, send them a message of gratitude for helping you become the person you are today.) We all need a caring adult who is committed to being there for us like our staff have been doing for decades. They continue to show up for youth like Georgia, a brilliant young person dealing with significant mental health challenges. Andrew is a great example of God’s love for Georgia, as real love is delivered with genuine consistency.

        “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness!” – Lamentations 3:22

Thank you for being a consistent support of all we do at YU. Your faithful prayer and financial giving sustains us and makes it possible for us to show up in tangible ways for thousands of youth.

With deep gratitude,

Mark Koop




Executive Director