For Langley’s Jon Pue, local high schools are second homes. An in-school youth worker (and YU Area Director), who also supports additional school programming during the summer, school staff trust Jon as someone who can help students experiencing challenges — students like Ken.

Jon met Ken during a summer program designed to ease the transition from middle to high school, where the jump to a 2,200-student high school, like Ken’s, can be anxiety-inducing and overwhelming. The program introduces students to support staff and resources, with some summer fun mixed in.

       For Ken, this program was pivotal. “Change has always made me nervous, and has never been good for me,” Ken explains. His transition was compounded by his ADHD. “It affects how I act,” says Ken. “When I’m not on medication, I look for attention or reactions. I see things as funny, even if I’m annoying people.” Ken also experienced adverse side effects as he trialed different medications. “It had a huge effect on my mental health,” says Ken. “I was really struggling.”
       In the midst of these storms, Jon became a calming presence for Ken. “Jon was really helpful,” he says, “and we just clicked. I knew I could trust him.” When Ken entered high school, the mentorship pair connected multiple times a week.



Ken’s transition to high school life was rocky. “Ken would say things out of genuine curiosity,” says Jon, “but it would come out the wrong way.” These were some of the most difficult moments Ken experienced. “My body language and my verbal language were different. I could sound frustrated or angry, but I was trying to be nice.”
       When peers or teachers felt frustrated, or when Ken’s emotions flared, Jon served as his advocate. “People didn’t always understand him, so I would translate,” Jon explains. “I’d tell them, ‘Here’s what you can watch out for to make Ken more comfortable.’ His heart didn’t line up with his trigger responses, so communicating that piece was the heart of it all.”

Jon (left) & Ken at the beginning of their mentorship journey


Program night at “The Hangar” where Ken attended.

       Jon also became a safe place for Ken to vent, where his true intentions could be heard. “Jon was always someone I could talk to,” Ken recalls. “I didn’t have a lot of those people.”

Over time things improved. Jon advocated for Ken in meetings with faculty set to help Ken understand and be understood. Meanwhile, consistent mentorship time helped Ken process his emotions and triggers. Making friends became easier. Ken had breakthrough conversations, softening previously tense relationships. Ken also found a medication that fit and his confidence in communication and focus grew.

       In grade 11, the investment from others in Ken, and Ken in himself, gave him the confidence to set a career trajectory. “I’ve always learned with my hands, so I walked into the careers office and asked ‘What can I do?'” There, Ken learned about a plumbing apprenticeship program, where he became a star pupil. Ken’s completion of the program in grade 12 came as the fulfillment of five years of hard work for both Jon and Ken. And Jon’s graduation gift for Ken? A plumber’s wrench.


Four months after graduation, Ken is employed full-time with his first-year plumber’s ticket, and he’s enjoying a new, less stressful phase of life. He remains on his medication and wants people to know how important it’s been for him. “I’m a big advocate for my medication. I couldn’t have my job without it. It’s a big help and I want other kids with ADHD to know that too.”

       Jon and Ken remain in close contact. “I’m proud of who he is, and I’m proud of who he’s becoming,” says Jon. “He’s had more challenges than most but he’s worked hard to get through them. He’s caring and thinks of others. He’s motivated. He’s a man now!”

       Ken says he’ll never forget Jon’s impact on his teenage years. “I know that there are a lot of people who are struggling, or who don’t have a place to go, who just need a couple minutes or hours to unpack our emotional baggage,” he says. “Jon was that person for me. I don’t know where I’d be without him.”

Jon (left) & Ken at Ken’s high school graduation




Sign up now for the best, worst sleep of your year with YUnite Outside. On Friday, November 17, join YU and hundreds of other people as we sleep outside at Pacific Academy School in Surrey (just off hwy #1). We’re sleeping out on behalf of vulnerable youth, and to make a tangible difference. It may or may not change your life — but it will definitely change someone else’s.
Visit to register or donate




Give love to youth and families this Christmas! Partner to give a hearty hamper to those who desperately need extra tangible support and encouragement this year. Each hamper lovingly provides weeks-worth of groceries and nourishment, as well as a Christmas present for the youth — and all done with a heart-warming touch.
Sign up now to either sponsor a hamper with funds, or to build one yourself. More info or to sign-up:


At #HackVan23 this September, a group of computer developers volunteered their time and skill to work around the clock for 48 hours, creating a much-needed app to track the statistics and progress of GVYU’s 40+ programs. We are so thankful!


Our first Westcoast Chill was a fabulous event! We loved connecting with so many of you and hope to see you there next June!











“Sure, go for it!”

The setting was an outdoor archery range at a summer camp near Winnipeg. A 13 year old boy was trying desperately to hit a huge target. I watched as arrow after arrow fell to the ground. Meanwhile, a gopher was darting back and forth beyond the range. The young camper asked if he could try and shoot it. Having observed numerous feeble attempts at hitting a much bigger, stationary target, I didn’t hesitate to respond with “Sure, go for it!”

What are the odds… right?

With a crowd of campers watching, the now emboldened youngster became hyper focused, steadied his arms, drew back his bow, took aim and released the arrow. With great surprise, I watched as the arrow sliced through the air with tremendous speed, meeting the unsuspecting gopher in full flight.

What!? How??

Later that evening, as I reflected back on the day, I pondered obvious questions like, how could this have been prevented? In my time of reflection I was also reminded to never doubt the capabilities of our youth.

This unconventional illustration still serves to remind me today, that against all odds, with a community of Youth Unlimited support (this includes you), our youth are able to rise above some seemingly impossible obstacles. How?

Together, in community, and empowered by the love of Jesus, we show up and love. It’s that simple and it makes all the difference for our youth.

“…let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.” — 1 John 3:18 (MSG)

Thank you for giving and praying to make it possible for us to help youth navigate life’s challenges and sometimes the unexpected.

With immense gratitude,




Mark Koop

Executive Director