A new $250,000, 18-month pilot program is being launched by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the YWCA Metro Vancouver to help youth who are transitioning out of government care to gain the life and work skills they need to become independent.
Up to 10 youth per cycle will receive hands-on guidance in life skills like financial literacy, time management, decision-making and problem solving that are key to living independently. The Strive pilot will operate six times - for 12 week periods - over the next 18 months.
The first program starts Feb. 24, 2014. To be eligible, participants will be:
- 17-24 years old
- Transitioned or transitioning out of care
- Out of school
- Able to attend a full-time program
- And, needing support to move ahead.
Basic funds will be provided to participants to cover bills and debt that may be hindering the youth from achieving their goals. Youth can also access the YWCA's Health and Fitness Centre where they will receive health and wellness planning and can participate in various exercise classes and activities.
During the first four weeks of the program, participants will attend the YWCA Career Zone Youth Centre to participate in workshops and activities that help them develop their employability and life skills, including a life plan with goals for housing, education and employment.
During the next eight weeks, the youth will receive personalized coaching and staff support as they work toward the goals in their life plan. This might include work placements and experience, short-term training opportunities, connections to resources, mentorship, legal support and counselling.
The final phase ensures ongoing support and connection for the young people through follow-ups and check-ins with program staff.
Interested candidates should contact Rune Mikkelsen at 604 605-4666 or email: email@example.com
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
"We want youth in and from care to get the best possible start in life. The Strive project offers these young people an opportunity to transition to adulthood armed with the tools, knowledge and support they need to be successful. It is an excellent complement to other programs in place such as Agreements with Young Adults, the Youth Educational Assistance Fund, tuition waivers and post-secondary financial supports from Coast Capital Savings Credit Union."
Janet Austin, CEO of the YWCA Metro Vancouver -
"Through frontline experience with YWCA youth programs, we know that youth transitioning from care face significant challenges that leave them at risk of unemployment, poverty and homelessness. Strive is a practical and innovative program that will emphasize life and employability skills, access to health and fitness and long-term mentorship. We look forward to partnering with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to deliver this much-needed support."
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C. Representative for Children and Youth -
"The YWCA Metro Vancouver is showing strong leadership in working with MCFD to help make the transition to adulthood a more resilient one for young people leaving care. These youth are among the most vulnerable in our province and anything that can be done to ease their transition is a positive."
Thomas Murtland, admissions counsellor at Trinity Western University and former youth in care -
"As a former youth in care, I know first-hand the difference programs like Strive can make in a person's life. Through an Agreement with Young Adults, I was able to pursue my dream of a university education. Now, through Strive, other young people like me will have the chance to build their skills and reach their full potential."
- The small-group model will be used to strengthen relationships with the youth and improve accountability, both with program leaders and with fellow participants.
- Approximately 48-60 youth transitioning out of care, young adults recently transitioned out of care, or youth who have a youth agreement will benefit from the project.
- Eligible participants will have access to WorkBC's employment services.
- Additional supports, such as transportation and food, retraining, vocational instruction and neuropsychological assessments will also be available.
- The Ministry of Children and Family Development is investing $250,000 to the initiative and the YWCA will be donating in kind through staffing and facilities access.
- Participants may also be able to access the Youth Educational Assistance Fund (YEAF) which supports post-secondary education and training for former youth in care through bursaries of $5,500 per educational year, up to a maximum of four times, to assist with tuition, books and fees.
- Since the fund was created in 2002, the ministry has contributed $10.3 million to the program and more than 1,350 youth have received YEAF bursaries.
- Agreements with Young Adults provide financial assistance to youth formerly in care or on a Youth Agreement to upgrade their education or take part in a rehabilitative program.
- Nearly 1,700 young adults have benefited from Agreements with Young Adults since the program was established in 2008.
- On Jan. 22, 2014, Coast Capital Savings committed $200,000 to help former youth in care access post-secondary education.
- In September 2013, Vancouver Island University (VIU) began running a pilot project to waive tuition for eligible students who have been in care.
Agreements with Young Adults: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/youth/aya.htm
Youth Education Assistance Fund: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/yeaf/index.htm
MCFD youth programs and services: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/youth/index.htm
YWCA Metro Vancouver: www.ywcavan.org/content/YOUTH/115
Coast Capital Savings has initiated a post-secondary fund for former youth in care: www.coastcapitalsavings.com/About_Coast_Capital_Savings/Press_Advertising/News_Releases/Jan22,2014/
VIU Tuition Waiver Program to Support Youth in Care: www.viu.ca/waiver/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Manager, Advocacy and Public Relations
YWCA Metro Vancouver