Thanks to a new investment of $250,000, more young people transitioning out of government care will be supported through the Strive program to gain the life and work skills they need to become independent.
The Strive program is currently run out of the YWCA WorkBC Career Zone on Granville Street. With this new funding, the program will be expanding to offer services out of the WorkBC Employment Service Centre - North Shore Youth site. Along with this expansion, the Strive program will be extended from a 12- to a 14-week cycle, increasing the focus on job placements, providing mentorship and long-term connections for youth and young adult participants.
Strive was first launched by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the YWCA Metro Vancouver in February 2014. The program offers under-employed former youth-in-care between the ages of 17-24 hands-on guidance in life skills like financial literacy, time management, decision-making and problem solving that are key to living independently.
Participants are supported to develop and pursue life plans with goals for housing, education and employment through:
- Workshops, activities and experiential learning emphasizing life and employability skills.
- Volunteer placement and paid job placement.
- Mentorship, development of a housing strategy, education planning and connections to community resources.
- Ongoing individualized support as needed, including legal support and counselling.
Basic funds are provided to participants to help cover bills and debt that may be hindering them from achieving their goals. Participants 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. After they complete the program, participants receive on-going support and connection through follow-ups and check-ins with program staff.
To date, 83% of Strive participants have accomplished one or more of their self-identified goals - whether it be full-time employment, paid job placements, stable housing or other personal accomplishments.
Interested candidates should contact Rune Mikkelsen at 604 605-4666 or email: email@example.com
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
“We are committed to ensuring that young people have the appropriate supports in place to transition into adulthood and lead healthy and productive lives. Strive has already helped many young people secure housing, education, volunteer positions, and meaningful work. It is an incredibly valuable program and we are currently working with other ministries to see how we might bring the Strive model to communities throughout the province.”
Janet Austin, chief executive officer, YWCA Metro Vancouver -
“We are grateful for the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s generous contribution of $250,000 towards the Strive program and for demonstrating its ongoing support for youth transitioning out of the foster care system.
“Since we piloted the program in February 2014, we have helped 58 youth to develop essential life and employability skills through training, one-on-one career counselling and mentorship. Like many YWCA programs and services, Strive provides participants access to a range of YWCA wrap around services, such as employment programs, health and wellness, legal education and housing support, helping to create stability in their lives so they can begin planning for their futures.”
Shaikh, Strive program participant -
“I heard about Strive from my WorkBC Case Manager. After joining, I started to feel really good and now I am doing great! I was able to talk to the program staff and share my struggles. I felt that they really listened and cared.
“Thanks to Strive, I have received assistance to pay a small phone debt. I have found a full-time job and moved from a shelter to permanent housing. I also signed up for security training because one of my goals is to get a better job. I want to continue building and growing. I want to keep moving up.
“This program has helped me to reach goals and there are people who really want to help. This is a chance to get a better life.”
- The small-group model is used to strengthen relationships with youth and improve accountability, both with program leaders and with fellow participants.
- To date, 58 youth transitioning out of care, young adults recently transitioned out of care, or youth are on a youth agreement have benefitted from the project.
- Over the course of the first three 12-week Strive cycles, 90% of youth completed Phase 1 (the first five weeks) of the program and, after week 12, 60% of the youth were still attending the program on a regular basis. In addition, participants from earlier cycles continue to drop by periodically for help, advice and to share stories.
- All Strive participants have access to WorkBC’s services and additional supports, such as transportation and food, retraining, vocational instruction and neuropsychological assessments.
- 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.
- Tuition waivers are now available at many B.C. post-secondary institutions for eligible students who have been in government 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/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Manager, Advocacy and Public Relations
YWCA Metro Vancouver