Guest Blog: Vital Youth sees students support local charities

Vital Youth has been the only program throughout high school that, without a doubt in my mind, the next year we knew we would join again. It fosters a feeling of passion, of relevance, and of power. As young people living in a world where money can make real change, we often feel quite powerless and useless to help. Often in school, we are taught that it’s good to involve ourselves with the community and to support local charities and organizations. What we learned in Vital Youth this year is how empowering it really is to contribute to these organizations.

Victoria High School’s Vital Youth group has chosen to donate to the Victoria Society for Children with Autism, as well as the Victoria Women’s Transition House. We were searching for smaller charities and organizations that we knew our money would have an impact on. VSCA spoke particularly to those needs and their work resonated really well with our group. While Vancouver has a thriving support community for children with autism, Victoria struggles with few volunteers, underfunding, and lack of awareness from the public. Many of the volunteers at VSCA are parents of children with autism, and often don’t have enough time or energy to volunteer as much as they would like. The $2000 that we granted to Victoria Society for Children with Autism was wholeheartedly decided upon by our team, and We were thrilled for it to be within our means to donate that sum. We know that our money will make an impact to maintaining VSCA’s current programs as they had recently lost funding they had been receiving for the past few years.

The other organization that we chose to donate to was the Victoria Women’s Transition House. In January, our Vital Youth group went and visited the Transition House Community Office and what our group was really impressed with was how many different programs they offered for all age groups. We decided to grant $500 to upgrade the peace center, the room where they facilitate child counselling.

One of our favorite parts of the process was meeting with the organizations and hearing first-hand what challenges they faced and how they were working on tackling those issues. We are really looking forward to hearing what the organizations will be able to accomplish with the grants and we are so excited to start planning for the next year of Vital Youth. Vital Youth inspired us to find places we could help in our community. It helped us connect with people who share our morals and values. It connected Vic High to the community in a positive way and we feel blessed to have been part of this beautiful, empowering opportunity.

Charlie Blecha and Annika Clark are students at Victoria High School