Philanthropy a vital lesson for high school students in Vital Youth program


From left to right: Reynolds Secondary School Vital Youth representatives Kate Worthy, Sara McKinnon, Leah Baade, former Vital Youth Program Coordinator for the Victoria Foundation, students Katie Gamble, Tessa Fryer, Erinne Paisley. Front, left to right, Victoria Foundation Board Chair Deirdre Roberts and Faye Cawsey of Recreation Integration VictoriaRepresentatives of the Victoria Foundation’s Vital Youth program presented a total of $17,684 in grants to 18 local charities earlier this month at a year-end awards night at the Canadian College of Performing Arts.
The Vital Youth program provides students at seven schools (Belmont Secondary School, Frances Kelsey Secondary School, Oak Bay High School, Reynolds Secondary School, St. Michaels University School, Stelly’s Secondary School, Victoria High School) with hands-on experience in philanthropy and community development.
“We really got to see the essence of philanthropy,” said Erinne Paisley, a grade nine student at Reynolds Secondary School who delivered her team’s presentation speech. “We all feel privileged to be part of the Vital Youth program and know that we will all continue in our own ways to be philanthropists our entire lives.”
Belmont Secondary School Vital Youth representatives from left to right: Kati Waters, Laura Anthony, Emily Seeley and Josie Thompson. Belmont grant recipients from left to right: Braude (full name) and David Hosking of the Disability Resource Centre, Kari Marks from Wild ARC (back row) and Alan Rycroft from Cool Aid. Victoria Foundation Board Chair Deirdre Roberts is second from the rightStudents participate through a leadership class or a youth advisory committee. Each project team is allotted $500 for their school’s endowment fund and $2,500 annually to distribute to federally registered charities on southern Vancouver Island, after using the Victoria’s Vital Signs® report to research community needs.
“The size of the Vital Youth grants is relatively small but the impact of the program is unquestionably large,” said Victoria Foundation Board Chair Deirdre Roberts. “Students gain analytical skills and an appreciation of community leadership that we hope will encourage them to support their community throughout their lives.”

The Vital Youth program is supported by the following fund-holders at the Victoria Foundation:
• Honorary Governors’ Millennium Fund (including personal contributions from a number of the Victoria Foundation’s Honorary Governors)
• Saanich Peninsula Foundation Fund
• Victoria Foundation Vital Youth Program Fund (including contributions from various donors)
The foundation is looking to add a high school for next year’s Vital Youth program. Contact the Victoria Foundation for more information: