This year (the 2013/14 school year) marked the 10th anniversary of Vital Youth, a program that provides high school students with hands-on experience in philanthropy and community development. Introduced in 2003, it was originally called Youth in Philanthropy, and was modelled after a similar program at the Winnipeg Foundation. In the years since the program began, we now support the Vital Youth program in eight high schools around the Capital Region: Belmont Secondary, Frances Kelsey Secondary, Oak Bay High, St. Michaels University School, Parkland Secondary, Stelly’s Secondary, Reynolds Secondary, and Victoria High.
How Vital Youth works
The Victoria Foundation gives each participating school $2,500 to grant to local charitable organizations. An additional $500 is put into an endowment fund held in each school’s name with the hope that these funds will allow the program to run far into the future.
At each school, the students work together as a group to determine their areas of interest. Using Victoria’s Vital Signs in their research, students identify some of the challenges and needs in our community. They do research, which often includes visiting the organizations on-site, or having representatives from those charities visit them at school. The real challenge comes when the students must decide which organizations they’d like to fund, and how they’d like to divide the $2,500.
Vital Youth milestones
Since beginning the Vital Youth program 10 years ago, the eight endowment funds combined have grown to just over $40,700.
Over the life of the program, students have granted $170,134 to 108 different charities in our community.
2013/14 Vital Youth grants
|Belmont Secondary||BC Guide Dogs||$1,000||Area of greatest need|
|Belmont Secondary||Help Fill A Dream Foundatoin||$!,500||Area of greatest need|
|Frances Kelsey Secondary||Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association||$1,000||Weighted vests with removable weights|
|Frances Kelsey Secondary||Somenos House (Cowichan Women Against Violence Society||$1,000||Toys for teenagers (such as X-Box or Wii games) and furniture at Somenos House|
|Frances Kelsey Secondary||BikeWorks (Canadian Mental Health Association Branch 992)||$500||T-shirts for employees and art supplies at BikeWorks|
|Oak Bay High||MS Society of Canada – South Vancouver Island Chapter||$2,500||Area of greatest need|
|Parkland Secondary||Rest Haven Lodge (Adventist Health Care Home Society)||$1,250||Music Therapy|
|Parkland Secondary||Victoria READ Society||$1,250||Tuition|
|Stelly's Secondary||Growing Young Farmers Society||$2,500||Helping fund the cost of creating, developing and sustaining "Food-Growing Gardens" on school properties and/or within walking distance of schools on the Saanich Peninsula|
|St. Michaels University School||Victoria Dandelion Society||$1,250||Area of greatest need|
|St. Michaels University School||Victoria Rainbow Kitchen Society||$1,250||Area of greatest need|
|Reynolds Secondary||OCTA Collective Society||$2,500||
$1,250 for artsREACH for the area of greatest need, and $1,250 for the 6-week After-School Film Program
|Victoria High||Victoria Youth Clinic (James Bay Health & Community Services Society)||$2,500||Youth mental health needs at the Victoria Youth Clinic|
Support for Vital Youth
We gratefully acknowledge the support of our generous donors and program sponsors who make Vital Youth possible. Although some choose to remain anonymous, others do not. We thank the Victoria Foundation's Honorary Governors, the Saanich Peninsula Foundation for their support of the program at Stelly's Secondary School, Mrs. Leora Nugent for her support of Parkland Secondary, and Mr. and Mrs. Naz and Yasmine Rayani for their sponsorship of the program at Victoria High School.