Vital Youth 2013

This week we celebrated the close of another successful year of our Vital Youth program. With the addition of an eighth school, the Vital Youth grants this year total $20,000 – 20 individual grants to 18 different local charitable organizations.

Vital Youth 2013

Here’s how the program works. The Victoria Foundation gives each participating school $2,500 to grant, plus an additional $500 is put into an endowment fund held in each school’s name. Since beginning the Vital Youth program 10 years ago, the schools' endowment funds combined have grown to nearly $40,000. And over the life of the program, students have made grants totalling $152,500 to charities in our community!

At each of the eight schools, the students work together as a group to determine their areas of interest. Using both the Victoria’s Vital Signs® and the Youth Vital Signs reports in their research, students identify some of the challenges and needs in our community. They conduct research which often includes visiting the organizations on-site or having representatives visit them at school. The real challenge comes when the students have to decide which organizations they’d like to fund, and how they’d like to divide the $2,500!

The Vital Youth program wouldn’t be possible without the support of our generous donors and program sponsors year after year. The Saanich Peninsula Foundation supports Stelly’s Secondary School, and we’re grateful for the ongoing support of the Victoria Foundation Honorary Governors. This year, we were able to invite Parkland Secondary to participate in Vital Youth, with thanks to Leora Nugent (pictured below) for her sponsorship of the program.

Parkland students with Vital Youth sponsor, Leora Nugent

Victoria High students and Threshold Housing SocietyThis year, there was a significant focus by all schools on charities that support youth and youth programming. One organization whose name came up several times is the Threshold Housing Society. The Society offers safe, supportive, transitional housing for at-risk youth. It also helps residents to enhance life skills and develop self-sufficiency, and works to prevent homelessness. We were fortunate to have Executive Director, Mark Muldoon in attendance, and have Rebecca Scott from Holly House talk more about the work that they do.

The evening wasn’t all serious business, and we were entertained by two graduating students from the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA). For the past 15 years, the CCPA has attracted students from across Canada for its programs that prepare young Canadians for careers in the performing arts. Graduates of this program have performed in London’s West End and in major productions across our country and around the world.

          CCPA performs!          CCPA Performs!

We also had a presentation from a Leadership Victoria team that you may have seen in the news lately. Guerrilla Blackboards took inspiration from Victoria’s Youth Vital Signs and ventured out into the community to ask youth what really matters to them. They wrapped up their project this month with a display of all of their blackboards at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and we hope to see outcomes of this project as we move into another year of Vital Signs. Team members Natasha Ewing, Jen Harrison and Dianne McKerrell joined us with not only a presentation about the project, but also a blackboard where our Vital Youth participants could jot down their thoughts.

Guerrilla Blackboards

A sincere thank you to everyone who participated in the evening, and to all of the students who put so much time and thoughtful effort into their Vital Youth grants this year.

To see all of the event photos visit our album on Flickr. Thank you to Gregg Eligh for his time and photographic talents! Be sure to follow us on social media for regular updates about our programs and services.


School Grantee Project Grant
Belmont Help Fill A Dream Foundation Area of greatest need $1000
Belmont Foundation House – Vancouver Island Addiction Recovery Society Area of greatest need $1000
Belmont BC SPCA – Wild Arc Area of greatest need $500
Frances Kelsey Cowichan Community Land Trust Society Collection nets and wetsuits for student field trips $500
Frances Kelsey Cowichan Valley Hospice Society Put toward youth-specific needs $400
Frances Kelsey Cowichan Women Against Violence Society – Somenos Transition House Child and baby car seats $600
Frances Kelsey Canadian Mental Health Association, Cowichan Valley Branch 992 – Bikeworks Bike parts, art supplies and food for "special day" $600
Frances Kelsey Cowichan Search and Rescue Society Purchase member jackets for new members $400
Oak Bay Threshold Housing Society Area of greatest need $2500
Parkland Youth Empowerment Society Area of greatest need $1250
Parkland Threshold Housing Society – SHY Program Area of greatest need $1250
Reynolds Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria $1250 towards Rhythm Nations: Youth Exploration of Immigration, and $1250 towards Through the Lens: Immigrant Youth Perspectives $2500
Stelly's The Power of Hope Society SAME: a workshop addressing homophobia and increasing safety around issues of gender and sexuality in SD63 $2500
St. Michaels Mustard Seed Area of greatest need $500
St. Michaels Beacon Community Services – Out of the Rain Youth Shelter Area of greatest need $1000
St. Michaels Dandelion Society Area of greatest need $1000
Victoria High Western Canada Wilderness Committee Area of greatest need in Victoria $625
Victoria High OCTA Collective Society Area of greatest need $625
Victoria High Umbrella Society Area of greatest need $625
Victoria High Threshold Housing Society Area of greatest need $625