On May 24, participants of the Vital Youth program were invited to the Songhees Wellness Centre to celebrate all they accomplished through this annual initiative.
Each year, dozens of students in school leadership classes or youth advisory committees participate in this innovative program to engage local youth in the world of philanthropy. The Victoria Foundation allocates each school group $2,500 to distribute to charities on southern Vancouver Island.
Using the Foundation’s Victoria’s Vital Signs® report as a tool, the students learn about critical issues in their community, researching potential charities and conducting interviews and on-site visits. Each participant provides input and the team as a whole decides how to allocate the grant funds.
The wrap-up event was a way to celebrate the hard work of these students, thank our donors and program supporters, and to shine a light on the community organizations that students helped support.
Participants received a warm welcome from Songhees Nation Councillor Karen Tunkara and her son before being entertained by the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, led by Lyla Dick. This wonderful performance featured singers and dancers ranging in age from elders to children. ‘Little Hollywood,’ the youngest dancer, is just six years old.
One of the highlights of the night was hearing from the students about their experiences in the program and about their thoughtful approach to grant-making, sharing about how they came to decisions and what experiences most resonated with them.
In total, nine schools from four districts took part: Belmont Secondary, Frances Kelsey Secondary, Oak Bay High, Parkland Secondary, Reynolds Secondary, SMUS, Stelly’s Secondary, Vic High, and, for the first time, Esquimalt High School and it’s First Nations Leadership class.
The Victoria Foundation would like to thank all who took part in and supported the Vital Youth program in 2017, and offers a special thank you to the Songhees Nation and Chief Ron Sam for inviting to hold the event in the Wellness Centre.
Until next year!