Victoria Youth Empowerment Society
Our Impact Why We Exist
"YES has helped me a lot. The workers always helped support me while I was living on the streets. If YES wasn't around, I don't know where I would be"
YES is an innovative organization that has been providing diverse programs and services that respond to the needs of Victoria's at-risk and/or homeless youth and their families for over 20 years. We recognize that youth in Victoria can face many barriers to wellness. Youth may be pushed out of the home and into risky situations by family conflict, abuse, poverty, or substandard/lack of housing. Others may be pulled out by substance abuse, mental illness, sexual exploitation or an unhealthy relationship. Whatever the reason, YES strives to offer a warm, safe and accepting atmosphere staffed by dedicated and skilled professionals and volunteers committed to empowering youth to make positive choices in their lives and the critical transition from youth to adulthood a successful one.
Last year we assisted:
- 750 youth to obtain basic needs, including food, clothing, shelter, laundry and showers
- 350 youth to access addiction and mental health services
- 200 youth to reconnect or connect to educational and school services
- 150 youth to obtain approproiate housing
- 100 youth to obtain employment and/or pre-employment training
- 300 youth to access our emergency shelter (Kiwanis Emergency Youth Shelter)
- 150 youth to complete our Specialized Youth Detox program
- 200 youth and families to access our family counselling and mediation program
Our Story What We Do
Since 1992, our vision has been to provide a continuum of care that empowers positive choices in the lives of at-risk youth by providing accessible, innovative and proactive programs.
We strive to meet the needs of youth by working in partnership with families and the community to deliver a safe and supportive environment for at–risk youth. We do this by being resourceful and meeting community standards as demonstrated through the experience and professionalism of our staff and volunteers.
We endeavour to be recognized by the community as valuable resource for youth and their families by offering:
- A flexible drop-in component available beyond the regular business and counsellors who are available without appointments.
- An accessible, welcoming, non-judgmental environment which will encourage youth with mistrust and anxiety issues to access services.
- Access to immediate needs including shelter, addictions support, food and clothing
- Specialized support for youth aging out of government care
- Life Skills and job training services
- Early intervention services such as family counselling and mediation and outreach support
Our Programs How We Do It
Life skills are the skills that many of us take for granted, such as how to grocery shop, manage money, access health care, feel confident and maintain a network of friends and families. The Life Skills Program at Victoria Youth Empowerment Society recognizes that many young people in our community have not had the opportunity to learn these vital skills due to challenging life circumstances such as homelessness, child welfare involvement, family breakdown or struggles with mental health and/or addictions. Without the skills necessary to stay housed and healthy, many youth find it difficult to manage basic life needs, lose their housing, and become further disengaged from our community. Through individual and group work in a safe and supportive environment, youth ages 13 to 19 are able to acquire the skills and confidence they need to live an independent and empowered life. The program accepts referrals from community professionals, parents, and importantly the youth themselves.
“Life Skills will support you in helping yourself. They opened doors and helped me gain confidence for sure!” - former client
What You Can Do
Without the support and generosity of our community it would not be possible for us to continue to meet the growing demands of our clients. By making a monthly or planned gift you will be helping YES to continue to offer the programs, services and supports for youth and their families that will facilitate long-term success.
To learn about other ways to give, such as donations of items and/or volunteering, please contact us!