FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Youth Pave the Way to Create Opportunities in Esquimalt and Hillside-Quadra Communities

VICTORIA, BC – BC Youth Week (May 1-7) marks a celebration of the accomplishments of young people. United Way and Coast Capital Saving’s Youth in Action initiative is showcasing the vision of 23 individuals making positive changes in Esquimalt and Hillside-Quadra neighbourhoods.

Thanks to the input and hard work over the past three years Youth in Action participants helped shape 10 new projects that will benefit the community now and long into the future. These projects are part of United Way’s investment of $4.7 Million which will go out into the community in 2015 and support over 70 non-profit agencies and 100 social service programs.

Together the youth clocked nearly 1,000 hours, hosted 65 events or meetings and gathered feedback from 500 youth and 450 adults on what makes a neighbourhood a great place to live and what services are required to enhance it.

Two projects have emerged as focal points of the Youth in Action efforts. The Quadra Village Community Centre is undertaking a teen centre enhancement project that will provide equipment and programming to build food preparation skills, customer service training and pre-employment experiences such as food sales at local events. A youth-friendly creative arts space to be used for projects, programs and events, including a gallery space for displaying and hosting exhibits will be created at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.

In addition there are eight more projects ranging from a youth digital space project to an outdoor mural art project with opportunities across all age groups for participation.

“As a result of Youth in Action the community might see youth more as members of society. They might have a new respect and trust for what youth can do and maybe it gives people a bit of hope that youth are interested in the community. If they’re doing this now imagine what it will be like in the future,” Sarah Khan, Youth in Action member from Hillside-Quadra.

Through this initiative partnerships were forged with Esquimalt Recreation Centre, Quadra Village Community Centre, City of Victoria including Crystal Pool, Greater Victoria Public Library, Ecole Quadra School, Community Social Planning Council, Esquimalt Neighbourhood House and Reel Youth to execute the program deliverables.

“Programs like Youth in Action, that are designed for youth, by youth, are needed more than ever as it gives them the opportunity to grow into the leaders of tomorrow,” says Maureen Young, Senior Manager, Community Partnerships & Investment at Coast Capital Savings. “We’re inspired by the untapped potential that youth hold, and we’re committed to building a richer future for them in our communities with the help of initiatives like Youth in Action.”

“I’d like to thank Coast Capital Savings for their partnership in making Youth in Action possible. The impact of your generosity will be felt for years to come,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO at United Way. “To all our Youth in Action participants I applaud you for a job well done. Each of you helped strengthen our neighbourhoods and in turn supported United Way’s mission to improve lives and build a strong community for everyone.”

For more information about Youth in Action and the community projects relating to this initiative, please visit uwgv.ca and/or view this video.

-30-

For more information, please contact:

Heather Skydt
Director, Marketing and Communications
United Way
Work: (250) 984-2269
Email: heather@uwgv.ca

Patricia Jelinski, CEO
United Way
Work: (250) 220-7364
Cell: (250) 217-8698
Email: patricia.jelinski@uwgv.ca

BACKGROUND: United Way is a year-round fundraiser and community funder working to address the immediate needs of our most vulnerable citizens, while also creating long-term strategies to target the root causes of social issues. We have a strong history in Greater Victoria – over 78 years and $149 million dollars raised. As the region’s largest non-government funder, we are one of the few organizations to provide multi-year funding to ensure we support a strong and stable network of services. We work collaboratively, in a “united way” bringing business, labour, government, the non-profit sector and donors together to build a strong and caring community.