United Way’s Youth In Action program will engage young people in community building

Loss of activities over the past 18 months have resulted in more mental health challenges in youth

Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ territories | October 13, 2021: To empower young people to make their community a better place to live, United Way Southern Vancouver Island (UWSVI) is relaunching its youth community leadership program, Youth In Action.

Youth In Action provides $500 grants to people aged 11 to 16 living in the Sooke-Westshore region who want to make a positive change in their schools and communities. Youth are encouraged to submit projects aimed at either improving youth well-being or addressing a local issue.

“COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on youth,” said Scott Stinson, Superintendent of Sooke School District. “The loss of activities along with restricted social interactions with friends can be terribly challenging for a young person at this time.”

Youth In Action is part of United Way’s Healthy Schools Healthy People initiative and is comprised of over 30 local organizations working together to identify key issues facing Westshore families.

“The lingering effects of COVID-19 will continue to impact the lives of young people for the foreseeable future,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Southern Vancouver Island. “Through the Youth In Action program, young people can access grants to improve their own community, creating a positive outlet for youth looking to get involved.”

In February 2021, research from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) found that 70.2 per cent of school-aged children (six to 18 years old) reported deterioration in at least one domain of mental health (depression, anxiety, irritability, attention span, hyperactivity, or obsessions/compulsions).

Furthermore, 6 in 10 Canadian youth aged 15-17 reported that their mental health in 2020 was worse than it was prior to the pandemic.

Issues such as bullying, discrimination, family poverty, substance use, self-harm, and anxiety – magnified at times by the pandemic – are also negatively affecting young people’s health and well-being.

The deadline for grant application is Friday, December 3, 2021. For more information about the grant and how to apply, please visit: https://uwsvi.ca/youthinaction/

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ABOUT UNITED WAY SOUTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND 

United Way Southern Vancouver Island (formerly United Way Greater Victoria) is a trusted leader, influencer and catalyst for change. United, we accelerate change to improve the lives of our neighbours who need it most, making our local community stronger. We believe everyone in the Greater Victoria region, which includes 13 municipalities and 11 First Nations and the Southern Gulf Islands should have the opportunity to reach their potential. Our priorities are focused on assisting isolated seniors; families in need; diversity, equity and inclusion; and individuals struggling with mental health challenges and/or addictions. Last fiscal year, United Way raised $6.2 million thanks to over 7,000 donors and 200 workplaces opening their offices to run employee giving programs. Through our community partnerships, over 125,000 people on Southern Vancouver Island received support. Show your local love today by making a gift to United Way at www.uwsvi.ca

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