DP World’s Community Kinship blog highlights non-profit organizations aiding local communities. This post features the Nanaimo Youth Services Association.
Nanaimo Youth Services Association’s (NYSA) clientele are teens and young adults, but since 1969, NYSA has helped people ages fifteen to thirty in Nanaimo. The organization offers housing for homeless youth and, after expanding their programs, offers wrap-around services for young people who need, job training, and other assistance.
Supportive and Empowering Programs
NYSA’s work programs meet Nanaimo’s youth where they are and helps them reach where they want to be. BladeRunners is one such program.
This hands-on, paid, job training program focuses on construction and customer service. It helps young adults acquire practical job skills and become attractive hiring candidates. Similar new programs are being developed in culinary arts, landscaping, and security-guard services.
All BladeRunners participants receive coaching about money management, writing cover letters and resumes, and job interviews. These new skills increase their chances for success.
Diverse Futures is another program providing practical work experience, including on-the-job experience and support from a job coach, and education-focused training for First Nations participants.
These programs are both free of charge for youth if they fully participate.
Housing: Original and Ongoing Mission
NYSA’s original and still-active mission is offering housing. Waddington and Rowe House are communal arrangements where teenage participants live in a single- or double-residence style accommodations with shared bathrooms and kitchens. The staff at these homes focus their fun and education programs on practical life skills, such as cooking, opening a bank account, and applying for post-secondary admittance.
The rental market can be a confusing place for the inexperienced. NYSA’s RentSmart program has, since 2009, helped participants understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants and budgets for their housing costs and needs. After completing the program, participants receive a certificate legally recognized as a secondary housing reference in British Columbia.
Supporting Families: A Better Future
Although many organizations reduced their programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, NYSA expanded theirs. The Supporting Young Parents and Families program broadened because COVID-19 hit young adults and young families the hardest. It continues to offer young parents (ages fifteen to twenty-nine) formula, diapers, and advice on postpartum challenges, feeding, and how to connect with other young parents.
Connecting for Success
NYSA has multiple governmental, non-profit, and business partners that design and deliver relevant, useful programs to their clients. They work with First Nations elders to create programs that benefit those populations’ youth. The collaboration between NYSA and the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society serves immigrants and refugees. And multiple businesses and professional organizations offer job training, coaching, and work opportunities for NYSA clients.
Get Involved and Make a Difference
NYSA’s services also provide ways that support the organization. Although fundraisers have been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, NYSA looks forward to their start again. Meanwhile, the donation pages on NYSA’s website provide financial support for clients where donors can specify money for housewares and cleaning supplies that stock a young adult’s new home or for grocery and scholarship funds. And material donations, such as new or gently used clothing and furniture, diapers, wipes, and formula, support young families.
Organizations and businesses can make a big difference when they support existing job-training programs or when they work with NYSA to create new opportunities. Offering opportunities such as job skills to promising young adults who are willing to work hard, learn, and contribute to their communities is one of the most meaningful things a business and corporate community member can provide.