Despite research report, not all Victoria youth feel disconnected from community

Youth Vital Signs report helps focus resources, create awareness: executive director

Youth in Greater Victoria feel less connected to their community and worry about housing, homelessness and education.

That’s according to the results of an annual Victoria Foundation survey.

The Youth Vital Signs report asks people aged 15 to 24 about 13 issues critical to their quality of life, including housing, transportation and the environment.

“We (work with) eight high schools here in the community, giving them $2,500 a year each (to direct to charity),” said Sandra Richardson, executive director. “We ask them to use our reports as a lens to determine where they’d like grants to go, but it can’t benefit the school or themselves,” she said.

Last year, the students of Vic High chose Threshold Housing Society, a transitional housing program for at-risk youth.

The report has been produced for two years as a supplement to the all-encompassing Vital Signs report, and helps to educate donors and create awareness of youth issues, Richardson said

Of the roughly 200 young people surveyed, 75 per cent are female and 25 per cent male. Roughly half of respondents volunteer, live with their parents and have lived in the Capital Region all their lives.

The number of youth who reported feeling “very connected” or “somewhat connected” to their community fell from about 88 per cent in 2011 to 71 per cent this year. Young people who felt “hardly connected” rose from 10 per cent of total respondents to 26 per cent over the same period.

The reasons behind that change are more difficult to pinpoint, Richardson said.

“Maybe there are more students living away from home, but I hope the report provides an opportunity to delve deeper into that.”

Carina Pologer and Fairahn Reid, both Grade 12 students at Vic High, would be considered very connected, as both volunteer with various school fundraisers and committees on top of their studies.

“The people who are involved are really involved. They take on everything that they can,” Pologer said. “The people who aren’t involved, it’s probably a matter of appealing to their interests.”

Reid said it’s difficult to place all youth into standardized categories, noting that even students who aren’t displaying overt leadership qualities engage in activities of interest.

“I know classmates who are passionate about environmental issues, so they take part in the Enbridge pipelines protests, for instance,” she said. “It depends what your situation is. If you’re trying to go to university and need to move out and pay rent, it’s really difficult … to find a job and affordable housing.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society operates Victoria’s only youth emergency shelter, detox and drop-in centre.

About half of the society’s 2,000 annual clients are at-risk youth, while the other half are just looking for somewhere to go, said Pat Griffin, executive director.

“For us, addictions and mental health are pretty equal in concern to homelessness,” he said.

The society’s nightly drop-in centre has seen participants double in the past two years, an increase attributable to “myriad reasons,” he said.

“A lot of that began when the economy started to go in the tank,” he said.

About 33 per cent of youth who were surveyed for the report believe more year-round youth shelters are needed in the Capital Region.

“We’re the only game in town if (youth) need to detox,” Griffin said.

To view the report and learn more about Vital Signs, visit victoriafoundation.bc.ca.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Saanich to recognize Coun. Judy Brownoff for a quarter century on council

Award presentation will take place Monday evening

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read