Positive things can happen when an engaged donor is introduced to two leading youth services agencies in Surrey. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is committed to finding a way, through philanthropy, to facilitate positive outcomes for at-risk youth in Surrey.
For many years, Options Community Services Society and Pacific Community Resources Society have partnered together in Surrey to offer a variety of programs and services for youth who struggle with skill developments and overcoming barriers to independence.
With their broad knowledge and connection to at-risk youth in Surrey, the two agencies met with the donor and SHHS to discuss the gaps and needs facing this vulnerable population. Combining the identified needs with the donor’s desire to provide financial support, the Youth Employment and Education Fund, or YEES Fund, was born. The YEES Fund is an incredible opportunity for youth in Surrey who lack the family support so necessary to help them transition to adult independence. Funding is intended to provide financial support for youth committed to pursuing high school graduation, post-secondary education, or for those who need financial support to enter the job market.
The YEES Fund offers grants for expenses that are not available through conventional funding sources, or in situations where youth just have no one to turn to for help. These funds remove barriers that stand in the way of young people being successful in their goals related to furthering their education or obtaining employment.
Wanda* is a beneficiary of the new YEES Fund. Wanda experienced abuse and neglect as a child and youth. Now in her 20’s, Wanda is attending school where she is training in a first responder field of work. In her chosen career Wanda is required to have a driver’s license. However, she does not have access to a vehicle. nor does she have the funds to pay for professional driver training. Additionally, there is no funding available for this training. Wanda has worked hard to get where she is today. The funding gap for a driver’s license presents a real barrier to future employment – the kind of funding gap the YEES Fund was created to address. Funding support from the YEES fund will allow Wanda to enroll in a driver training program and improve her chances of gaining employment in her chosen field.
For those youth who don’t have the family financial support to complete their education or to buy the basic necessities to undertake a job search, the YEES fund aims to help fill this family role.
Launched in the spring of 2015, the donor is eager to build the YEES Fund into a sustaining source of support for at-risk youth in Surrey. We encourage you to consider adding your support to this incredible fund to help youth transition into adult independence. Please contact Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society to make a donation to this fund.
*The individual’s name has been changed to respect her privacy.