Native Youth Centre
For more information, plans and concept sketches, visit www.nativeyouthcentre.ca.
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The Urban Native Youth Association is embarking on a journey to create a Native Youth Centre in Vancouver. We envision a neighbourhood house-like facility that will help fulfill the social, educational, spiritual, recreational, and artistic needs of the urban Native youth community. In developing the centre, UNYA will continue moving in a direction that focuses on prevention, fun, and personal development versus that of a crisis intervention model. We want to show youth that they are cared for, that they have the right to a safe and healthy environment, and that they can access resources, programs and services that will build their confidence, leadership and spirit of independence. Native youth themselves will be directly involved in shaping their centre.
UNYA acknowledges and values its many community partners. We will continue to build on the partnerships that we currently have with service providers throughout Vancouver. We will work to include programs and/or services that are developed through innovative partnerships that focus on building long-term relationships that meet the needs of Native youth.
The new youth centre will allow UNYA to consolidate many of its existing programs and services into one accessible site. It will also provide opportunities to enhance and create partnerships in the community by providing much-needed facilities in the form of meeting rooms, program rooms, a theatre, a community kitchen, library, a computer lab and a gymnasium. The centre will be unique landmark in not only the East Vancouver area, but in the Lower Mainland.
Ideally, the Centre will be located in Vancouver’s Eastside. Many of the youth that UNYA staff have come into contact with have stated that they do not want to, and often cannot afford to travel all over the city to access services. The East Vancouver area is where most Vancouver Native youth live and/or congregate, it is easily accessible by transit, and it is a prime location to help prevent Native youth from gravitating downtown.
We have begun to lay some of the groundwork needed to successfully raise enough capital to build the new youth centre, but we do not yet have a clear idea as to when our dream may become a reality. We do know that once money has been secured, it will take up to two years to fully design and build the centre. The Urban Native Youth Association was founded in 1988, manages over 20 programs, employs almost 100 full-time, part-time, and relief staff, works with 165 volunteers, and has 265 community partners. Our nine-member board of directors includes four youth.