In this section:

Aboriginal Youth Worker at UNYA

Goals / Purpose of Programs

UNYA's Aboriginal Youth Worker works with Native youth who are living in Vancouver's Eastside, with a primary focus on youth ages 11-20 years.  In particular, the Aboriginal Youth Worker (AYW) seeks to engage youth who are not accessing - or may face barriers to accessing - programs and services, and encourage their participation in a wide range of programming available in the community.

The AYW's goal is to provide non-judgmental support and provide Native youth who may be at-risk with healthy alternatives to street involvement.  Most of the Youth Worker’s time is spent working with local schools and community centres to offer programs that are specifically for Native youth. The AYW also works with community workers, social workers, and families to prevent youth from gravitating to the streets and/or dropping out of school. Anyone can refer a Native youth to the Aboriginal Youth Worker.

What Youth Are Saying

"I can speak freely about what is wrong and be heard and be understood.”

"It means a lot to me. She was there when I really needed her. She hooked me up with a Family Worker… I have a Family Worker out where I live know [sic].”

"I can cook as lead cook and I can be a knowledgeable aboriginal youth teacher."

"I have gained confidence. I’m not so shy."

How Youth Can Become Involved

  • Anyone can refer a youth to the Aboriginal Youth Worker
  • Youth and/or their families who are willing to work towards positive personal change to enhance youth's opportunities
  • Youth who want to be connected to resources in the community including recreational and cultural activities, counselors, workshops, drop-in centres, etc.

New programming and special outings happen often. Please check UNYA's main calendar of events, or call the Aboriginal Youth Worker for more information.

UNYA Canoe on Pulling Together Journey 2006

Our Beliefs:

The Aboriginal Youth Worker believes that youth are the experts in their own lives, so we look to them for ways in which we can offer support to help them lead safer and healthier lives. We offer non-judgmental support and unbiased options, including culturally specific alternatives where appropriate. The Aboriginal Youth Worker supports youth’s decisions, using a non-threatening approach in the form of prevention and harm reduction.

It is our belief that youth are our future and that it is the responsibility of the Aboriginal community to care for them and train the leaders of tomorrow – to prove to them that there are alternatives to substance abuse, violence and/or street entrenchment.

Services available through the Aboriginal Youth Worker includes

  • Support, information and referrals for youth and their families
  • Crisis intervention with limited one-on-one support
  • Positive recreational, artistic, and cultural activities
  • Young Women’s Drum Group
  • Referrals to community agencies
  • Advocacy
  • Outreach to community events, schools, and community centres

UNYA's Young Women's Drum Group sharing their songs at a Native Youth Centre celebration.

Program Funders:

The Aboriginal Youth Worker at UNYA is funded by the City of Vancouver, through a Direct Social Service Grant.

Aboriginal Youth Worker Program brochure (pdf)

How to contact:

Aboriginal Youth Worker at UNYA

1618 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5L 1S6

Phone: (604) 254–7732
Fax: (604) 254-7811





Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

1618 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V5L 1S6 Call: (604) 254-7732 Email: