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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The fine for changing lanes or merging over a solid line costs drivers $109 and two penalty points in B.C. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
B.C. drivers caught crossing, merging over solid white lines face hefty fine

Ticket for $109, two penalty points issued under Motor Vehicle Act for crossing solid lines

Saanich council approves of a five-story multi-family development at 300 Gorge Road West and 2900 Tillicum Road. (Rendering via Alan Lowe Architect Inc.)
Saanich approves five-story, mixed-use development for Tillicum area

Plans include 53 residential units, three commercial units at Tillicum Road, Gorge Road West

Coun. Niall Paltiel of Central Saanich has filed a notice of motion directing staff to work with the WSANEC leadership council to develop a program leading toward the “gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names for key collector and arterial roads”(Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich councillor wants road signs to use WSANEC names

Coun. Niall Paltiel proposes ‘gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names’ for key roads

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read