CRUW Program Announces Its Expansion to Include a Life Transitions Pilot Project Program

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For Immediate ReleaseCRUW_Header

The Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness (CRUW) Program Announces Its Expansion to Include a Life Transitions Pilot Project
Program Designed to Address Gaps in Services for Youth Ageing out of Foster Care

Vancouver, BC – Former Youth Mentors at the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness (CRUW) Program, Cultivating Wellness, Celebrating Diversity, have received funding and support from its leading agency the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) and the Youth Philanthropy Council at the Vancouver Foundation to run a pilot project program from October 2013 to March 2014, with the purpose of addressing gaps in services for youth ageing out of foster care.

This project has a dual purpose: capacity development for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth at risk, the majority transitioning out of foster care, ages 16 – 19 (referred to as ‘pilot project’), that also leads to the design of a CRUW expansion program ‘for youth by youth’ that undergo similar experiences and struggle through the gaps in services available for this demographic.

The CRUW pilot project is designed to build the capacity of the youth through workshops with experts in project development, management, interpersonal skills & leadership, and with Aboriginal Elders, who will provide guidance through the process. The resulting CRUW extension program, aimed for graduates of the CRUW program, will teach the skills required to live independently, focusing on healthy life transitions, from a spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical perspective, emphasizing learning experiences focused on independent living: preparing for aging out of care/graduating from high school; job skills and experience; assistance with university/college applications; financial literacy; healthy eating habits, cultural exchanges & sexual education.

The location of the pilot project will alternate between the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) offices and the Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC), which is available to use through our partners. The youth will meet either at the VACFSS or BYRC offices one weeknight every 2 weeks, and off-site activities will take place every second Saturday at various locations. These may include: the CRUW garden plot at Strathcona, the UBC Farm, Musqueam territory, sporting venues, camps/outdoor experiential based centers, Vancouver parks and recreation spaces, various colleges and universities.

The CRUW Youth Mentors’ motivation for developing this two-part project is the realization of the gaps and lack of opportunities that exist in social services for youth ageing out of foster care. The pilot project will allow this group of youth to become active agents of change for themselves, as well as for their peers. The project planning skills, as well as the additional marketable interpersonal and leadership skills that come hand-in-hand with planning a project, will allow former CRUW Youth Mentors to transfer their knowledge to future ventures. It will further set a precedent and encourage other youth under similar circumstances to become engaged in
these issues.

The youth explain that the program they will create is essential to their development as independent adults, as it will prepare them to succeed in the transition out of foster care; it will also provide an opportunity to develop relationships with other peers in an effort to strengthen their support networks.

“I hope this program will make leaving foster care less scary; I’m already panicking about leaving care and having no one.”  – Youth Participant

“Most of us don’t have the opportunity to experience those life skills. Most of those things cost money; you have to spend money on a class, so getting to experience these things, would be really important” – Youth Participant

“To have the opportunity to get close with kids who are in the same kind of situation as me”  – Youth Participant

The pilot project will run through January 1st, 2014 to March 30th, 2014. The resulting CRUW expansion program will run though Mid-October to Mid-March, during the CRUW 2013 and 2014 program years

For more information on CRUW, visit www.vacfss.com/programs/cruw

The CRUW Program brings together some of Vancouver’s most at risk Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth, to discuss and celebrate the diversity of the city, and engage in culturally relevant land-based practices promoting holistic and sustainable urban wellness.

Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) has been a child and family serving agency since our incorporation in 1992. We are continuing to transform our services to make them more grounded within our history and to reflect the diverse cultures of the clients we serve. With the transfer of child protection services from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in 2008 we continue to focus on better outcomes for the children and families we serve. This is a very exciting time for VACFSS and Aboriginal people in BC.

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MEDIA CONTACT
Freida Gladue
Communications and Public Relations Associate
Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society
745 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC V5L 3J3

p 604.875.7016  | c 778.835.4796 | f 604.872.6768
freida_gladue@vacfss.com
www.vacfss.com