This peer-to-peer and peer-to-mentor program provides support to children and youth in care and builds connections and a sense of community, all while engaging in fun, extracurricular activities.
The VACFSS Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) has launched a new, in-house mentorship program, the Supportive Indigenous Brothers & Sisters (SIBS) program.
YAC’s vision of this program is to address a long-time need for a safe space for peer-to-peer and peer-to-mentor relationships between Indigenous youth in and from care between 12-21 years of age. The youth who will be leading this program are youth mentors from VACFSS care and bring a wealth of knowledge in working with Indigenous youth in the child welfare system. They have the ability and knowledge to create a successful, in-house mentorship program that will lead to long-term connections for many youths involved with VACFSS.
SIBS’ mission is to support connections between young people with similar lived experiences during their time in care and through their journey into adulthood. The program’s core objectives are:
- Provide access to extracurricular activities for children and youth in care; providing the same level of opportunities as their non-care involved peers.
- Provide mentorship to children and youth in care from a young leader who has successfully aged into community and has strong ethics and morals, with many of the teachings coming from our Indigenous roots.
- Offer the same level of support to children and youth in care that youth who are involved with YAC can access.
- Build connections and a sense of community with one another for children and youth in care; developing peer-to-peer and peer-to-mentor relationships.
SIBS brings together pods of 3-5 youth from VACFSS with an Indigenous youth mentor(s) to engage in monthly outings in the community. Outings will include a range of events/activities including going to the movies, laser tag, attending cultural events, nature walks/hikes, local concerts, and other activities that connect with the interests of the youths in each pod.
MEET THE POD LEADERS:
Nation & Background: I am from the Quilchena Nation on my dad’s side and Scotland from my mom’s side.
Why did you want to become a pod leader? I would like to help others and be a positive role model for youth in care.
What would a perfect Saturday look like for you? Hanging out with my cat, watching videos, reading, and listening to music. I also enjoy going for a hike if the weather is nice.
Interests & Hobbies: I like makeup (SFX as well), drawing/painting, longboarding, modeling, hiking, horror movies, tattoos and piercings, math and science, collecting oddities, and petting animals. I want to be a forensic pathologist.
Nation & Background: I am Coast Salish on my dad’s side and Cree on my mom’s side.
Why did you want to become a pod leader? I wanted to become a pod leader because it would be fantastic! It’s important to build relationships with youth.
What would a perfect Saturday look like for you? Going to the beach, a fun activity of some sort, and taking the small sea bus!
Interests & Hobbies: I like anything outdoors, such as skateboarding and spending time at the beach. I also like cameras and film.
Nation & Background: I identify as an Indigenous person, and I have been born and raised in the Vancouver area.
Why did you want to become a pod leader? I want to be a pod leader because I want to be more active and connected in my community. I want to meet more amazing youth, and doing this will help me with my plans to be a youth worker in the future.
What would a perfect Saturday look like for you? Going outside and doing a lot of fun activities, like going to the beach or going to any different events like the movies and spending time with others.
Nation & Background: I am Filipino on my father’s side and from the Nuxalk Nation on my mother’s side.
Why did you want to become a pod leader? I wanted to be a pod leader because we get to do so many fun activities together. I also really like meeting new people and making new friends.
What would a perfect Saturday look like for you? It would consist of a few episodes of The Office, some video games with friends, then going to the park and playing some Spikeball with a strawberry banana smoothie to sip on.
Interests & Hobbies: I like playing the guitar, playing/watching sports, hiking, laser tag, video games, bingeing shows on Netflix, video games, video games, and more video games. A fun fact about me is that I have been to 8 countries around the world!
Nation & Background: I am from the Nuxalk Nation on my mother’s side and Kwikwetlem Nation on my dad’s side.
Why did you want to become a pod leader? I am one of the senior members of the Youth Advisory Committee and really looking forward to being a pod leader. Getting to know other Indigenous youth in care made a huge difference in my life, it meant finding people to who I can relate to, and support me. I am hoping to spend time just having fun, getting to know each other, and having opportunities to experience new things.
Interests & Hobbies: Personally, I enjoy things such as video games, going to the movies, and eating out. A random fact about myself is that I’m from a really big family, so I grew up with a lot of siblings.