Innovative community giving approach designed "for youth, by youth"
VICTORIA, BC, Oct. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Coast Capital Savings has launched its Vancouver Island Young Leaders Council, a group of young community leaders charged with spearheading the credit union's "for youth, by youth" community investment program.
The newly established Vancouver Island Young Leaders Council is comprised of Ivan Watson, founder of the United Way of Greater Victoria's Youth Now Council; Carly Milloy, fundraising professional with the Canadian Red Cross; Laura Spence, volunteer trainer with Canadian Blood Services; and Lilia Zaharieva of the Federation of BC Youth in Care Network. Other members are Micheal Renowden, Grahame Strawson, Sarah Wysiecki and Sarah Butcher, all Coast Capital Savings employees who are actively involved in their communities.
Watson, chair of the Vancouver Island Young Leaders Council, applauded Coast Capital's unique approach to disbursing community grants.
"This is a very exciting initiative because it serves as a true partnership between Coast Capital and the broader community to support programs that benefit youth," Watson said. "Central to Coast Capital's mission is a commitment to providing help. To this end, working collaboratively to build a stronger community underpins the mandate of our council and all of our granting decisions. I am proud to help Coast Capital build vibrant communities and enable young people to realize their leadership potential."
Maureen Young, Coast Capital's manager for community partnerships and investments, said the credit union introduced the initiative because it wanted to move grant decisions from the board room into the hands of local young leaders who are plugged into their communities. Members of the council will each serve a two-year term.
"Given Coast Capital's focus on building a richer future for youth in our communities, it makes perfect sense for us to engage young leaders at the local level in deciding where our investments should be directed," Young said. "Our Young Leaders Council brings together a very accomplished group of individuals with extensive local community involvement and their insights will help shape and drive our community giving throughout the region."
Young said Coast Capital also wanted to provide community-minded youth with the opportunity to build on their leadership skills in areas such as executive decision-making, communication, and financial stewardship. Wysiecki, a customer service representative at Coast Capital's Westshore branch and a former member of the credit union's Youth Team (an internship program for students), said she is thrilled with the experience and responsibility that comes with serving on the council.
"Involvement in the work of the Young Leaders Council has allowed me to further develop a wide range of leadership skills and I consider it a great privilege to be one of the employee representatives in the group," said Wysiecki. "It also comes with an important responsibility since we have the opportunity to make decisions that will result in significant positive impact on youth in our community."
Suzanne Cole, executive director of the Burnside Gorge Community Association, whose organization received $25,000 through the council, said Coast Capital's decision to invest in youth amounts to an investment in the future.
"We believe youth hold our future in their hands but our ability to offer programs that benefit them and enrich their lives depends on available funding", Cole said. "Our goal is to assist youth in gaining the skills and connections needed to build a healthy and stable future as an adult and the support provided through Coast Capital's Young Leaders Council will help us realize this."
The Vancouver Island Young Leaders Council has so far approved $130,000 in grants to 10 organizations including Burnside Gorge Community Association, Power To Be Adventure Therapy, Victoria READ Society, the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, and Victoria Opportunities for Community Youth Leadership. All the programs funded benefit local youth. The group is serving as a pilot and model for a similar council soon to be launched in Coast Capital's Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver markets. Membership of Coast Capital's Young Leaders Council is open to youth 30 or younger (at the time of application).
Each year, Coast Capital invests seven per cent of its budgeted pre-tax income in a wide range of community engagement activities, primarily focused on building a richer future for youth. Last year, this commitment amounted to $4.9 million dollars in community support.
Coast Capital Savings Credit Union is Canada's second largest credit union with total assets under administration of $13.5 billion, 475,000 members and 50 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. Product innovations include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution and the country's most flexible mortgage product, the You're the Boss™ Mortgage, which was named 2010 Mortgage of the Year by canadianmortgagetrends.com. Coast Capital offers one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™. It is a member of Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club and an Imagine Canada Caring Company. To learn more, visit www.coastcapitalsavings.com.
Victoria organizations funded through the Coast Capital Young Leaders Council
|Organization name||Project name and description||Funding amount|
|VOCYL - Victoria Opportunities for Community Youth Leadership||VOCYL Middle School Expansion Project: Delivering workshops to over 600 middle school students in Greater Victoria to help encourage inclusive and welcoming school cultures||$10,000|
|Habitat Acquisition Trust||Goldstream Salmon Run Program: Enabling children and youth to experience the Chum salmon run with a Park Naturalist at no cost to the schools||$2,500|
|Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia||Stigma Stomp Program: Raising awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness||$4,500|
|Sidney and North Saanich Memorial Park Society operating the Mary Winspear Centre||Why am I different?: Engaging school-aged youth in developing and performing theatre productions addressing issues such as multiculturalism, hate, bullying and racism||$5,000|
|Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS)||Youth Strides: A leadership training and education program for newcomer youth||$7,000|
|Power To Be Adventure Therapy||Power To Be Wilderness School Program: Fostering positive social development and life skills among youth through outdoor adventure and education||$20,000|
|Victoria READ Society||Remedial literacy/numeracy for children and youth: Providing early intervention/remediation to improve literacy and numeracy at no and low cost for children and youth||$25,000|
|Burnside Gorge Community Association||Youth Self Sufficiency Program: Supporting youth in foster care or with no supports transition into adulthood by increasing financial capacity, employability and self-reliance||$25,000|
|Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria||Youth Community Economic Development Initiative (LAUNCH Program): Helping young people create or scale up enterprises that create employment and contribute to community social, economic and environmental well-being||$25,000|
|Shoreline Community School Association||After School Youth Drop-In: Providing a safe, supervised place for youth to interact participate in activities and build skills||$6,000|
|TOTAL FUNDS AWARDED||$130,000|
SOURCE: Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
For further information:
Please see backgrounder for a full list of Victoria organizations funded through the Coast Capital Savings Young Leaders Council.
For more information, please contact:
Divine Agodzo, manager, media relations, Coast Capital Savings