The Open Door Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) was kick started with a partnership with the Cowichan Intercultural Society’s Compassionate Leaders Project. Beginning with a 2.5 day residential leadership camp, secondary school students from across SD 79 chose one of three organizations to practice newly gained leadership skills – 11 participants chose to be placed on the YAC team. The participants met regularly to plan activities and ideas to make the Open Door Youth Services Center more ‘youth friendly’. They helped to create a comfortable welcome/reception area, a meeting/activity space and painting a cool rainbow accent in the hallway. The team later organized a community BBQ as part of Mental Health Awareness Week and an informal opening of the center- we estimated they fed over 200 community members! Lastly, the team brought in a young Documentary Film Maker, Ruggero Romano, to screen his first feature documentary V6A – a film that tells powerful stories of people who call Vancouver Eastside home. The participants felt that the film is also relevant locally as a tool to help combat stigma and negative public perceptions about community members experiencing the many forms of homelessness. They had a daytime screening for Quamichan Students and an evening screening for community members – both with a Q & A with the passionate and inspirational film maker.
The participants were able to raise nearly $400 to support the Open Door Youth Advisory Committee.