VOCYL teen program
CanAssist has taken on a new non-technical program called the Victoria Opportunities for Community Youth Leadership (VOCYL) in partnership with Community Living Victoria. Originally founded by CLV in 2004, the CanAssist team first learned of the program during a presentation by VOCYL youth and program coordinator Tracy Gill-Lemke. CanAssist members quickly recognized that the activities and philosophies of VOCYL were very much in keeping with their own program's mandate to promote inclusion through experiential learning opportunities and student participation.
Although this is the first formal partnership between CanAssist and CLV, the two organizations have worked together for several years. "The VOCYL program was a perfect fit and will contribute to our goal of creating a more inclusive community," says Dr. Nigel Livingston, director of CanAssist.
VOCYL gives youth the chance to develop leadership skills with the goal of promoting an inclusive community for all. Opportunities for young people include: participating in community initiatives; developing and delivering presentations and workshops to high school students; planning social and fundraising events; participating in camping trips, adaptive recreational sports and retreats; and building a support network among themselves.
VOCYL's philosophy is that everyone has a right to belong - no matter their race, gender, size, age, sexual orientation or ability. VOCYL members come from diverse backgrounds and abilities, and include those with and without developmental disabilities. Yet they have a common desire to share their knowledge and advocate change in their local high schools and communities. They meet bi-weekly and have many opportunities to get to know new people and participate in worthwhile events.
"While connecting and engaging with other teens, VOCYL is
able to increase awareness around issues of acceptance and belonging in our
community," Gill-Lemke explains. "Not only do the youth develop support networks
among themselves, but they also do this while truly living the definition of
Visit VOCYL's website to learn more about the program.
Phone: 250-477-7231 ext. 241