Community and Honesty are two of our core values at GeoScan. As such we have made a pledge to be more involved and supportive of local foundations.
One such organization is the Urban Native Youth Association. UNYA has been providing meaningful opportunities and offering support services for Indigenous youth in urban communities since 1988.
Urban Native Youth Association
With a support base that includes 100 staff and 175+ volunteers, UNYA offers 20+ programs. They range from counselling services, sports & recreation, working programs, bus tickets, and food hampers. Additionally, UNYA runs a short-term emergency shelter for at-risk youth and a transitional home for female youth at Ravens Lodge. They also have a full-time Doctor and Nurse Practitioner, along with a health & fitness centre located at the Indigenous Hub at 1618 Hastings Street (more on that later).
The association’s mission is to be the centre of Indigenous youth excellence, supporting youth on their journeys by amplifying and celebrating their voices. Their vision is Empowered Indigenous youth leading and inspiring all Nations.
GeoRadar Group’s Ongoing Efforts & Contribution
Staff at GeoScan, and sister company Xradar, were keen to throw their support behind this initiative. Citing recent discoveries of atrocities at residential schools and disparity amongst Indigenous populations in Vancouver as key reasons to get involved with UNYA.
Over the years, GeoScan has developed a strong working relationship with a number of First Nations groups across BC. Along with services like utility locating and land surveying, GeoScan has assisted with archaeological investigations and unmarked burial mapping.
We will continue to work side by side with First Nations groups who are pushing for change and making an impact in communities. In addition to a financial contribution of $5,000 to the Urban Native Youth Association, GeoScan’s parent company – GeoRadar Group – is working on developing an internship program in conjunction with UNYA. This program will be available to youth who express interest in a career in utility locating, land surveying, or construction administration.
Challenges Facing Indigenous Youth Today
Indigenous youth face significant challenges in urban settings of today. Rates of homelessness, mortality, overdoses, and early pregnancy are already high and continue to rise. Other concerns include mental health, less access to education, and lower income rates compared with non-Indigenous populations.
The obstacles facing urban Indigenous youth are understandably complex, but UNYA has played an integral role for many who have turned to the centre for help. Encouraged by the resilience and drive of Indigenous youth, UNYA helps foster a sense of belonging and community for those who seek support. With access to meaningful resources, these young people can thrive in cities across Canada.
Native Youth Centre
Currently, UNYA sees 26,000 visits each year with expectations that this number will only increase. With growing demand, UNYA has an ambitious plan for a new state of the art Native Youth Centre. They have partnered with the City of Vancouver and Suncor Energy on securing land for the new Hub. Efforts to raise funds for the new Centre are ongoing. Although there is still much work to do, UNYA is optimistic that the project will go forward.
GeoRadar Group is proud to partner with UNYA and will continue to engage with other like-minded organizations.
If you or your organization want to support urban Indigenous youth in Vancouver, please contact email@example.com. Donations to UNYA can be made online, by cheque, or through a money order.