Victoria Youth Empowerment Society

Agency Overview/Annual Report

The Victoria Youth Empowerment Society [YES] offers services for youth and their family/caregivers throughout the Capital Region. YES welcomes all members of our diverse youth community.

YES has grown from an agency which was primarily focused on street entrenched youth to an agency which provides prevention, intervention, treatment and education for youth, their families/caregivers and the broader community. Currently a large percentage of the youth and families who utilize the services of YES are not inappropriately involved downtown.

Services offered by YES include: youth and family counselling, community outreach, after hours pager access, referrals, assessments, specialized interventions, a missing youth system, assistance with health issues, advocacy, meeting basic needs (shelter, food, clothing, hygiene etc.), emergency crisis response (including emergency/crisis shelter services), community development, life skills training, independent living support/transitional planning, consultation and assistance with issues related to addictions, mental health, employments, housing, education, etc.

Synopsis of Agency Programs: Program Placemat

Youth Empowerment Society Annual General Report

Please follow the link to read YES’ annual report:

2016-2017: AGM Annual Report 2016-2017 final copy


History of the Agency

The Youth Empowerment Society came into being in its present incarnation in October of 1992. Before that date, the Alliance Club (Youth Development Society) and the Association for Street Kids had been doing work with “street kids” in Victoria since 1986. These two organizations amalgamated late in 1992.

At the time of amalgamation, the only programs that existed within YES were the Alliance Club, GOALS and the Storefront Drop-in. There were 5 staff and a budget of approximately $200,000. Currently, YES has approximately 60 full and part-time staff and a budget nearing $2,000,000.

Over the years, YES has continued to grow and develop programs for youth based on emerging needs in our community.

  • 1992     The Housing Support Program begins.
  • 1993     Membership in the United Way of Victoria.
  • 1994     The first Youth Outreach Team (YOOTS) is formed, pairing a youth outreach worker and a Victoria City Police Officer. A second team is added in 1996.
  • 1997     The first Annual Mayors Golf Classic fundraiser is held.
  • 1997     The first Annual Souper Bowls of Hope is held.
  • 1997     The first Summer Options Program operates out of the Club.
  • 1998     Purchase of the building at 533 Yates Street
  • 1998     Funding is secured for ENERGY: Education For The Next Generation program. This 6-month program was run again in 2000.
  • 1998     The Liaison Worker for Sexually Exploited Youth begins at YES.
  • 1998     ACCESS Storefront School opens at the YES 533 Yates location.
  • 1999     Specialized Youth Detox opens as a part time residential program.
  • 2000     Funding is secured for a part time Life Skills Day Program. This program has continued to run as funding allows.
  • 2003     Specialized Youth Detox goes full time and moves to a new location.
  • 2003     YES is awarded the contract for the Kiwanis Emergency Youth Shelter
  • 2004     YES begins the accreditation process [The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)]
  • 2004     YES continues to work with the Victoria Youth Clinic and various funders and supporters to open a Youth Clinic at the 533 Yates location.
  • 2005     Youth medical clinic opens at 533 site
  • 2006     The OARS (Outreach and Recreational Services) one year program begins.
  • 2007     The Mental Health Liaison Program begins (3 year project).
  • 2007     The Youth Hospitality and Training Centre (TAJ) including Youth Housing and Life Skills opens at Herald Street.
  • 2008     Youth Hospitality Training Centre opens at the Taj on Herald St.
  • 2011     YES is awarded the Core Victoria Youth Services contract. The Life Skills Program, Youth Services Outreach Program and the Youth and Family Outreach Program begin.
  • 2011     YES is awarded the contract for the Supported Independent Living Program (SIL).
  • 2013    YES partners with GT Hiring Solutions on a pilot project. The Employment Liaison Program begins.
  • 2014 The Victoria Youth Clinic opens fulltime at the YES 533 Yates location                         Employment Liaison Program ends.
  • 2016: Outlet and You(th) Can Cook begin.
  • 2017: The Mental Health Liaison Program ends.                                                                                       Down to Earth Begins                                                                                                                                          YES celebrates 25 years of youth services in Victoria

Philosophy and Values

We, at the Youth Empowerment Society (YES), believe that all people have the capacity to improve their lives. We dedicate ourselves to helping youth and their families achieve their goals while respecting their individuality and recognizing their diverse and sometimes challenging needs. Our commitment to healthy lifestyle choices creates an atmosphere where youth can feel safe and supported as they progress toward their goals. We believe everyone should be treated with equality, dignity, respect, and acceptance.

At YES we believe in inclusiveness where the youth, staff, board and volunteers work together to create an atmosphere where people feel safe, supported and respected, while being given the opportunity to fulfill their own goals.

The Youth Empowerment Society is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for disabled clients, and aims to create an environment which enables everyone to participate in the services offered within the parameters of our building structure.

We value the diversity of our programs and accept the challenge of supporting each one to best serve the community. We believe our programs show strong leadership and prove themselves to be innovative, solution-focused, and proactive and that each continues to develop in response to our community’s needs. We are dedicated to developing long-term effective solutions by working together to provide the opportunity for growth and success.

We are skilled, empathetic professionals working consistently to encourage the well being of others. We are trusted and respected for our ability to work with youth and their families. We continue to train and educate ourselves to enrich our perspectives, maintain a level of excellence and demonstrate ethical presence in our work. We work confidently together to create an optimal work environment where work place issues are resolved in a creative and co-operative manner.

We challenge ourselves to be accountable and responsive to those we serve as well as the community that funds, supports and depends upon us. We are a valued organization that demonstrates success by continually evaluating our programs and challenging our assumptions. People seek our services because our staff offers support, advocacy, opportunity and new alternatives.

We, at Youth Empowerment Society, seek to make a positive difference in the lives of youth and their families.

Mission and Vision Statement

The Mission Statement of YES is twofold: First, to assist youth to remove themselves from the high risk environment of the street and make the transition to healthier and more constructive life situations and Second, to help youth and families make positive choices, which will prevent involvement in at risk behaviour or connection with the street scene.

Our vision is to provide a continuum of care that empowers positive choices in the lives of multiple-barrier youth by providing accessible, innovative and proactive programs.

We strive to meet the needs of youth by working in partnership with families and the community to deliver a safe and supportive environment for at–risk youth. We do this by being resourceful and meeting community standards as demonstrated through the experience and professionalism of the YES staff.

Our endeavour is to be recognized by the community as valuable resource for youth and their families.