2016-17 Youth Internship Program Wrap-up

A Word from the YI Coordinators

“Working at VCN since October has been a great experience and full of many highlights. Initially, what made me so excited about taking the job is the collaborative nature of the YI program. It was great to tour and learn more about the incredible organizations and chat with the supervisors to hear the interns’ impact on the organizations. This program could not have been so diverse and successful without the positive support and the energy of organizations and interns that made this job easier.

Additionally, getting to know more about the VCN’s services and the employees, volunteers and users that make up the community, has been gratifying. I have been able to learn more about the difficulties faced by non-profit organisations and the community at large. Furthermore, I will always cherish the interactions and relationships that made this experience so meaningful, and the continual dedication by the community towards learning and innovating.”

-Gurraj Ahluwalia

“This position with VCN has been the perfect follow-up and complement to my studies in Development. I have had a chance to work with a non-profit in my own backyard that serves the community I have grown up with. The experience has been invaluable. It has given me the opportunity learn from so many organizations in the Downtown Eastside – how they work with residents, lawmakers and a wider public to grow programs that benefit everyone, often with limited resources and accumulating barriers. Having firsthand experiences in developmental roles in rural areas abroad, it was a fascinating jump to an organization that operates in a city with a strong civil society infrastructure.

The challenges faced by the community, and how VCN and other organizations have responded, have educated me a great deal about NGO work, and have allowed me to become a more adaptable and resilient individual. It is a great privilege to be doing important, rewarding and at the same time enjoyable work, with colleagues and youth who are among the most dedicated I have ever worked with. I will leave VCN grateful for my time here, a stronger and more informed individual, all thanks to this community and the people who fight to make it better every day.”

-Pratyush Dhawan

Overview of Activities & Outcomes

VCN has coordinated the Youth Internship Program (previously the CAP YI initiative) for many years with funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). 2016-17 was our biggest year, in terms of funding and the number of full-time placements we were able to support.

Since October, 47 youth interns, aged 19-30, have been placed with 38 non-profit organizations in Metro-Vancouver. Interns worked mainly in ICT roles with their organizations; they developed websites, built and maintained customer relationship management systems, refurbished computers, ran technical workshops and worked as graphic designers. Being in a non-profit setting, many also worked in several different capacities, juggling daily administration while learning everything from event management to grant writing. Many interns responded positively to the variety of their tasks, saying that the internship prepared them for a slew of potential jobs by giving them experience across the board.

Another positive from the reports and feedback given by the interns was their ignited enthusiasm to work with smaller, community organizations in the future. Many said that they are now considering careers in the non-profit and/or civil society sector focused on addressing issues faced by those marginalized by society, or fighting for action on larger problems like climate change or the worldwide refugee crisis.

The YI Program has always been valued by non-profits in the city, and this year was no different. Host organizations reiterated their support for the program and VCN’s interns, naming them as key components to the development of projects that helped grow the organizations’ ability to cast a wider net for their services. The impact of the interns – many with ICT backgrounds who brought fresh perspectives and talents to their organizations – was huge.

This feedback, from the interns and their organizations, makes one thing starkly clear. The Youth Internship Program is an integral part of growing and supporting non-profit initiatives in Metro Vancouver. With the support of ISED Canada, youth and organizations (that are often underfunded and/or understaffed) are able to work together to achieve lasting change that improves the lives of an innumerable number of people in Vancouver and abroad. The YI program and Youth Employment Strategy have helped shape a better and more inclusive future for everyone, while giving youth valuable experience that serves them long after the internship is over.

We’d like to thank the following organizations for their participation in and support of the Youth Internship Program with VCN. Without them, youth in Vancouver would not have a chance to further their careers in ICT working alongside non-profits.

  • 411 Seniors Centre Society
  • Atira Property Management
  • Atira Women’s Resource Society
  • Binners’ Project
  • BC Technology for Learning Society
  • Canadian Mental Health Assocation, BC
  • Cerebral Palsy Association of BC
  • Disability Alliance BC
  • Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts
  • Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
  • First Nations Technology Council
  • Free Geek
  • Gallery Gachet
  • Geist Magazine
  • Gordon Neighbourhood House
  • Hastings Crossing BIA
  • Highs & Lows Choir
  • Hive Vancouver
  • Kokoro Dance Theatre Society
  • Megaphone Magazine
  • New Forms Media Society
  • Pacific Legal Outreach
  • Parent Support Services Society of BC
  • PeaceGeeks
  • PovNet
  • Powell Street Festival Society
  • RayCam Cooperative Centre
  • Recycling Council of BC
  • Rise Women’s Legal Centre
  • South Granville Seniors Centre
  • Tenants Resource & AdvisoryCentre
  • UBC Learning Exchange
  • Urban Native Youth Association
  • Vancouver Co-Operative Radio
  • Vancouver Community Network Tech|team
  • Vancouver Fringe Festival
  • Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall
  • West End Senior Network

Hear From Our Interns!

“I discovered that I was very passionate, patient, and understanding of senior’s needs and abilities. I was able to transfer my previous skills in customer service management to classroom management… I am planning to go back to school for Teacher’s Ed and to pursue a career in Education.” –411 Seniors Centre Society Intern

“I enjoyed interning as it gave me many different tasks such as teaching, graphic design and helping install exhibitions and it gave me space to mentor and shadow the staff at Gachet. I enjoyed having the space to fail at times and learn and understand for example how to create better workshops. I feel like through this experience I have a better opportunity to get a job in the field.” –Gallery Gachet Intern

“This internship has been extremely enriching to both my career and my personal growth. I have always wanted to work in the publishing industry, but it is a notoriously hard industry to break into without experience.” –Geist Magazine Intern, who is now at Geist as a permanent employee!

“I feel extremely blessed to have been able to be a part of the Megaphone team. They are the first organization which made me feel like I belong and inspired me to find meaning in the workforce.” –Megaphone Magazine Intern

“Working in a non-profit over the course of this internship has been a rewarding and eye opening experience. This internship has exposed me to the value of considering a career in non-profits and has encouraged me to think about volunteering my time to help support these organizations, many of which are struggling.” –Rise Women’s Legal Centre Intern

“The Youth Internship has given me the opportunity to create a community in which I can learn and work in a environment that is both healthy and supportive. This opportunity has led me to obtaining employment in the field of child and youth care as it allowed me the opportunity to get experience working in the field. It has also allowed me to feel more confident in my field by making sure that my placement was well suited for me and also gave me a lot of opportunity to learn and grow.” –UNYA Intern

“Prior to taking on this position, I’ve worked in incredibly ‘bottom-line’ driven environments, absent of passion and meaningful, engagement with stakeholders. It has been incredibly refreshing to have the opportunity to build personal relationships with members of the community, making the position incredibly fulfilling both personally and professionally.” –South Granville Seniors Centre Intern