We are pleased to announce that $3,000 from the annual Surrey Youth Endowment Fund has been granted to the Youth Space - Alex House for the Where They’re At: Youth Outreach Project.
Alex House works collaboratively with the local community, including individuals and organizations, contributing to a vibrant, inclusive, and caring community. The organization relies on the community to inform and support their work, creating opportunities for individuals to express their interests, share their skills, and take a leadership role in their community. Alex House is committed to LGBTQ+ allyship and providing safe spaces for all youth.
Housed within Alex House is the Youth Space: a safe, sober, and inclusive place for youth aged 10-24 that is by youth, for youth. The Youth Space is a safe and accessible space for youth to hang out and do various activities, such as art projects, video games, computers, sports, board games, a DJ table, family dinners, dances, etc. Food is also available for youth to eat at the space and take home. The Youth Space can accommodate any changes to meet the needs of the youth. In 2022 alone, the Youth Space has served 500 unique youth and sees a daily attendance of 10-50.
Therefore, the Youth Outreach Project at the Youth Space supports youth and their families living in the South Surrey/White Rock communities facing significant challenges. These youth have expressed their struggles with social isolation, disconnection from their families, unstable housing, and mental health challenges such as low mood, high anxiety, and increased substance use.
Since July 2022, the Youth Space - Alex House has been able to strengthen its outreach services and support youth to access their basic needs, build positive connections, find safe housing, connect to community resources, and access substance use and harm reduction support. This is being done in creative ways based on the youth’s feedback and ideas, such as hosting a pop-up’ in the park to play fun outdoor games with youth and get some healthy food to eat or have a picnic together while discussing sexual health or substance use in a non-judgmental way. With this grant’s support, the organization can also hand out free resources to youth during the outreach process to provide ongoing engagement.
By implementing this program, youth can build trust with the organization. In turn, they can receive essentials they need, such as toiletries or groceries, naloxone training and Narcan kits, and can express their additional needs. Additionally, youth will be able to build ongoing positive and supportive relationships with Youth Space - Alex House youth workers, meaning they will know a safe adult in a community that cares about them.
“We are very grateful to have received this impactful annual grant this year to support our Youth Outreach Program. With the support of SurreyCares, we can help eliminate barriers to access of resources and truly meet youth ‘where they’re at.’ This means our staff and peer volunteers can travel to sites where youth already gather in their home communities, and offer the supplies youth have expressed would make them feel safe and supported,” said Kiko Kung, Youth Engagement Facilitator, Youth Space - Alex House.
“We continue to see a significant increase in the need for programs that support youth in Surrey,” shares Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares Community Foundation. “Therefore, we are pleased to be able to provide a grant to the Youth Space - Alex House’s Youth Outreach Project, as the need for this program is so crucial for youth in our community.”