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Co-operative Education

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We continue to focus much of our efforts on community development initiatives, as we believe that the strengthening of our community as a whole can have a tremendous positive impact on the lives of Native youth


UNYA's mandate is to provide meaningful opportunities for Native youth (Aboriginal, Metis, Inuit, First Nations, Status, Non-Status) in the urban setting. Our goal is to be a safe place for Native youth to come and find out about programs and services at UNYA and in the broader community.

As of 2008, we offer twenty-one programs including four live-in programs and have over one hundred volunteers, almost 100 full and part-time staff, and 200 community partners. 

We continue to focus much of our efforts on community development initiatives, as we believe that the strengthening of our community as a whole can have a tremendous positive impact on the lives of Native youth.  Over the years, we have tried to contribute to the positive development of our community by creating our Full Circle and Helping Hands manuals, hosting community meetings and forums, offering training on youth issues to the community, serving on community steering committees, attending consultation meetings, conducting research, developing innovative programs, hiring and training youth, participating on the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council, and creating partnerships that expand services for Native youth.

UNYA street art depicting a raven and gender neutral sign

Employment & Volunteering

We have almost 100 staff working within 21 programs, so we are always looking for talented and dynamic people to join our team. 

Why work for UNYA?

  • We pay 40 hours per week, not 35 or 37.5, for full-time

  • Full-time staff are eligible for extended health benefits

  • We are committed to team building

  • We have a history of almost 25 years of successful youth service

  • We believe in empowering Native youth

  • We encourage and support youth voice

Please email for additional job opportunities, or to be added to our email list. Visit our Employment Opportunities page to see how you can be directly involved with UNYA.

Volunteering Opportunities

UNYA welcomes both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal volunteers, for we understand that youth need the support of those who are willing and qualified to help out, regardless of their cultural identity.  What's most important is an openness and ability to support Native youth. 

Additional individual program volunteer opportunities can be found on the program pages. 

Here are our Current Volunteer Opportunities

In addition to the 21 programs in Education & Training, Personal Support, Live-in, and Sports & Rec, we also have many other workshops and projects throughout the year.  They include short-term (example: once a week for four weeks), periodic (example: once every three months), and special one-time projects on their own or as part of a program. You can read about some of these activities by visiting our Special Projects page.  You can find out more about our upcoming, ongoing, and yearly activities by visiting our Activities Schedule.

Although a lack of funding does not allow us many opportunities to offer programs that are only for females, young parents, or GLBTQ/Two-spirit youth, we work to make sure that all of our programs are welcoming as possible to all Native youth.

volunteers of unya

Aboriginal Outreach Team

Goals / Purpose of Program

The Outreach Workers provide street outreach services and support to Aboriginal youth between the ages of 13 -18 years old who are involved in street life. We work closely with the three Vancouver Youth Hubs to ensure that youth who are street involved are being supported and are gaining access to the programs and services they need. 

The goals of this program are to:

  • Provide non-judgmental support

  • Provide at-risk Aboriginal youth with healthy alternatives to street-involvement

  • Encourage youth access to supportive programs and services in the community

  • Foster increased partnerships among service providers and community organizations to positively respond to the needs of Aboriginal youth

The Outreach Workers provide support to youth to find services and resources that can help them to move away from street life, return home, return to school or training, positively address alcohol and drug issues, and many other issues and concerns.

It is our goal to become involved with youth before they enter street life, and we strive to help them avoid street entrenchment. If youth have become street involved or entrenched, we take a harm reduction approach and strive to provide options that support them in seeking healthy alternatives.

A Glimpse in a day of the UNYA Outreach Worker - A glimpse of the diverse locations and services the Outreach team provides to Aboriginal Youth in the Vancouver community.

Program Activities

  • Information and referrals for youth and their families or caregivers

  • Direct connection and access to the three Youth Hubs throughout Vancouver

  • One-to-one support and crisis intervention, as needed

  • Advocacy

How Youth Can Become Involved

Youth aged 13-18 years old and/or their families who are willing to work towards positive personal change to enhance youth’s opportunities can self-refer to the program.  Anyone can refer an at-risk youth to the Outreach Workers.

Unya canoeing

Volunteer Opportunities

Due to the type of programming and concerns for youth safety, there are no volunteer opportunities for this program at this time.

Donations Needed

We would be very grateful to accept donations of items that can be given to youth on the street.  In particular, the following would be very useful for our programming:

  • Bus Tickets

  • New Mitts, Toques, Scarves, etc.

  • Granola Bars

  • Sleeping Bags (new or dry-cleaned)

  • New Socks

  • Lip Balm

  • Food vouchers

Depending on the type, size and value of the donation, UNYA may be able to provide a tax receipt for donations.  Please call the Program Coordinator at 604-254-7732 to discuss your possible donation.

Program Funders

BC Ministry of Children & Family Development

Contact Information: 

Mailing Address:

1618 East Hastings Street,Vancouver, BC, V5L 1S6

Phone: 604-868-0368 or 604-868-0613

Fax: 604-254-5195



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OLC Editor

Co-operative Education

The OLC Lead Editor manages content submissions, provides feedback on content submissions and assists with the development of content with contributors.

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