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Statement from Executive Director Sarah Stewart on the passing of Katherine McParland

December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020

It was heartbreaking to hear about Katherine McParland’s passing over the weekend. I was blessed to be in a role as co-chair with Katherine for the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness (BCEYH) for the past few months. On behalf of the Coalition members and the staff and young folks connected to Aunt Leah’s, we send our condolences to A Way Home Kamloops, the community of Kamloops and to Katherine’s closest circle.

Katherine was a strong powerful advocate for youth. Her vision and passion brought organizations and individuals with lived experience together to create the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness. I was often racing to keep up as she worked tirelessly and with huge compassion. Katherine’s ability to put the young people’s voice and perspective at the forefront of our work was inspirational. She continually made sure that youth’s voice was heard by government and policy makers. Her passing will leave a huge gap for the community of youth with lived experience. She was a mentor and a leader for so many.

Katherine would want us to continue on with her work, and part of that includes connecting and supporting each other with our grief. For the young people connected and comfortable with Aunt Leah’s Place staff, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support, for grief counselling support please reach out to our partnering agency Tom or Kathryn at Dan’s Legacy.com or call 604-999-9136.

Katherine impact on our work was far reaching and so will her passing. Whether you knew her deeply or from afar, and are feeling loss, please don’t hesitate to call.

I will miss Katherine’s passion for social justice, her desire and passion around continued learning, and her deep kindness and appreciation. Every call with Katherine ended with her saying “I appreciate you”. Katherine- I appreciate you and will continue our work to end youth homelessness.

Sincerely,

Sarah Stewart

Executive Director

Volunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Lopez

October 20, 2020

The Power of Transformative Education

Once a week, Jonathan Lopez takes a pause from his project support position at the UBC’s Office of the Provost and is an Aunt Leah’s Place teacher with our Supporting Education For Foster Youth (SEFFY) program. SEFFY’s mission is to support long-term education planning for foster youth and former foster youth in care, primarily between the ages of 16 to 24. He works in partnership with foster youth and other caring professionals in their lives to promote education permanency, with specific focuses on advocacy, resources, reducing barriers and career planning.

A year and a half ago, when Jonathan came on board as a teacher, he initially thought that he was going to teach Math, English and get students to post-secondary education. His work has proved to be infinitely more profound. “I’ve come to understand it as trying to demystify the post-secondary landscape to youth who don’t really have support otherwise.” Jonathan helps them understand what these sorts of things mean in their academic trajectories, in their lives and help make it less scary.

Jonathan came to Aunt Leah’s Place through Frontier College, a national charitable literacy organization that works with volunteers and community partners to give people the skills and confidence they need to reach their potential and contribute to society. He was put in contact with staff from the SEFFY program. What drew him to the role, was helping participants move into the next chapter of their life and how pivotal of a time it is. It was a very unique fit Jonathan explains, “because of my experience transition from secondary to post-secondary education and all the associated questions that come with the uncertainty of making a big life decision.” Jonathan is usually the final step in a long process that the participants have invested in.

“I often see participants after they’ve gone through all the other services they have at Aunt Leah’s Place. That is, they are positive they have secure housing, they have food security, they have all that stuff, and now they can think about education, so I really do need to thank [Aunt Leah’s Place] for putting participants in the position to seek out this kind of help.”
What does learning with Jonathan look like?

What does learning with Jonathan look like?

Jonathan is tasked with making learning exciting and accessible. “If they see me getting excited about , I hope to project this upon them and to show them that this stuff may not be as fun as video game, it’s certainly interesting.” He has to ensure that he’s engaging participants so that they can get the most out of the program. “I try my hardest to try to make the content relevant to the students to make it not some sort of esoteric or arcane knowledge that’s just a hoop for to jump through.”

Jonathan hopes to empower participants through education and . He’s pleased that there are support mechanisms to make education accessible our provincial government extend tuition waivers. He works with students to build confidence in their abilities. Often participants have an ingrained belief that they aren’t smart. The traditional educational system has often been harmful because it leaves them underserved. Participants can feel they didn’t succeed because of a personal failing. Jonathan is firm that “they are perfectly bright youth, but they’ve had a really hard time.” He recalled sitting with a student teaching math and recognizing the problem immediately. Her reply was, I guess I’m not dumb.” Jonathan was overcome with emotion, “I almost started crying…because she had confidence.” This student was always told she was bad at math, but she clearly wasn’t. “At the end of the day, I didn’t really care that she understood the Pythagorean theorem, but her understanding that she can learn things in her life, that is what I think transformative education is. That’s real.”
Has participating in this program transformed Jonathan?

For Jonathan, change in the classroom works both ways, “It’s massively changed how I approach teaching…I very often have to employ adaptive teaching, I try to relate the material to more so than I would in any other context. Jonathan has learned as well to appreciate and approach each student more holistically to accomplish transformative learning. “This can be as small as hey this student hasn’t slept well in the past couple of days. She wants to work on stuff, but keep that in mind before going on with the lesson. There are other priorities here.”

When asked about why he thinks it is important to volunteer, Jonathan says “I remember when I was young, I had a very idealistic worldview. We need to change the system. And I found out I don’t need anyone’s permission to change stuff. I can make small changes in the things that I do every day. So that i this.”

During COVID19, Frontier College is working with Aunt Leah’s to provide an online platform that allows students to continue working together on their educational goals with Jonathan’s invaluable support.

Special thanks to storyteller and writer, Tami Gabay for volunteering her time and talent to write this story.

Lale House & Supportive Suites

October 20, 2020

The Art of Giving

“A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Lale House?

Lale House is an important program that provides affordable communal housing for young adults 19 to 28 who have aged out of foster care, and are currently homeless or at risk of being without a home. Finding safe and budget-sensitive accommodations in the Lower Mainland is exceptionally challenging anytime of the year, but is even more critical at a time like this, when there is a pandemic that is creating a lot of anxiety and a much more uncertain economic future for these young adults.

Lale House is more than just giving a place to live and take shelter. It’s the realized dream of two local philanthropists to provide housing for homeless youth. (They choose to be mentioned as LD and PD). LD explained, the couple having two children of their own, they wish for all young people to have environments of safety, caring and support to grow up in, just as their own kids had. Over the years, LD had read and heard about Aunt Leah’s work which she found very meaningful and wanted to contribute to it. She had the idea that she could own a principal property and offer the use of it to a charity such as Aunt Leah’s. LD elaborated, “I had some money in the bank but having it just sit there did not contribute to my sense of happiness. I believe that money is some kind of energy and I would like that energy to be in service of something meaningful. Ideally the energy would support the well-being of others. I think that’s it: I wanted the money, instead of sitting idly in the bank, to serve by actively contributing to somebody’s well-being.”

How did you partner with Aunt Leah’s Place to find Lale House?

LD was motivated by a sense of equality, saying, “In a society that I would call wealthy compared to the rest of the world, to see people who don’t have homes, I find that really, really heartbreaking.” She and her husband set out to address this dilemma because of a feeling of societal responsibility. “To be quite honest, I feel it’s our social duty. We have a comfortable home, and why shouldn’t some less fortunate young people have access to decent accommodations as well.” For her, the social contract is obvious. “As a human, I believe we have a responsibility to other humans as well. Making a house available to some young people who don’t have housing, to help them become independent and support them in their growth, really makes me happy.” LD expressed her gratitude to Aunt Leah’s for providing her and her husband with the opportunity to make their idea a reality, describing how they worked with Executive Director Sarah Stewart, who was incredibly supportive in guiding the process from recommending what kind of home would be best, to attending open houses, providing feedback, establishing an agreement and then finally finding a mutually acceptable and suitable home. “She made the whole process very easy. Giving has proven to be a win-win situation as Aunt Leah’s has also taken away all our concerns about having to look after and manage a house. We provided the house and Aunt Leah’s looks after all the rest, such as insurance, taxes, maintenance, etc.”

In April 2019, the right house was found to provide a home for five young adults in search of independence.

What can Lale House offer participants?

Those who have been formerly youth in care, often find it more challenging to go immediately into a fully self-sufficient life. Like the other programs at Aunt Leah’s Place, Lale House follows a family model, where young adult individuals who may not always be ready to be out on their own can get support in a safe and comfortable environment. The setting is intended to be used as a transition platform where participants can obtain the skills or training they need to become fully independent. Aware that participants needed varying levels of support, Lale House was designed accordingly. The home is a single-detached, newly renovated, home with five bedrooms in New Westminster. It’s fully furnished and located for easy access to transit. As an extension to Lale House, when participants are ready to live independently, they can move to one of two private supported suites that have been modelled after Aunt Leah’s Support Link suites. Each suite has a landlord living upstairs and Aunt Leah’s staff do periodic check-ins to ensure a smooth transition.

For LD her dreams for the participants are simple, “My hope would be that these young people would be able to get an education, find a job and eventually become self-reliant. This, I hope, will give them a better chance for a better, happier, independent life.”

“My hopes would be that they find some education, find a job, and find a life that will be satisfactory to them, that it’s going to be a good life. That they can become independent.”

At Lale House, participants work one-on-one with a care worker and get directed to the programs that are the most appropriate for their needs and aspirations. Such programs include life skills, mental health counselling, as well as education and employment support. They also receive bus tickets, passes to the gym, and there are recreational activities planned for everyone to participate.

For LD & PD it boils down to this: “We were very happy when Sarah informed us that one person already left the house because he had graduated and was now ready to live on his own. News like this give us way more satisfaction than a bank-statement showing our assets ever could.”

However, parenting is difficult at the best of times, and all the more as the coronavirus pandemic leads to shutdowns and all Canadians are asked to practise social distancing. Many young people who might otherwise be out with friends, at school, or playing sports now find themselves having to isolate at home. Particularly difficult is the fact that some do not see the novel coronavirus as a threat to their own health and well- being and find it difficult to follow the rules.

The young people living at the house are no different and Aunt Leah’s staff is having to adjust, like every other parent, to ensure that their mental and physical well-being are not compromised. This also means being creative to meet them where they are and relaxing the expectations on educational and job training goals.

And while the plans to go to an escape room, go-karting, or wall climbing with the housemates will have to wait, the good news for this bunch, is that thanks to the generosity of LD &PD who have provided the house and to all donors who support our programs, these young adults will have continuous support until the world is at a better place and they are ready to pursue their dreams and goals on their own.

Photo: Tania Rowland, Program Coordinator outside of Lale House

Special thanks to storyteller and writer, Tami Gabay for volunteering her time and talent to write this story.

Dianna’s Story

October 20, 2020

Dianna is a former Aunt Leah’s Place participant, who is now living independently with her son Adrian, and is a real success story. In 2011, she came to Aunt Leah’s House as a single teen mother with her six-month-old baby boy. It was a big transition, “It was a new experience living here with staff and other moms 24/7. I liked it because there was help when I needed it and just being around people that are in the same situation. Single mom. Teenager.” At Aunt Leah’s, Dianna was able to get help with important supports like having staff watch her son, if she needed a break . Dianna also was able to get support to learn how to be a mom and learn life skills, such as learning how to cook and clean . There were also moments of celebration, “Christmas, Easter, all those were fun. Mother’s Day, Halloween, all the moms would come here and past moms – we can all connect.”

Coming to Aunt Leah’s proved to be a turning point for Dianna. As she was able to get the support she needed to move forward. “They were able to help me get back into school. They were encouraging and supportive, and I guess helped me become a better mom with all the stuff they do.” Dianna was committed to building a strong foundation with the daily juggle of taking her son to daycare, attending young parent programs, learning life skills, and just being a parent and taking care of her son. It paid off because she graduated. Dianna recalls how the staff at Aunt Leah’s were invaluable. And what Dianna found most surprising, were all the supports that were available to her and the funding she could access through Aunt Leah’s Place. “I was able to sign my son up for soccer camp and one time I received a gym pass for a year.”

Dianna’s hard work was recognized, winning the Leah Award, which included an education bursary and a laptop. By the age of 18, she moved out, but it was not an entirely smooth transition.

“I thought it was going to be easy, but it was harder.” It has been a slow process, but Dianna says there was light at the end of the tunnel. Dianna’s son Adrian is now flourishing and he is currently attending French immersion school, participating in soccer, and is growing to become a thoughtful person who is her pride and joy. “He’s really hard working. He doesn’t want to fail at anything, so he tries his best, and I have to remind myself to be patient…. He reminds me that life is great.”

Dianna is independent and thriving but remains connected to Aunt Leah’s saying, “Well, everyone who works with Aunt Leah’s is positive and supportive. It’s really supportive, and the environment is really welcoming and warm. I continue to come because it’s a family.” Dianna does not have immediate family living in the province and Aunt Leah’s family model has been instrumental in letting her know she has someone here for her. “If I ever need anything, I can ask.”

“Well, everyone who works with Aunt Leah’s is positive and supportive. It’s really supportive, and the environment is really welcoming and warm. I continue to come because it’s a family.”

Now Dianna is looking at the next chapter with big goals as she is finishing her education requirements. “Education assistant, that’s my goal this year. I think I will finish upgrading by July, and then I can finally start my dreams of being an education assistant.” Dianna is also volunteering twice a week at a kids club, attends Aunt Leah’s on Tuesday’s Cooking club and is primed to become a mentor and role model showing participants what their future can be. Dianna explains, “I want to help young moms too because I’ve been there…I understand.” In the next ten years, Dianna hopes to help children and families by becoming a social worker and giving back, saying, “Hey, maybe I can work at Aunt Leah’s too.”

Special thanks to storyteller and writer, Tami Gabay for volunteering her time and talent to write this story.

Aunt Leah’s Place receives a $20,000 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund Grant to expand youth mental health counselling in partnership with Dan’s Legacy Foundation

October 24, 2019

NEW WESTMINSTER, October 24, 2019 – Aunt Leah’s Place is pleased to announce it has received a $20,000 grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to expand the capacity of its free clinical counselling program operated in partnership with Dan’s Legacy Foundation.

The Link: Mental Health Supports for Youth from Care program provides free counselling services and supports for youth in and from foster care with histories of abuse, neglect and mental health issues. Funding from Bell Let’s Talk will enable the program to expand its counselling hours, offering evening and weekend sessions at Aunt Leah’s Youth Hub Resource Centre.

“The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant allows Aunt Leah’s Place and Dan’s Legacy to continue our partnership and provide innovative mental health supports for youth in and from foster care,” said Sarah Stewart, Executive Director of Aunt Leah’s Place. “We are honoured to work with so many amazing young people each day and to have such a great partnership with Dan’s Legacy. We thank Bell Let’s Talk for supporting youth in and from foster care and helping them build brighter futures.”

“We’re proud of our longtime partnership with Aunt Leah’s Place and thrilled with this outstanding support from Bell Let’s Talk,” said Barbara Coates, Executive Director of Dan’s Legacy. “Working together has helped us expand our reach into the community, ensuring more at-risk youth receive critical counselling and wrap-around supports.”

Youth from foster care are at high risk for homelessness and lifelong mental health and addictions issues. Aunt Leah’s Place and Dan’s Legacy Foundation work together to provide wrap-around services to at-risk youth in the Lower Mainland who are either in foster care or aging out of foster care. For youth in transition, The Link works to provide a continuum of care and planning past age 19, closing the gap in mental health support services for at-risk youth requiring mental health counselling.

“Bell Let’s Talk is pleased to support Aunt Leah’s Place as they work with Dan’s Legacy Foundation to expand mental health counselling services for youth in the Lower Mainland,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Through the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund, we are helping over 120 organizations across Canada this year, like Aunt Leah’s Place, that are making a difference for people in their communities living with mental health issues.”

The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day and significant funding of community care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About Aunt Leah’s Place

Aunt Leah’s Place helps prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless and mothers in need from losing custody of their children. To support them on their journey to self-sufficiency, we provide supported housing, job training, and coaching on essential life skills.

About Dan’s Legacy

Dan’s Legacy provides therapeutic counselling and life-skills intervention programs to youth affected by trauma-based mental health and addictions issues. In the past four years Dan’s Legacy has helped over 300 youth meet their educational, housing and life goals.

For more information, please contact:

Lourdes Perez de Lara

Communication and Development Lead

604-525-1204 x233
[email protected]

IMAGE: From left to right: Tom Littlewood, Dan’s Legacy, Program Director; Sarah Stewart, Executive Director of Aunt Leah’s Place; Barbara Coates, Executive Director of Dan’s Legacy, and Andrea Lyman, Bell Ambassador

Vancouver Charity Combatting Youth Homelessness Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for the 2nd Year in a Row

October 24, 2018
Vancouver Charity Combatting Youth Homelessness Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for the 2nd Year in a Row

VANCOUVER, BC – Aunt Leah’s Place, a Metro Vancouver charity providing housing, education, job training and support for youth aging out of foster care and young moms and babies, has been selected by Charity Intelligence (Ci), for the 2nd year in a row, as one of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for 2018.

The 2018 Top 10 Impact Charities cover charities providing social services in Canada as well as international programs. Charity Intelligence’s rigorous analysis measures the “difference”, or the impact, charities make. Of the 125 Canadian charities that Charity Intelligence analysed for impact, Aunt Leah’s was evaluated as one of the Top 10 Impact Charities delivering returns of 6 times for every dollar donated.

“Aunt Leah’s Place is honoured to be chosen as a Top 10 Charity by Charity Intelligence. Our vision is to create an environment where all children connected to the foster care system have equal opportunities akin to their parented peers.” Says Executive Director Sara h Stewart. “One of the risks that youth aging out of foster care face is becoming homeless.”

The first youth homelessness Count in Metro Vancouver, conducted by the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association on behalf of Metro Vancouver, found that half of the 681 homeless youth surveyed are or were previously in foster care. “This count confirms what we know. Our young people from foster care have been struggling and continue to struggle once they age out.” Says Stewart.

The homelessness number corresponds with a University of Victoria report, Avoiding the Precipice, which found that almost half of kids in foster care will experience homelessness when they age of care at 19. In contrast, the study found that Aunt Leah’s services and supports helped former foster youth avoid homelessness and maintain market housing. The study showed that an average of 86% of Aunt Leah’s participants were safe, independent and in housing. In 2016, 93% of moms leaving the Aunt Leah’s Threshold Program, a unique program that provides housing and support for homeless moms and their children, secured safe housing and maintained custody of their children.

According to Greg Thomson, Director of Research at Charity Intelligence, “Social impact is primarily about changing lives and Aunt Leah’s is very cost-effectively changing lives in two main ways. First, it breaks the cycle of foster care by supporting young mothers and preventing their babies from going into foster care. And second, it helps bridge the gap for kids who “age-out” of the foster system with housing and finding jobs. Charity Intelligence finds Aunt Leah’s to be a High Impact charity.”

Stewart is hopeful that some of the government initiatives that have recently been introduced for foster kids aging out of care will produce better outcomes for this vulnerable population.

“Exciting things have been happening for youth in and from foster care in BC this past year. The province has provided a tuition waiver for youth from care at all public post-secondary institutions. This has allowed for more young people from foster care to attend university or college.”

Braydon Chapelas, a foster youth advocate and former foster youth himself is appreciative of the tuition assistance and the support that Aunt Leah’s provided him when he was leaving the foster system. Aunt Leah’s Support Link program provided him with essential skills training to live on his own. Aunt Leah’s also helped him by providing housing and other supports which enabled him to finish high school and enroll in university. Braydon is now a fashion marketing student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and works part time at Aunt Leah’s as the Communications and Marketing Assistant. Braydon recently attended the Policy Solutions rally in Victoria advocating for a universal and comprehensive agreements for all youth aging out of care in BC. “Expanding supports for youth who age out of care in BC is crucial to combat youth homelessness and support them to reach their potential.” Says Chapelas.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, Aunt Leah’s has a long tradition of social entrepreneurship, operating several businesses which both give employment opportunities to youth from care and generate almost 20% of its annual revenue.

Aunt Leah’s Tree Lots, opening November 23rd in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam are the biggest revenue generators for the organization 100% of profits from the sale of the trees goes to support the housing programs. In addition Aunt Leah’s youth gain valuable job experience working on the lots.

“Our customers love the fact that they can help provide housing for vulnerable youth and young moms and babies by just buying a Christmas tree.” says Angelina Oates, Tree Lot Coordinator. “For a lot of families an Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree is a cherished part of their Christmas tradition.”

Christmas Tree Lots

About Charity Intelligence:

Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors. Charity Intelligence’s website (www.charityintelligence.ca) reviews and rates over 750 Canadian charities as well as providing in-depth reports on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness.

Newsletter 2018

April 24, 2018

Inside this issue: In this newsletter, we share with you Devon’s success story and the importance of food security programs. You will also find an interview to Martha, a former youth from care that will change and enrich your perspective on youth from care.

Our 2018 Spring Newsletter Stories:

  • Devon’s Story – Helping Youth Secure Their Next Meal
  • There Isn’t Just One Narrative of Foster Care – A Conversation with Martha (Youth From Care)
  • Funder Spotlight: Central City Foundation

Read Issue

Aunt Leah’s Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities

October 24, 2017
Vancouver Charity Combatting Youth Homelessness Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities

VANCOUVER, BC – Aunt Leah’s Place, a Metro Vancouver charity providing housing and support for youth aging out of foster care and young moms and babies, has been selected as one of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for 2017 by Charity Intelligence (Ci).

Charity Intelligence has picked the Top Ten 10 most effective Canadian charities that combat issues such as hunger, homelessness, health, and improving education. According to Ci’s Director of Research, Greg Thomson, “High impact charities are likely to be the most effective at changing lives. For your dollar, these charities are creating the most positive change we have seen These 10 high-impact charities, as a group, are likely to produce over $600 in value from a $100 gift!”

“What we do at Aunt Leah’s is to stop the cycle of homelessness and foster care by providing housing and a family-like support system for youth who are aging out of foster care and for young moms.” Says Executive Director Sarah Stewart, “Without a supportive home to go to, these moms—many of whom were foster kids themselves– would be homeless and lose their babies to the foster care system.”

It is estimated that half of BC foster youth will experience homelessness. The University of Victoria report, Avoiding the Precipice, found that Aunt Leah’s services and supports helped former foster youth avoid homelessness and maintain market housing. According to the study an average of 86% of Aunt Leah’s participants were safe, independent and in housing. In 2016, 93% of moms leaving the Aunt Leah’s Threshold Program, a unique program that provides housing and support for homeless moms and their children, secured safe housing and maintained custody of their children.

A recent report, OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSITION: An Economic Analysis of Investing in Youth Aging out of Foster Care in their 20s states “Support for social and community connections should recognize the role of service organizations in assisting youth aging out of care find and maintain adequate housing… An evaluation of Aunt Leah’s Link program found that it successfully helped youth aging out of care work through housing issues.”

The report demonstrates the cost benefit of supporting this vulnerable population. Annual costs of up to $268 million are associated with the adverse experiences many youth aging out of foster care at 19 encounter, while a much lower level of investment – $57 million per year – would be required to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Aunt Leah’s is looking forward to having even greater impact going forward.

They have recently partnered with BC Housing to acquire ownership of a 10-unit apartment building and a five bedroom home, giving them increased capacity to provide affordable housing to youth from foster care and moms from care and their babies.

Marcia Tait is one of those moms who has benefited from Aunt Leah’s support. Marcia came to the Thresholds program on a cold day in February of 2015. The staff listened to Marcia’s story and assured her that this was the place she needed to be. She moved into Thresholds a few days later.

Today Marcia and her youngest daughter, who she is now reunited with, are living independently in their own apartment and Marcia acts as a Peer Mentor for Threshold’s current and past moms.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, Aunt Leah’s has a long tradition of social entrepreneurship, operating several businesses which both give employment opportunities to youth from care and generate almost 20% of its annual revenue.

The biggest revenue generator is the Aunt Leah’s Tree Lots which are now open in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam. One hundred per cent of profits from the sale of the trees go to support the housing programs. In addition Aunt Leah’s youth gain valuable job experience working on the lots.

“Our customers love the fact that they can help provide housing for vulnerable youth and young moms and babies by just buying a Christmas tree.” says Angelina Oates, Tree Lot Coordinator. “For a lot of families an Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree is a cherished part of their Christmas tradition.” Christmas Tree Lots

Newsletter Spring 2017

April 24, 2017

Inside this issue: In this newsletter, we show how your support helped Desiree find a great career. Desiree’s story reminds us what happens when we surround young people with support and encourage them to pursue their goals. Along with Desiree’s story, our 2017 Spring Newsletter highlights:

  • A Conversation with Gale Stewart, Aunt Leah’s Founder
  • Celebrating The Links 10th Anniversary
  • Donor Spotlight: John Hardie Mitchell Family Foundation

Read Issue

Newsletter Spring 2016

April 24, 2016

Inside this issue: In this newsletter we recognize Jason Preece, president of our Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), Peer Specialist at Aunt Leah’s Place, and Advocate for foster children. His story and his leadership are truly inspiring. Jason demonstrates what happens when we encourage young people to be healthy and strong. Along with Jason’s story, our March Newsletter highlights:

  • The YAC’s unforgettable Canoe Journey
  • Aunt Leah’s Trees 2015 record breaking year of sales!
  • The Friendly Landlord Network, our new collaborative housing initiative

Read Issue

Newsletter Spring 2015

April 24, 2015

Inside this issue: We highlight Andii’s experience and the difficulties of aging out of care. Along with Andii’s story, our 2015 Spring Newsletter highlights:

  • The Link: Housing First
  • Volunteer Highlight: Eva
  • Essential Skills Weekly Program
  • Avoiding the Precipice: A UVIC Study

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Newsletter Spring 2014

April 24, 2014

Inside this issue: We highlight Shaelyn’s story of courage and growth. Along with Shaelyn’s story, our 2014 Spring Newsletter highlights:

  • Volunteer & Donor Spotlight: Bridget’s Story
  • An exciting move to a new home
  • SEFFY: Equipping foster youth for postsecondary education

Read Issue