Big Ideas: $100,000

Description


Young people are witnessing environmental destruction, world conflict with a record number of refugees, wider discrepancy between haves and have-nots and an economy that holds little opportunity for those wanting to enter the workforce. They are asking fundamental questions about their place in today’s world.

How can I live sustainably, using just the resources I need?
How can I move forward in my life and learn marketable skills when opportunities are so few?
How can I find my own voice and positively contribute to my community?
Where can I be supported in exploring my identity and spiritual ideals?

Young Adult Program
Founded in 1963 as a Canadian charity and active learning centre in southeastern British Columbia, our purpose is to stimulate open personal and spiritual enquiry, supporting the potential of transformation in each person. Twenty-three years ago we listened to young people explaining the challenges they were facing. And in response, we created the Young Adult Program: an opportunity for personal exploration, skill development and growth in a safe, supportive intergenerational community. We welcome young people from around the world from different cultures, races, sexual orientation and faiths. The program is designed to give them tools to build a solid foundation for the present and future.

Forty-three young adults have been accepted into the program for this year. The cost to the Ashram to host a young adult for a month is $1200. Previously, participants contributed up to half of the fee with an option for a further bursary. Because youth are experiencing more financial hardship, we offered the program free in 2018. We want this valuable program to continue to be financially accessible for youth and as a charity we are seeking funding options to ensure it will be sustainable in the future.

How We Support Youth
Through an application and interview process, youth commit to the one-month program and have the option to extend. Participants work in many areas of the Ashram (kitchen, grounds, garden, repair and maintenance and hospitality), receiving guidance and direction from long-term residents. The young people bring their skills and develop new ones as they learn to offer service along with taking personal responsibility for actions and choices. We support the best aspects in each other while encouraging and teaching:

Practical skills (organic gardening, hospitality, cooking, technology)
Good communication skills
Healthy conflict resolution
Team participation
Leadership abilities
Action that serves community

An Ashram liaison is assigned to each participant, offering support in transitioning to the community, answering questions and encouraging each person’s focus on her/his own development. The program also includes two weekly reflection classes focused on tools to expand personal exploration and growth.


Benefits in Action
Examples of how program participants have applied their learnings after leaving the program include:

Returning to university to finish degrees
Starting businesses (eg, musical instrument repairs, house cleaning, landscaping)
Pursuing musical talent and training to become Music Therapists
Training to be counsellors
Applying learned communication skills to improve family/friend/work relationships
Getting their first full-time jobs

Our organization is committed to being a model for sustainable living, ensuring the Ashram is environmentally resilient and an inspiration to young people We engage in organic farming, food security and preserving, and respect the land on which we live.

Employment for Young Adults
In addition to the Young Adult Program, we employ local young people to help support our day-to-day needs in hospitality, kitchen and garden. For most, this is their first steady employment experience in a supportive learning environment, offering them solid skill development and references for when they enter the workforce.

Broker supported
KOOTENAY INSURANCE SERVICES LTD.
H.G. INSURANCE AGENCIES LTD.

Yasodhara Ashram Society

Location: Kootenay Bay