Coast Capital Savings and Vancity Buzz are celebrating Youth Week BC by highlighting the stories of outstanding young people in our communities. These leaders have built a richer future for themselves, their peers, and their communities as a whole.
Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program empowers young people to get involved in their communities.
This innovative community investment program – which sees 7% of the credit union’s pre-tax profits reinvested in their communities – is focused on programs that help youth with financial empowerment, healthy minds, and educational success.
Vancity Buzz had a chance to sit down with five inspiring young people who have benefited from Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program to talk about how it’s changed their lives.
We had the opportunity to chat with Emily Goncalves, an ambitious student who’s working hard to finish 60 credits so she can apply to finish her degree in social work. She thanks the Youth Futures Education Fund for her ability to pursue her education and dreams.
Tell us a bit about your experiences with the Youth Futures Education Fund
I wouldn’t be going to school without it. I am incredibly thankful that there’s even as much support from donors as there is. It’s amazing. And it’s helping young people get something so valuable – an education. I can’t stress how important the Youth Futures Education Fund is. I love school and the fund has invested into both my future and others’.
How did you get started with the Youth Futures Education Fund, and how have you benefited from it?
To be honest, I received an email. It said I was accepted with a waiver for tuition and I was so happy that I lost it. I went to school the next day to meet with a counsellor to make sure it was actually for me and I teared up when I was assured it was. Getting into school was the start. Then I went to the orientation. I realized books cost money. Also realized rent is expensive and going to school means less work. Without this fund, school would just be another huge money stress in life. This fund enables me to be able to take more classes because my books are paid for and my rent is covered on days I have to take off for class. Basically, it enables me to make school a priority which it is and I’m so thankful it can be!
Why do you think it’s important for youth to be supported with programs like these?
It’s important because education is so important. It’s important to better your life by making connections and friendships. Education helps shape your personality and the end goal is to eventually work for something you’re passionate about.
Who do you look up to?
My mum, Gladys Venn. She saved me, my sisters, and countless other children in the system. I hope to be as loving and passionate so I can help others the way she has.
What words of wisdom would you offer your peers?
To my friends: education is important. Whether you need to go back or just start…just go, make it happen. To my fellow students: oh man. Keep at it. Sometimes writing that paper or studying for that test is going to cause you tears for a week, but always remember that you’re working toward your passion and that’s what’s important at the end of the day.
Looking five or 10 years ahead, what’s the dream?
The dream! Working with youth and/or families. I want to better the lives of the community around me. I want to ensure every child in the system has a voice and someone to talk to.
What’s the most important life lesson you have learned?
That being compassionate and loving people in the best way you can is the most important thing in life. Always trying your best counts.
What community organizations have helped you develop and grow?
Nightshift in Surrey changed my life. Nightshift is an organization that feeds and clothes the homeless late nights on the streets of Surrey. It was so wicked to be a part of it. Google it! Nightshift is still changing lives.
If you’re interested in learning more about Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program, click here. Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program supports a variety of youth-focused initiatives. This includes the credit union’s signature programs like its Youth Team, and Young Leaders Community Councils. In addition, initiatives such as SFU Venture Connection Program, Youth Futures Education Fund and Tradeworks for Women in the Trades benefit from the Youth Get It investment program.