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The Young Ideas Mandate

To animate events, activities and workshops, as a means of facilitating connection and opportunities for relationship building, with a particular focus on 20 to 39 year olds who live, work or volunteer in Vancouver’s West End.

Contact:

Jim Balakshin, Young Ideas Coordinator at jim@gordonhouse.org

Or 604-683-2554 ext. 206

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Background

Connection and engagement are at the heart of the neighbourhood house movement. For over 70 years, Gordon Neighbourhood House has long played an integral role in Vancouver’s West End by providing affordable and accessible programs in an effort to forge meaningful relationships between community members. It recognizes the importance of these relationships not just for the individual, but also for the community at large. When we build connections with others, we increase engagement, which is critical in creating healthy, vibrant and livable communities for all.

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There are negative consequences for the entire community when members experience social isolation and/or loneliness. People who feel lonely are more likely to feel unwelcome in their neighbourhoods and skeptical about community trust. Residents are also less likely to participate in activities that make their community a better place to live. Furthermore, there is a large body of research that links social isolation to poor health. Lonely people suffer more depression, heart disease, sleeping problems, high blood pressure and even increased risk of dementia in older age (Vancouver Foundation 2012). Neighbourhood Houses are key community assets as they actively work to provide programming that encourages those members of its community to participate in meaningful activities where they can connect authentically with one another.

The Vancouver Foundations’ survey in 2012 around connection and engagement suggested that:

41% of young adults in Metro Vancouver find it difficult to make friends

33% say they feel more alone than they would like to be

In the West End, 48% of residents are between the ages of 20 and 39. As a result, Gordon Neighbourhood House has launched the Young Ideas (YI) initiative. The YI Initiative is a group of volunteers who organize events, activities and workshops focused on facilitating opportunities for connection of those in our community that are between the ages of 20 and 39. Young Ideas have hosted soccer at the beach meet-ups, a 90s hip-hop themed pop-up pub and drag queen bingo. The Young ideas program continues to gain momentum as the number of participants increase with each event and activity.