Engaged Immigrant Youth

Engaged Immigrant Youth logo

The Engaged Immigrant Youth Program is dedicated to working with school communities to support youth to stay in school and improve their chances of pursuing meaningful employment and educational opportunities.

  1. Meet new friends!
  2. Get your Volunteer Hours
  3. Be a part of leadership projects that use DJing, Food, Photography, Film, Sports, Theatre, Social Activism, and Art!
  4. Practice your English
  5. Prepare for life after high school
  6. Connect with Youth Workers
  7. Explore Vancouver
  8. FUN!
  9. FOOD!

Download the Engaged Immigrant Youth Program brochure (also available in Tagalog) to refer a youth or if you are a youth and are interested in learning more.

Youth who move to Canada as older teens face a number of challenges which may prevent them from connecting fully with their school and community. These challenges include learning English, the complexities of a new culture, the demands of school work, and making new friendships at school.

The Engaged Immigrant Youth program targets immigrant youth in grades 10, 11 and 12 attending VSB schools. New immigrant and refugee youth in these grades are often at risk for not completing secondary school due to their lack of engagement with their school.  

Students in the program come from different backgrounds including those new to the Vancouver school system and youth who have been in Canada for several years but are having difficulty staying in school.

At present the program is serving over 300 youth throughout the school district with over 180 youth completing action plans with the help of their Youth Workers to reach their personal and career goals.

The program provides opportunities for students to participate in activities during lunch time, after school and weekends. Youth workers help the students to improve their English skills and build leadership skills while enjoying recreational and cultural activities with their peers. At the same time the program aims to help youth develop the confidence and skills needed to complete their academic goals including achieving a high school diploma.

Key to the success of the program is the small group size (20 students or less) allowing youth workers to give one-on-one support to the youth and for youth to feel comfortable in sharing their experiences.

A weekly homework club is held at the District Reception and Placement Centre (DRPC) and each of the participating schools hold activities twice a week. They also offer tutoring and trauma counseling which is important in achieving personal goals.

Students are referred to the program when registering as new students with the DRPC, through the Settlement Workers in School (SWIS) and Multicultural Liaison workers in their schools, or by teachers and ESL department heads. Youth can also enroll with their parent’s consent.


In addition to building personal skills to feel more equipped to deal with life's challenges, EIYP youth are guided by their Youth Workers to engage in a leadership project of their choice. In addition to helping youth build confidence, connect with other communities, and develop skills and aptitude, these projects are completely driven by youth interest and often lead to social change in school and community environments with immigrant and refugee youth at the forefront of that change. Below you will find an impressive list of projects that EIYP youth and Youth Workers have initiated.  

This year, with a community partner and in collaboration with the SWIS and MCLW teams, 12 youth came together and created this song in just 2-hours!  It's an example of the kind of collaborative and creative efforts made by newcomer youth throughout our district!  Enjoy the song "Bring the Beat Back".  

Killarney  ELL Parent Night Speech Presented by Abish Rose

October 26, 2013

Hi everyone! My name is Abish Rose. I came from the Philippines. I also experienced being an ESL student. Last year I was in ESL Level 3 and I was in grade 9 but now I moved out from ESL to regular. Many things helped me improve my skills like doing my homework, reading books, attending classes everyday, and I also joined an after school program. It is called Engaged Immigrant Youth Program. Being part of that program helped me built my confidence and improve my skills by communicating to others in English. I also learned new things about Canada and develop my Leadership skills and experienced to be a real leader to others. For the students who are here no matter what you do don't give up and try your best to achieve your goals. I know that your parents are always at your side to encourage you and to develop your self-confidence to do new things and achieve something you really wanted. For all the parents continue to support your children to be successful and understand that they're going through adjustment period.

üEIYP @ WINDERMERE plan and deliver a MUSIC VIDEO and INDEPENDENT LYRICS to explore a very difficult issue that youth struggle with.  Thank you to the expertise of Heartcore!

Please click here for the music.


I know where I'm supposed to

I'm not blind, I can see

I am right, this the light

I am strong, I'm moving on


üEIYP @ JOHN OLIVER plan and deliver a Basketball Tournament engaging over 70 youth from 4 Vancouver secondary schools. 

Engaged Immigrant Youth Program - Basketball Tournament

üEIYP YOUTH find a tasty way to apply their talents in farming and agriculture.





üEIYP  @ KILLARNEY showcase their talents in acting, script-writing, graphic design, workshop development,and community engagement.





üEIYP @ WINDERMERE strikes again with creative lyrics that fight racism with style and rhythm


üEIYP @  WINDERMERE take us back to the roots of graffiti


üEIYP YOUTH show us how youth-led leadership leads to creative social change.


Going Green  





Culture & Belonging   





Health & Well Being





üEIYP YOUTH works with CBC to highlight the experience of immigrant youth making friends in high school.





 üEIYP @ DAVID THOMPSON works with the Canadian Red Cross and REEL Youth are part of the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival.


 üEIYP @ BRITANNIA youth reflect on what it’s like to a be a refugee in Canada and share their insights with Mayors, Ministers, and Members of Parliament on how we can improve the issues that are faced by new families and their children

Click here for a copy of the letters. We thank Diane Watts, Libby Davies, and Jason Kenney for their responses.

Our Youth Are:

  • Immigrants and refugees
  • In grades 10, 11, 12
  • Ages 15 – 19

Personal Development 

  • Personal goal setting
  • Confidence building
  • Harm reduction
  • Cross-cultural events and activities
  • Field trips

Our Focus

  • Personal development
  • Leadership
  • Meaningful transitions
  • Decision-making
  • Problem Solving
  • Volunteerism
  • Community Connectedness
  • School Connectedness


  • Make new friends
  • Explore the city and get involved
  • Discover your talents
  • Make a plan that works for YOU
  • Be a leader
  • Take advantage of volunteer, employment, adult  education and college/university opportunities

Meaningful Transitions

  • Workplace Literacy
  • Job Search Skills
  • Volunteering
  • Post Secondary Access
  • Adult Education
  • Alternative Education
  • Trauma counseling and tutoring can be provided to youth in need



For more information on the program contact:

Jennifer Reddy
Program Coordinator
Phone: 604-379-3762
Email: jreddy@vsb.bc.ca

Jennifer's Bio - I love to work with young people because they are creative and inspiring, this is what drives me to work with the Engaged Immigrant Youth Program (EIYP).  I enjoy building relationships with young people in order to help them build thier confidence, discover their talents, and explore their future selves.  There are so many opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of as a Canadian including studying abroad to obtain a Masters degree to help me develop programs for communities.  I hope to guide other young people to take advantage of the same opportunities that I did!


Adrian Bontuyan
Youth Worker
Phone: 778-229-9719
Email: abontuyan@vsb.bc.ca

Adrian's Bio - Inspiring young people to achieve their dreams has always been my passion.  For over 10 years of working with youth, I have always been amazed seeing the diverse talents and skill that each youth possessed and developed.  I have a background in counselling and mentoring from the Philippines.  In addition, I have completed the Career Development Practice Certificate from Douglas College in 2011.  I count it as a privilege to be able to use my training, skills and experience to support immigrant youth flourish and thrive in Canada.


Vicky Ma
Youth Worker 
Phone: 604-379-3765
Email: vwma@vsb.bc.ca

Vicky's Bio - Making connections with young people is definitely the part that I am looking forward to now that I have joined EIYP!  I was born and raised in Hong Kong and arrived in Vancouver as a Grade-12 international student.  Taking on a new cultural identity is never the easiest task in the world.  As a Registered Clinical Counsellor, my training focuses on supporting young people to consolidate their self-esteem and foster their sense of belonging in the community.  I enjoy working with students and I love the energy and creativity involved in every unique individual! 


Download the Engaged Immigrant Youth 2011-2012 Year End Brief report for an overview of program achievements in the 2011-2012 school year.


Engaged Immigrant Youth office is located at District Reception and Placement Centre
1000 East 59th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., V5X 1Y7