Nanaimo Youth Services Association

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Our Mission: Provide youth with meaningful connections and integrated opportunities for learning, development and independence.

 

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Jemma R.

(name and some details changed to protect identity)

Jemma signed up for one of our employment programs focused on culinary skills a couple of years ago. She is a likable, funny, loud and vulgar personality with lots of energy. While she appeared ideal for the program, it wasn’t long before she began verbally belittling other students in the room. Two males in the same program called her out one afternoon when her abuse got out of hand and told her with equally vulgar language that she should leave the others alone or they would take matters into their own hands. The facilitator regained control over the class and asked Jemma to visit with him in his office.

Jemma confessed to having problems with drugs and alcohol and chalked her behaviour up to partying the night before – she was hung-over and felt awful. She apologized to the girl that she had bullied. Two days later, another incident of verbal bullying occurred and the facilitator removed Jemma from the room and asked her to withdraw from the class.

Jemma immediately broke down and said that she needed to finish the course so that she could find a job and a place to live where she wouldn’t be found – she was a victim of human trafficking, recruited in Campbell River and shipped to Vancouver where she was a private party prostitute for 18 months. She had escaped from Vancouver to Nanaimo only days before joining the class.

Jemma was given one more chance, successfully completed the program and was hired by a local restaurant. She has worked her way up to assistant kitchen manager after a year. Still dealing with infrequent bouts of alcohol misuse, Jemma is in a long-term, happy relationship with another woman.

Your support helps youth like Jemma to become full participating members of our community. The average cost of providing a job training program to a youth is approximately $11,000. This provides trainers, curriculum, study materials, breakfasts and snacks, minimum wage while being trained and often, can even provide work boots, tools or other items needed before a youth can go to work.

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