Better everyday lives
for young adults in
our region.

Nanaimo Youth Services Association understands that before many young people are ready to receive help with getting a job, they must have permanent, safe and secure housing.

This understanding is what drives the organization to provide the services that it does: housing, and life skills, job readiness, personal development and driver training programs and other supports. Each is tailored to respond to the parts of a youth’s life where help is desperately needed.


Provide support and opportunities for learning, personal development and independence to youth aged 16 to 30.


Fiscal 2022 was the second year that NYSA faced the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our operation had stayed open and served Nanaimo youth through 2021, so we had become comfortable operating in that circumstance. Our programs operated at near capacity while our finances continued to improve somewhat. We were fortunate to be able to move the agency fully onto the Microsoft 365 platform with new laptop computers, which allows staff to work from nearly anywhere if they had the need to do so. The move also lowered NYSA’s technology costs notably while making our network and data much more secure.

The agency’s finances continued to improve in fiscal 2022. Our revenue and expenses both increased due largely to increased activity in all parts of the operation and we showed a surplus of $123,876 at year-end. We also moved our telephone system to a cellular-based system. Almost all employees have NYSA cell phones so calls are routed to the cell and can be answered anywhere there is cell coverage. This has cut down on telephone costs while providing employees with the ability to work seamlessly from home or elsewhere.

Looking at our mission circumstance, we need to be doing more to address the needs of youth who are homelessness or at-risk-of-homelessness as this challenge continues to grow year over year. Before NYSA can effectively provide youth with skills enhancements, permanent secure homes must be available to them.
For the most part, homeless adults have made decisions that caused them to become homeless – young people are homeless because an adult in their lives made decisions that forced them into the situation. NYSA plans to tackle this challenge going forward.

Looking into 2023, it is clear that inflation, staffing shortages, supply chain issues and other challenges that we hear about regularly are affecting NYSA’s work. As well, our DiverseFutures contract with the Government of Canada comes to an end March 31, 2023. While we expect that a new Request for Proposals will be forthcoming, it has not been released at the date of this writing (November 2022). NYSA believes it will submit a new proposal if the conditions of delivery have not changed to become more restrictive.

Once again, the success of the organization is due to the continued commitment of NYSA’s employees. The demands of nonprofit work, especially in the area of social service, are stressful, demanding and often ignore standard office hours. NYSA staff have embraced this situation and show their passion through the good work that is accomplished. I thank them for their work and I am pleased to be able to work beside them.

Keith Wilson
Chief Administrative Officer

2022 at a glance


















our programs



BladeRunners is a provincially funded employment training program that provides life skills and job readiness training to youth ages 16 to 30. The goal of the program is to help youth with employment challenges succeed in the local job market.


DiverseFutures is a youth employment program funded in-part by the Government of Canada – Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) Program. The program is for youth, ages 16 to 30 years, who seek a clear path to full-time employment.


RentSmart builds capacity and is empowering. Being a good tenant is not an innate skill but is a combination of different skills that can be learned: legal rights and responsibilities, financial management, communication and maintenance skills. Youth graduate with a thorough knowledge of renting and a recognized reference letter.


NYSA’s L2N program matches learner drivers aged 16 to 29 with a supervising driver to help them get the hours of dr iving practice needed to get their N license. This program is a partnership between NYSA and Snuneymuxw First Nation.


The Supporting Young Families program supports young parents (between the ages of 15 and 30) navigating pregnancy, birth, and post-partum. A resource guide with information regarding pregnancy, supporting and caring for a newborn baby, and daycare options is also provided. From Monday to Friday, a donation room is available at our Bastion Street location with diapers, formula, clothes, strollers and more!



NYSA’s Youth Housing Centre provides safe, supportive and affordable housing and personal development options to young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years old.

Applicants are assessed on their current requirement for housing based on specific criteria, including the applicant’s need, safety concerns, current living situation, and ability to pay toward the actual cost of housing. Applicants for Waddington also must be willing to participate in NYSA’s life skills and personal development programming. Their progress through the programming determines the amount of personal discretion they are permitted.

The Housing Centre focuses on administration and operation of two buildings in the Nanaimo area. All housing units are drug, alcohol, and violence-free environments and have strict policies in place that could result in eviction should tenants not follow house rules.


roughing it 2022


Over NYSA’s 53-year history, it has become apparent that youth homelessness continues to be on the rise. This is illustrated in statistics which show that between the ages of 13-24, there are over 100 youth who are without a home in Nanaimo on any given day. To address the issue of youth homelessness in our community, NYSA created an event to bring awareness of youth homelessness to Nanaimo’s politicians, media, business community and the public-at-large. By involving these groups and asking for teams to sponsor their way into the event, we aimed to bring a much-needed focus to youth homelessness in the mid-island region, as well as raise funds to provide additional programming and support to NYSA’s existing and future housing programs and residents. To develop this event, NYSA borrowed heavily from similar events run by Covenant House in Vancouver and Toronto.

On Friday September 23, 2022, approximately 100 members of the community joined NYSA staff at Harewood Centennial Park for a night of eye-opening experiences and education about youth homelessness. The night began with dinner provided in a “Beggar’s Banquet” manner, where participants drew tickets at random upon their arrival which assigned them to high – middle – or low-income tier (based on the latest statistics about poverty in Canada). Our master of ceremonies for the event then guided participants through this interactive experience, highlighting the disparity among the Canadian population. Following dinner, the event featured National guest speaker Skid Row Joe (Joe Roberts), who was a homeless youth who once resided on the streets of Vancouver’s east side. Through perseverance, determination and his resilient human spirit, Joe pulled himself out of the darkness and despair to become a highly respected business and community leader. To place further emphasis on what it is actually like to be a homeless youth in the Nanaimo region, three youth shared their stories and testaments about their experiences on the streets, and how because of the support from service providers like NYSA, they were given an opportunity to change their life stories. Other activities throughout the evening included: Canadian youth homeless trivia, live musical entertainment, a silent auction, and additional food items for sale for those who didn’t get enough to eat earlier. The evening concluded with participants being given a piece of cardboard to sleep on, so they too could experience what over 100 youth in Nanaimo face every day. The following morning participants were awakened at 6 am, served breakfast and provided an opportunity to debrief about their overnight experiences before the event concluded.

Based on the feedback provided by the participants, our first annual Roughing It Event was a successful one. To further illustrate the events success, NYSA’s total proceeds from the event exceeded the goal of $50,000 by reaching over $57,700. To continue to address the youth homeless crisis in the mid-island region, NYSA’s Roughing It event, will be held yearly. The next Roughing It Event is scheduled for Friday September 22, 2023, at Harewood Centennial Park.




IN 2021-2022, WE RAISED
$1.53 M for programs
$0.33 M for operating expenses

IN 2021-2022, WE SPENT
$1.26 M on programming
$0.48 M on operating expenses

$1, 132,550 2022
$1, 008,674 2021
$795,020 2020



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Allan Beaudry, Chair

Don Stedeford, Secretary

Kali Friday, Treasurer

Leana Pellegrin, Director

Sheila White, Director


Chris Lakusta Director, Housing & Supportive Living

Amanda Pitts Outreach Support Worker

Michelle Ripka Outreach Support Worker

Samantha Mason Outreach Support Worker

Brianna Purdy Housing Coordinator

Greg Birch Housing Assistant

Kourtni Dzugan Residential Housing Worker

Jeremy Stoeklin Residential Housing Worker

Ben Charlton Manager, Facilities

Emma Bruschetta Director, BladeRunners

Eleanor Funk Comox Valley Coordinator, BladeRunners

Berani Fielding Director, DiverseFutures

Anthony Maki Job Coach & L2N Coordinator

Les Pangborne-LaHue L2N Driver Accompanist

Lindsay Rathjen Bookkeeper

Allison Evans Controller

Amy Worth Director, Communications & Development

Keith Wilson Chief Administrative Officer

290 Bastion Street

Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R 3A4