Meaningful Youth Volunteerism in Surrey Food Systems

Public Health Association of BC (PHABC)

The Public Health Association of BC (PHABC) carried out a study on youth volunteerism in local food systems in BC.

The Public Health Association of BC (PHABC) has been investigating evidence from around the globe, contributing to the mental wellbeing of children and youth. A discovery dialogue about how this evidence applies in the British Columbia context was conducted and while social isolation was always a factor it has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. PHABC’s Best Brains Exchange forum and health authority networking dialogues conducted with funding from the Pacific Foundation for Public Health, highlight the importance of youth engagement, including volunteering, as crucial for enhancing youth mental wellbeing and empowerment.

Youth from equity-seeking groups may encounter challenges accessing formal volunteer placements, facing different experiences compared to non-equity-seeking groups. Determinants such as housing, education, income, the built environment, and social inclusion are perceived barriers.

Our project focused on understanding the challenges and opportunities for underserved youth in Surrey. The mixed methods approach taken for this investigation included, a survey, targeted focus groups and support from partner organizations to reach eligible youth. Participant numbers were modest, despite employing a range of communication strategies and incentives. Even so, these early findings are compelling, and more extensive studies with larger sample sizes are needed post-COVID-19 to more fully understand youth perspectives and experiences with volunteering from the margins.

This report contributes to our ongoing mission to understand, protect, and support youth in our changing society. Findings and recommendations align with our broader investigation into youth engagement and participation.

To learn more about this research project and its findings, view the entire body of work here:

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