Rick’s Heart Foundation is proud to be a supporter of the NASKARZ program. The below provides a glimpse of the reality for our local youth here in the greater Vancouver area. 

Riding it out

At 3 am in the morning when most of us are home in a warm bed some youth are “Riding it Out”. I was shocked that most of the youth in the group even knew what it meant, and some had even done it.

It was explained to me that the bus is warm and once on with a bus pass you can ride till the last stop get off and do it again. The driver will help you and it is a safe shelter from abuse at home.

The youth I question was placed in care as a result of the abuse of his alcoholic father’s neglect and assaults. The youth was one of the kids that I always enjoyed being around. He has a great sense of humor and a happy disposition. I have touched base with him over the years just to make sure he is okay. The years of abuse took a toll on him but he is in a healthy place now.

Image the alternative some of the youth are not as lucky and turn to substances to dull that sort of pain. Many loss their lives to the streets. Very few make it through that sort of situation in good shape. Some drop out of school, some drop out of society or are lost to mental health issue or suicide. None of them come out clean on the other side.  Those that do better have a mentor or relative that steps in to help and ensure that they are looked after. This is why after school mentorship programs have such great success. They help bridge that gap and navigate the pit falls of this uncertain time in their lives, provide guidance which helps them manage the step into adulthood.

Please help support youth mentorship programs so youth can have less time on the bus riding it out and more nights in a safe warm place.

If you wish to support NASKARZ and help our youth please contact Raycam Cooperative Community Centre.

Tim Houchen Sergeant 1823, Founder of the NASKARZ Program 

NASKARZ is an award-winning program designed to promote social inclusion of young people from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside into automotive, social, and educational opportunities. NASKARZ is a partnership between Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre, Vancouver Community College, and Vancouver Police Department. Insurance Corporation of BC credits NASKARZ as one of the initiatives that led to 71% multiyear reduction in car-theft in Vancouver.

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