Valley Youth Partnership for Engagement and Respect (VYPER)
Valley Youth Partnership for Engagement and Respect (VYPER) is a Health Canada-funded youth adult collaborative project running across the Fraser Health region (Burnaby to Boston Bar) of British Columbia. The project’s ultimate aim is to delay, reduce and prevent illicit and non-prescribed drug use and related harm among youth (age 12-24).
VYPER approaches youth substance use through the lens of the social determinants of health. In so doing, it acknowledges that substance use and especially substance use-related harm requires a response that considers the complex interplay between environmental conditions, cultural and historical contexts, and personal and interpersonal factors.
Goals: VYPER has three overarching goals:
- support youth resilience by strengthening and expanding collaborative, respectful relationships with responsible, caring peers and adults;
- build supportive environments that open space for youth to explore and re-evaluate their social and personal identities – moving toward self-assigned preferred identities that are based on personal strengths and capabilities;
- co-create a range of meaningful youth roles and responsibilities that support the development of a sense of self-efficacy (gaining more control over the decisions that affect their lives) and reduce fatalism (creating opportunities to discover a more positive outlook for the future).
Priority Areas: VYPER’s five priority areas are:
- Youth Engagement,
- School Capacity Building,
- Caregiver Engagement & Education,
- Community Champion Engagement & Capacity Building,
- Knowledge Exchange/Communities of Practice.
Community Behaviour Legacies:
In the spirit of beginning with the end in mind, VYPER aims to leave a legacy of two enhanced and sustained community behaviours:
- behaviours that are more-consistently about collaboration with youth when it comes to youth-related program initiation, development, delivery and evaluation – especially programs that are:
- youth-directed, adult facilitated (Youth-Led Collaboration);
- adult-directed, youth-facilitated (Adult-Led Collaboration), and
- youth-adult partnerships (YAP)
- behaviours that innovatively activate and leverage diverse and overlooked resources across the urban, urban-adjacent and rural communities of the Fraser Health region – recognizing that localized challenges can be influenced by ecological factors that reach from and into adjacent communities and the region as a whole.
VYPER includes grants that will be made available to support youth-adult collaborative projects throughout the Fraser Health region over the February 2014 to August 2016 project period.
- Supported projects will focus on one or more of VYPER’s five priority areas, work toward VYPER’s three intended outcomes and aim to leave a legacy that connects with VYPER’s two community behaviour legacies.
- VYPER Area Facilitators will support community organizations and entities in the development of VYPER-funded project proposals.
- The VYPER Regional Youth-Adult Collaboration Advisory Committee (RYACAP) will receive, evaluate and decide on submitted project proposals – based on the criteria above.
- Eligibility: Project proposals must connect with VYPER criteria and be delivered in an inclusive manner. Contact us for more details.
VYPER will support and feature various regular events aimed at area and regional youth-adult network and collaboration building, including:
- Annual Pre-Conference events in each of the 4 areas (North, South, Central, and East), organized around the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (June 24 of 2014, 2015 and 2016).
- Annual Regional Conferences in July 2014, 2015 and 2016, aimed at regional networking, collaboration, capacity building, knowledge exchange, appreciative inquiry, and planning.
- Annual Post-Conference events in each of the 4 areas (North, South, Central, and East), aimed at area networking and collaborative planning for the coming year (2014 and 2015).
- Various community and area convening events throughout the project period aimed at area knowledge exchange, networking and collaborative planning.
VYPER’s staff (project manager, regional coordinator, and four area facilitators) form the facilitative backbone of the VYPER project. Their primary role is to help ensure VYPER’s two Community Behaviour Legacies.
As a “backbone organization,” VYPER staff are less focused on direct service provision – instead facilitating and supporting the initiation and development of collaborative action taken by existing or emergent organizations, collaborative coalitions, and other entities by:
- Supporting linkages between areas, communities, organizations and individuals
- Clarifying collective vision, mission, strategy and tactics
- Supporting aligned activities
- Establishing shared measurement practices
- Building public will and advancing policy
- Mobilizing funding (both from VYPER’s built-in grants and from other funding sources)
VYPER recognizes and aims to build on the strengths, collaborative spirit, skills, hopes, dreams and supportive activities that already exist in and among the individuals, organizations and communities of the Fraser Health region.
At the same time, VYPER isn’t just about improvement; it is also about innovation.
VYPER recognizes that certain values and attitudes are required to create an environment of active learning that can support both improvement and innovation:
- Belief in the transformative nature of the process of dialogue and collaboration
- Trust in each person’s expertise and judgement about what is critical to their daily and future lives
- Understanding that each person’s knowledge and experience has equal validity and value
- Commitment to self-reflection and remaining open to perspectives being examined and challenged
Who is VYPER?
The project is administered by Abbotsford Community Services and managed by Impact Youth Substance Use Services, partnering with the Fraser Health Authority, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Child and Youth Committees, Healthy Community Committees, University of the Fraser Valley, municipalities, schools and non-profit organizations from throughout the Fraser Health region.