Aviva Canada’s Street to School partnerships focus on prevention and intervention, targeting youth who are vulnerable to becoming homeless or dropping out of school to stop the worst from happening. For those youth who have already found themselves homeless or at-risk, Aviva Canada supports its charity partners in providing housing, education, employment, medical and counseling support.
Aviva Canada’s signature Street to School partner is Eva’s Initiatives – an organization working collaboratively with homeless and at-risk youth to help them reach their potential and lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives. Each year, Eva’s Initiatives helps over 2,300 homeless and at-risk youth to get off the street. Eva’s provides safe shelter and a range of services including harm reduction services to address drug and alcohol use, counseling, employment and training programs, housing support and services to reconnect youth with their families.
Two significant components of this partnership are support for Eva’s Family Re-Connect Program and National Initiatives Program, both of which focus on intervention and prevention of youth homelessness and are the first of their kind in Canada. Eva’s Initiatives’ Family Reconnect Program works with young people in crisis and their families to resolve conflict and reunite. Returning to the family home in the first year of homelessness dramatically increases the likelihood of a youth’s return to school. The National Initiatives Program addresses youth homelessness through the sharing of innovative and creative responses among leading youth organizations in Canada.
A full-list of Aviva Canada’s Street to School partners includes: Eva’s Initiatives, YouthLink, YMCA-YWCA and seven United Way agencies (Delisle Youth Services, Learning Disabilities Association of Nova Scotia, Burnaby Family Life, Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg, Plein Milieu, Welcome Inn Community Centre and West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre).
In 2012, YouthLink participated in the Passport 2012 research project to assess young people’s experiences in their Co-op Housing Program. The research proved that Aviva’s investment in YouthLink’s Co-op Housing Program undoubtedly results in a significant impact on the lives of youth by helping them to get back on track - from their perspectives and in their own words.
The Aviva Community Fund, is an annual competition in which several national winning ideas across Canada share in a $1 million prize and is a significant corporate responsibility initiative in Canada. In the fourth year of the Fund, Aviva Canada has already provided more than $3.5 million in funding to 42 charities and community groups across the country. In 2012, a new grand prize category of $150,000 was added to the Aviva Community Fund, for ideas supporting homeless and at-risk youth. In the first year for this category, there were more than 275 ideas live on the site, with seven of these ideas making it into final judging phase of the competition.