Electronic Arts supports media arts room at Directions Youth Services Centre to help homeless youth

Monday, June 9, 2014: On Wednesday, June 11, 2014 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Electronic Arts will be at the grand re-opening of Directions Youth Services Centre and, as part of the program, will be unveiling the media arts studio within the facility (approximately 12:30 pm).

Directions Youth Services Centre is operated by Family Services of Greater Vancouver. This 24-hour, seven-day-a-week facility provides homeless and at-risk youth in our city access to a broad range of essential resources, counselling, and supports, addressing issues of: homelessness; addictions; health; lifeskills; employment; and education. Where possible, staff members work to re-connect youth with family members or home communities. Directions also provides many immediate daily needs, such as hot meals, showers, and laundry facilities. Over the course of last year, young people visited the centre over 22,000 times.

Directions opened in 2005, but moved to a temporary location in 2011 while the centre was demolished to be re-built as part of a social housing initiative of the City of Vancouver. They have recently moved back into the new space and, as part of the design have included a state-of-the-art media arts room, outfitted by Electronic Arts. The grand re-opening of Directions is taking place on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, beginning at 11:00 am (formal program beginning at noon).

Since 2005, Electronic Arts has worked in partnership with Directions Youth Services on initiatives from employee fundraisers to outfitting the media room with recording equipment, musical instruments, and gaming consoles and games, to providing innovative programming at EA for youth. The Game Changers program is the latest innovation by EA, collaborating with youth on mobile gaming development, giving these youth technical skills and experience, while they also gain the confidence and inspiration to take the next steps with their lives.

“EA’s Outreach efforts are largely focused on supporting youth and educational programs, in particular, art, technology, science, and math. Therefore Directions Youth Services Centre aligns perfectly with our Outreach mission and vision,” says Frank Bassett, Senior Director of Facilities for EA. “To see engagement and creativity flourish in these kids when they discover the media room inspires our staff and we are so pleased to play a small part to help these kids overcome challenges and recognize their true potential.”

Says Caroline Bonesky, CEO for Family Services of Greater Vancouver: “The media arts program has proven to be an invaluable way to connect our staff with hard to reach youth. The media room acts as a magnet to Directions, drawing youth into the centre, at which point, our trained professionals can begin to form trusting relationships so crucial to opening youth up to work with them. We are so grateful for partnerships like EA, that provide tangible resources that are so crucial to enhancing the core work we do at Directions. EA takes social responsibility to a whole new level”.

Directions Youth Services Centre receives its core funding by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (through its mental health and addictions portfolio and its Smart Fund), and the City of Vancouver, along with private donors and businesses. The new space has been made possible with funding from BC Housing and the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and with the partnership of The Kettle Friendship Society.

Family Services of Greater Vancouver is a local not-for-profit society providing crucial social services to children, youth, adults, and families in the Lower Mainland since 1928. Last year, over 30,000 people in the community turned to Family Services for help. Services range from prevention to intensive intervention.

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For more information:
Leah Zille, Director of Communications
604-808-3809 or lzille@fsgv.ca