To help you decide if the LEVEL Youth Policy Program is right for you, we’ve answered our most commonly asked questions. If you have a question not answered below, you can always email us at level@vancouverfoundation.ca

1. What is the age range for ‘youth’?

The LEVEL Youth Policy Program (YPP) is open to self-identified Indigenous and racialized immigrant and refugee youth and young adults between the ages of 19 to 29.

2. Do I need to have previous experience in policy or non-profit work?

No. The YPP is an opportunity to learn about the public policy process, gain new skills and deepen existing knowledge. Previous education, work or volunteer experience engaging in policy is not required.

3. What is the time commitment required?

The full program duration will be from February to September 2020. There are a total of six training modules that will take place over two days. Each training session or module will be a full day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Participants will be matched with a faculty/mentor to be guided throughout the development of their projects. These scheduled phone calls and/or meetings with mentors in July and August are mandatory. Participants will also have the opportunity to attend video calls with staff and facilitators in between modules 5 and 6 as they develop their final projects.

For a complete list of the dates, please see the program outline.

4. I am interested in the program; however, I cannot attend all of the training modules. Should I still apply?

The YPP will prioritize those applicants who can commit to attending all the training modules in person. We provided the dates to help prospective applicants plan their schedules and we hope knowing these dates in advance will be helpful.

5. I am currently going to school full-time/working full-time. Will you provide a letter to my instructors/professors or employers to support my request for time off to attend the YPP?

We can provide letters to confirm your participation as one of the selected applicants and share the purpose of the program and the unique leadership opportunity it presents. Everything else in regard to making up assignments and exams for your courses or approved time off from work will have to be negotiated between you and your school and/or employer. Please find here a letter with an overview about Vancouver Foundation and the LEVEL Youth Policy Program with the dates of the modules. We hope this letter is helpful when you ask your employer and/or professor(s) for time off ahead of time.

6. Can you provide a general overview of the activities, assignments and learning?

Participants of the YPP will be part of a cohort/group of young leaders from across B.C. engaged in a supportive environment to strengthen their understanding of public policy. This will include individual and group-based assignments and activities. Some of these assignments will take place during the monthly in-person training modules and some may take place in between monthly training modules. Examples include short readings, videos and other hands-on activities such as interviewing members of the local community to better understand an issue, learning about different advocacy campaigns or documenting personal learning reflections. Participants are expected to complete the assignments on time.

7. Will there be a final test or essay?

There is no test! Participants will each work on a policy project that supports their learning objectives. This includes producing a policy position paper or drafting a specific policy ask. Participants will be given a $1,500 research stipend to support their projects throughout July and August. Vancouver Foundation will provide design, editing, high quality printing and other supports to produce a final project report that participants can be proud of. Participants will also be matched with a faculty/mentor to get guidance and support throughout the development of their policy projects.

8. What training materials will participants receive?

Each participant will receive a workbook that contains all the learning objectives for each module, readings, assignments, guiding questions, links to short videos and other resources as needed. The workbook materials and resources will also be available online on the LEVEL website for program participants.  If any of the participants are facing barriers related to internet or computer access, we will explore ways to support program needs and ensure ongoing access to training and learning materials.

9. How is Indigenous knowledge woven into the development of the program and how will it manifest throughout the program?

The YPP will work from and within Indigenous people’s worldviews, which can vary from person to person or nation to nation. An important premise of this training is to centre and focus on the fact that work to embed Indigenous knowledge has gone into developing this training.  The training itself will primarily take place in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish peoples and seek to follow local protocols. Participants will be encouraged to reflect what it means to do policy and advocacy work on unceded Indigenous territories and to weave these learnings throughout the development of their policy projects. For example, the faculty will be comprised of Indigenous and diverse leaders, speakers, and trainers who will help ground the policy conversations by introducing participants to concepts of Indigenous governance.

10. Is there a cost to participate in the YPP?

No. There is no financial cost or registration fee to participate in the program. If you live outside of the Metro Vancouver region, you may be eligible to have travel and accommodation costs covered (please see the question below). We do ask for your commitment of time in attending all the in-person training modules.

11. Are travel, accommodation costs and meals provided?

Yes. For participants who live outside of the Metro Vancouver region, travel and accommodation costs will be provided by Vancouver Foundation. For participants living in the Metro Vancouver region, transit tickets will be made available. Refreshments and meals will be provided for all participants during the in-person training modules. We will try to accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions as much as possible.

12. Do you provide multilingual supports and translations?

The program will be delivered in English as it is the common language used between Indigenous and immigrant and refugee youth. While we value language diversity and see this as an asset, the program currently does not have capacity to provide multilingual translations or interpretation for each module or to translate the policy projects but we do celebrate if participants decide to incorporate different languages in their policy projects. Fluency in spoken English and at least basic proficiency in reading and writing English is a requirement to be part of this program.

13. Do you provide child care support?

Yes. We can accommodate childcare support as needed for participants with young children.

14. Will this program offer post-secondary credits?

No. Vancouver Foundation is unable to provide credits because we are not an academic/post-secondary institution. Vancouver Foundation is a community foundation with the vision to create healthy, livable, vibrant communities in British Columbia. We want to support and enable young people to create meaningful change.

15. Will participants receive an honorarium for being part of this program?

We are not providing an honorarium for participation at the end of each in-person training module; however, a research/project stipend of $1,500 will be provided to participants to support the completion of their individual policy projects during the months of July and August.

16. Is immigration status or Indigenous status required?

No, it is not required. You just need to self-identify as Indigenous or as a racialized immigrant or refugee young person, and currently residing in B.C.

17. Can international students apply?

We recognize that international students have unique experiences and challenges that are also different to the experiences and challenges of refugee or immigrant youth that have experienced the journey of migration.  The LEVEL YPP program will prioritize racialized immigrant and refugee young people that have had the experience of migration, including students that came to Canada through the WUSC refugee program, as live-in care givers or the temporary foreign workers program.

18. Can trans and two-spirited young people apply?

Yes. We are committed to creating a shared learning environment where your gender identity is respected and affirmed, and the appropriate supports are provided for all participants to feel safe, welcomed, and able to fully participate.

19. What is the selection process?

This program is part of the overall LEVEL initiative at Vancouver Foundation. The LEVEL advisory committee, made up of volunteer community leaders both youth and adults as well as two of the Youth Policy Participants of the 2019 cohort will review the applications for this program and provide recommendations to staff.

20. When will decisions be made?

We are aiming to communicate decisions via e-mail, to everyone who applies, by the middle of December 2019.