At-Risk Youth In Burnaby to Benefit from Adventure-Based Learning Program


Vancouver, BC – In September 2014, at-risk youth in Burnaby will have the opportunity to participate in a unique, adventure-based learning program through the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation. Take a Hike enables at-risk youth to positively change their lives and is partnering with School District 41 to expand its proven program to grade 10-12 students in Burnaby. The Take a Hike program currently operates in Vancouver and in the West Kootenays.

“Supporting our growth strategy, the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation is thrilled to expand into Burnaby to reach more youth in the Metro Vancouver region who will benefit from our powerful program,” said Matthew Coyne, CEO of the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the school district and community members to ensure the program and students are successful.”

Take a Hike builds on the success of the district’s alternate programming which focuses on providing academic and reintegration support to students who have not been successful in mainstream schools.The Take a Hike Burnaby program will introduce students to outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, canoeing and snowshoeing, and will support students in developing valuable communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. These activities help the youth deal with deeply rooted personal issues in a safe environment, while allowing them to broaden their knowledge of the outdoors and expand their support networks.

Take a Hike will provide a full-time therapist who will work with the school district’s teacher, youth engagement worker and, new addition, adventure based learning specialist, to provide a holistic program for the students. Student intake will begin in September with a goal of enrolling 20 youth for the 2014/15 school year.

“Take a Hike provides a unique opportunity for students in Burnaby who may be struggling in a mainstream classroom setting,” said Harman Pandher, School Board Trustee, School District 41. “Our School Board and staff are delighted to partner with Take a Hike to help these learners become more excited about their futures and experience success in their school environment.”

Take a Hike relies on donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to support the program elements that fall outside of standard school district funding, including the outdoor expeditions, adventure-based learning components, and a full-time therapist. The program in Burnaby will be supported by a community engagement committee, comprised of community champions, that will lead the local fundraising efforts.

Since its inception in 2000, Take a Hike has engaged more than 350 at-risk youth in BC. The program first expanded from one classroom to two in 2005 with the support of SVP Vancouver. The expansion into West Kootenay and Burnaby has been made possible through generous donations from donors such as the Vancouver Foundation and Tula Community Fund, and facilitated through Take a Hike’s partnership with LIFT Philanthropy Partners. LIFT is a not-for-profit organization that invests in social change by increasing the impact and sustainability of organizations that deliver social impact. In April 2012, LIFT made a three-year commitment to provide Take a Hike with the skills, expertise and resources to improve its operations and capacity to expand to communities across B.C. and beyond.

“LIFT Philanthropy Partners has supported us with the momentum to keep our expansion project moving forward. With the expertise and resources LIFT provides, we are much closer to reaching our vision to be the North American leader at enabling communities to empower at-risk youth to achieve their full potential, realize their dreams and give back to their communities,” said Phil Cotterill, President of the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation Board of Directors.

Learn more:

About Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation

Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation offers an alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement. The program is offered in Vancouver and West Kootenay to youth in grades 10-12 who have few remaining options and enables them to positively change their lives.


Photographs available: Photo 1; Photo 2; Photo 3.

Cutline: Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation will launch its adventure-based learning program for youth in Burnaby this September.