The Directions Youth Services Centre is a facility which focuses on getting at-risk youth, aged 13-24, back on their feet and living a safe and healthy life. It is located on Burrard St in Vancouver and is always open to young people as a safe space, regardless of their current situation. The staff at Directions strive to cultivate trusting relationships with the youth in order to help them find a path that will lead them to a bright future.
Food Program Coordinator, Lihwen Hsu, reached out to Uproot with an idea for a laser cut plaque made of wood waste to showcase the winners of Directions’ Kitchen Battle Cooking Series. The series gets youth together to compete in a culinary challenge featuring accessible and nutritious ingredients which have been diverted from the landfill. The periodic challenge helps cultivate food literacy, practical skills and healthy living practices, as well as builds confidence and trust. The objective is to empower the youth by removing barriers and emphasizing that amazing things can be done with what they have.
The program is proving to be a resounding success, with winners of the “egg” and “onion” challenges already gracing the plaque which is displayed in the centre. Not only is the plaque meant to celebrate the battle champions, it also serves as an engagement tool for youth using the facility. It is something the youth get excited about, want to participate in and have the opportunity to contribute to.