Directions celebrates 10 years of EA Media Room
June 18, 2018
(Vancouver, BC) On June 18, 2018, Directions Youth Services celebrates the 10th anniversary of the EA Media Room partnership with Electronic Arts Vancouver Outreach Team.
Located at Directions Youth Services Centre in downtown Vancouver, the EA Media Room has become a lifeline for youth experiencing homelessness. Equipped with musical instruments, computers, gaming consoles and a fully operational recording studio, the Media Room gives youth the chance to take a break from their daily struggles and express themselves creatively while connecting with youth workers in a safe, non-judgemental environment.
Hundreds of Vancouver’s most vulnerable youth have found their haven in the EA Media Room and many have been inspired to pursue film school and careers in acting, opera, journalism, the recording arts, social work, and psychology.
“The breadth of untapped talent never ceases to amaze me,” says Colin Ford, Directions Media Program Coordinator. “I have seen youth grow in ways I would never have predicted and been witness to many of them conquering their fears and self-doubts. A youth once told me the two things that frightened them most were being in a crowd of people and singing out loud. A few months later, they brought down the house at the Waterfront Theatre singing in front of 250 people.”
Homeless youth, both individually, and as a group, experience incredible isolation. The EA Media Room is focused on lifting people up, supporting the creative expression of individuals seldom given the chance to express themselves. Through the EA Media Room, clients learn that art can be a tool to amplify their voices in order to educate decision-makers and usher in solutions. Through engagement, youth build trust, self esteem and resilience while developing tangible skills that can support career development and stability.
Director of Youth Services Marnie Goldenberg explains: “Basic support like food, showers, and a safe place to hang out are critically important and offer our staff the chance to connect and support youth in accessing additional services and stabilizing. The Media Room can go one step further. Youth come in and make music, learn computer design, develop a theatre production or play video games. From this informal place, staff build rapport and discover what youth need to thrive. They listen, engage and offer supports to assist youth with their trauma, mental health challenges, substance misuse, and housing needs.”
Over ten years, Electronic Arts Vancouver’s (EAV) Outreach program has provided in-kind supports including computers, gaming consoles and the latest video games. EA artists have run workshops and decorated the concrete walls with colourful murals for youth to enjoy. An example of sustained corporate and not-for-profit partnership, EA’s focus on diversity and inclusion and fostering a better world are acutely felt in the media room. “Directions youth have shared moving feedback with us including increased self-confidence and self-worth plus a reduction of stress among the participants. It shows the value of media programs such as this, and we’re very proud to have supported Directions Youth Services for the past 10 years and we look forward to many more,” says Wendell Harlow, Senior Manager, EA Outreach and Corporate Giving for Canada.
ABOUT DIRECTIONS YOUTH SERVICES
Run by Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Directions Youth Services is a collection of services and locations supporting youth who are at-risk, street-involved or experiencing homelessness. This includes a 24/7 drop-in centre, outreach teams, pre-employment programs, two safe houses, and a youth detox centre. The trauma-informed and client centred philosophy creates safety for youth to access a full spectrum of supports including primary care, mental health and substance use resources.