Mission and Vision

Our Mission: Urban Native Youth Association is the centre of Indigenous youth excellence, supporting youth on their journeys by amplifying and celebrating their voices. Our Vision: Empowered Indigenous youth leading and inspiring all Nations.

Philosophy of Care

Philosophy of Care

We recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work best for our youth. The philosophies of two-eyed seeing, culture as therapy, trauma-informed care, harm reduction, and person-centred care provide a framework that shapes all decisions in how we interact with and respond to youth across programs.



UNYA's focus since its inception in 1988 has been to provide meaningful opportunities for Indigenous youth (Aboriginal, Metis, Inuit, First Nations, Status, Non-Status) in the urban setting. Our goal is to be a safe place for Indigenous youth to come and find out about programs and services at UNYA and in the broader community. UNYA strives to support Indigenous youth by providing a diverse continuum of advocacy, preventative and support services that respond to their immediate and long-term needs. Today, UNYA delivers 20+ programs, with 175+ volunteers, 100 staff, and more than 300 community partners.



The UNYA Board exemplifies the leadership of our youth.

  • Denise Williams

    Board Member

    Denise Williams is a member of Cowichan Tribes and is of both First Nations and Scottish ancestry. For over a decade, she has focused on capacity-building efforts amongst First Nations through education and technology.

  • Leila Williams

    Vice President

    Leila Williams is of Wet'suwet'en, and Carrier descent from Moricetown, BC. She is fueled by a desire to give back to the communities she grew up in, and has been a part of UNYA since 2004 and has become a UNYA lifer.

  • André Bessette


    André Bessette is of Métis, Croatian, and French dsecent. His work as the Youth Native Courtworker at Robson Courthouse, and at the Native Education College give him a unique understanding of what Indigenous youth need to thrive today.

  • Matthew Norris


    Matthew Norris is Nehithaw, Woodlands Cree, and is a member of the Lac La Ronge First Nation, Treaty 6, in Saskatchewan. He has a long history of political advocacy and community activism around issues related to climate and social justice initiatives with a specific focus on the recognition and implementation of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Matthew is employed as a Policy and Communications Specialist to the City of Vancouver, and is a PhD student in UBC's Political Science program.

  • Daniel Cook

    Board Treasurer

    Daniel Cook is from the Huu-ay-aht First Nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples on his father's side, and the Ganada Clan of the Nisga'a on his mother's side. His work in community organzations includes UNYA's Native Youth Drop-In Centre, and the Circle of Eagles Lodge Society.



  • UNYA Financial Report 2018-19

    Urban Native Youth Association's Annual Report 2018-2019

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  • UNYA Financial Report 2017-18

    Urban Native Youth Association Financial Report 2017-2018

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  • UNYA Annual Report 2016-17

    Urban Native Youth Association's Annual Report 2016-2017

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  • UNYA Annual Report 2015-16

    Urban Native Youth Association's Annual Report 2015-2016

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  • 2017 Child Poverty Report Card

    First Call BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition's annual report with the latest statistics on child and family poverty in BC.

    Download report (PDF) →

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