Watari's mission is to facilitate positive change in at-risk children, youth and their families and communities, through the design and delivery of innovative services.
Watari's philosophy of service is based on a belief in the individual's innate strengths, capabilities and desire for wellness. With an improved understanding of self, and education about lifestyle options, a person can make life-affirming choices, regardless of past or present circumstances.
About Watari Counselling & Support Services Society
Watari is a Japanese word that means 'small bridge' or 'in transition'.
Established in 1986 in a response to a lack of services and programs for street involved youth, Watari Counselling & Support Services is invested in creating space for change we are guided by a belief in the individual's innate strengths, capabilities and desire for wellness.
Working within a community-development model to address locally identified needs, Watari services focus primarily on populations affected by substance misuse or mental health issues. Other related service areas include family strengthening, cultural enrichment, and community/public education projects. With 27 full-time employees and a volunteer Board of Directors, Watari operates seven on-going programs at its two locations in East Vancouver, in addition to three short-term special projects that operate throughout the community. Watari services include: individual and group counseling, a voluntary youth day treatment program, school-based health promotion education, family strengthening programs for the urban aboriginal community, HIV prevention, housing specific support for youth, and individualized support to offenders adjudicated through the Downtown Community Courts. Watari works collaboratively with other service providers and sectors to ensure their clients are connected with other appropriate resources and community members. Yearly, Watari supports over 7500 individuals across programs and feeds 20% of them through foodbank and community kitchen programming.
Proud of strong relationships with a diverse group of funders, Watari has relationships with Vancouver Coastal Health, City of Vancouver, Ministry of Solicitor General and Public Safety, Vancouver Foundation, Law Foundation, Sanctuary for Kids Foundation and Vancouver Aboriginal Child & Family Services Society. In addition, Watari participates on the board of the Federation of Community Services of BC, Addiction Specialists and Allied Professionals of BC, BC Alliance for Mental Health and Addictions and on the leadership council of the Community Action Initiative.