Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative has been a family affair since the very beginning.
When we met in 2008, Joe was taking a course at BCIT for Public Speaking. Eight months sober, he was leveraging his life-experience as an ex-Hell’s Angel and recovering drug addict to reach our communities’ most at-risk youth.
The message Joe was working on was a rough draft in need of polish. One of his classmates suggested that he speak with her mom (that's me, Brenda!) an experienced educator and clinician who worked with at-risk youth in Chilliwack.
Together, we began crafting my message which, over time became our message. It is one of redemption, hope, community and possibility for our communities’ most vulnerable youth. As we shared the message with young people across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, we recognized that awareness wasn’t enough - we also needed to offer a safe place for these youth to connect and grow with people who understood them. It was from that recognition that Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative really took on its current form.
From colleagues to husband and wife, we have made Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative our lives’ work. Every year, our team connects with hundreds of kids to turn high-risk situations and behaviour into resilience, courage and strength.
By being here and reading this, you are a part of ensuring that at-risk youth in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are reconnected to their schools, communities, and support networks to feel safe, be heard and belong.
We're so glad you're here.
Joe + Brenda Calendino
Co-Founders of Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative