Step Up Youth Program

step up youth banner

General applications are now closed for Fall 2024 intake. However, we are still recruiting for Tofino, Campbell River, Port Hardy, and Salt Spring. Please email if you are interested in volunteering at one of these locations. 

Please sign up for our email list if you would like to be notified when applications open for the 2025-26 cycle.

Step Up Youth Scholarship 

Island Health is excited to announce that applications for the 2024 Step Up Youth Scholarships are now open. These scholarships aim to empower and foster the growth of youth who aspire to continue their journey towards making a positive impact in healthcare.

This award cycle will be available to Step Up Youth volunteers who participated in the Fall 2023 through Spring 2024 program year and is designed to recognize the exceptional contributions of the award recipients.

Please read the Step Up Youth Scholarship Fund to ensure eligibility. Applications will be open from May 31, 2024 through July 31, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

About the Program

The Step Up Youth Program offers Vancouver Island youth (aged 15-18) the opportunity to volunteer at select Island Health hospitals and long-term care homes. Youth volunteers attend weekly shifts and participate monthly in a career guest speaker series. Volunteer roles are centered on practicing Island Health’s C.A.R.E. values (Courage, Aspire, Respect, and Empathy) and positively impact the experience of patients, residents, staff and site visitors. Participants also have the opportunity to learn about careers in healthcare and develop important leadership skills. This program is perfect for high school aged volunteers who are looking for an exciting and challenging volunteer role in a healthcare environment.

The Step Up Youth Program currently supports 300+ youth at the following locations:

  • Campbell River - Campbell River Hospital, Yucalta Lodge
  • Duncan – Cowichan District Hospital
  • Nanaimo – Nanaimo Regional General Hospital & Dufferin Long-Term Care
  • Port Alberni – West Coast General
  • Port Hardy – Eagle Ridge Manor
  • Salt Spring – Lady Minto Extended Care Unit
  • Tofino – Tofino General Hospital
  • Victoria – Victoria General Hospital, Saanich Peninsula Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital, The Summit Long-Term Care 

Volunteer Assignment Descriptions

Youth Volunteers: Our Step Up Youth Volunteers enrich the experience of patients and residents through the gift of time, empathy, and companionship. The volunteer role is centred on providing social engagement support to patients and residents. Additional duties such as enhancing staff and visitor experience vary by location and site needs.

Volunteer Team Leaders: Experienced volunteers may advance into leadership roles with the program. In addition to performing the duties of a Youth Volunteer, Volunteer Team Leaders (VTLs) also mentor new volunteers, assist with orientations, and manage attendance for their teams.

Read more about the Volunteer Assignment Description.

Cultural Inclusivity

Island Health and Volunteer Resources acknowledge with respect and humility the Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw People on whose unceded traditional territories we offer our services and programs.

Volunteer Resources aims to create an environment where all volunteers feel welcomed, respected, and valued.

Indigenous peoples, as the first peoples of Canada, hold a unique place within our history and within our society. The history of cultural assimilation, residential schools and health care is one of the saddest chapters in Canadian history and has had a devastating impact on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Island Health’s vision for the future embodies respect, understanding, and recognition of Indigenous peoples. The Volunteer Resources and Engagement team is dedicated to recruiting Indigenous youth volunteers to ensure that our volunteers resemble the communities we serve.

Education & Scholarship Opportunities

Training: Youth accepted into our program receive valuable and relevant healthcare training including: infection prevention, cultural safety training, wheelchair handling, effective communication, and confidentiality training.

Career Education: Through the Step Up Youth guest speaker series, volunteers are introduced to a variety of healthcare topics from healthcare professionals who share information about their careers.

Scholarships: Island Health is proud to offer the Step Up Youth Scholarship Fund for current volunteers. Information about the Award will be released on this website in early spring.

Step Up Youth is also affiliated with the Altruition Scholarship Program.

References: Every year, the Step Up Youth Program supports dozens of volunteers with reference letters for schools, scholarships, bursaries and awards. Volunteers must earn 40 volunteer hours in order to request a reference letter.

Step Up Youth Application & Program Timeline

The Step Up Youth Program runs from September to April every year. 

Application Timeline

March 1 –  Applications open for Fall intake
May 31 –  Applications close for Fall intake
August 15 – Deadline for youth to complete volunteer interview and onboarding tasks


Please sign up for our email list if you would like to be notified when applications open for the 2025-26 cycle.

Read about the Step Up Youth Program in the News

For more information about the Step Up Youth Program, please reach out to