Born from a Deep Need
From the very beginning, Whytecliff’s story has been defined by its sense of mission, purpose, and commitment to building potent solutions that enable deep healing, transformational growth, and academic success that lasts a lifetime.
Some 25 years ago, we recognized a deep need in our community. Children with anxiety & depression (and other complex emotional, life, and learning challenges) were falling through the cracks of our traditional health and education systems.
They needed real relief, real support, and real solutions.
And so our journey began. We set out to create a more inclusive community (where these ‘under-served’ youth could learn, grow and feel at home) …and to create a more whole-person approach (that could bridge the existing gap between education and well-being).
This is the vision that Whytecliff Agile learning Centres were born from. Since then, our independent ‘therapeutic high schools’ have gone on to become trailblazing programs, the first of their kind in all of North America.
An ‘Agile’ Approach
Because the lives of the youth we worked for came in all shapes and sizes, we learned to adapt our program to fit their diverse needs. It was clear right away that our uniquely ‘Agile’ person-centered approach worked wonders.
Originally initiated in concert with a school district, our Langley campus opened in 1994, when Focus Foundation of BC (Whytecliff’s Parent Organization) won a Provincial Tender to offer a new program for adolescents in the Fraser Valley Region.
Our Burnaby location was created in 2000, when Focus won a further contract to extend our successful Adolescent program to the Greater Vancouver Region.
Over the years, we’ve evolved our programs and expanded our focus. We are now able to work with more children, to reach a broader range of children and families (including youth with complex learning, personal and life challenges), and to open our doors to the wider public. We were pleased to be recognized by the BC Ministry of Education as dedicated schools and programs for children with Diverse Learning Needs, both sites being two of only fifteen such schools in the Province.
At Whytecliff, staff work in concert through embodying a shared vision, collaboratively developed to embrace the heart of what we stand for. As a living, learning organization, our vision statement provides: a galvanizing spark which breathes life into our work; the social glue which fuses our connective tissue; a sense of gravity which keeps our feet on the ground; and a ‘north star’ which orients our efforts and affirms our forward progress.
We are a safe, respectful and nurturing community, sensitive to each person and their uniqueness. Within this community, individuals have opportunities to build their resources, develop new skills, and discover their talents. These experiences encourage self-reflective behaviour and a strengthened relationship to family and the wider community. Living these principles inspires hope and leads to promising futures rich with dignity, purpose, and options.