Facilitating positive change in our community

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to facilitate meaningful change and provide a bridge to healthier possibilities through innovative, community driven and supportive programming.


Our Philosophy:

Watari’s service is trauma-informed and based on an individual’s innate strengths, capabilities, and desire for wellness. We encourage an exploration and deeper understanding of self and community, so that people can make informed choices.

Statement Of Diversity & Inclusion:

Watari embraces diversity as an integral part of being a caring community. We are committed to building and maintaining a diverse, accessible, civil and supportive environment by including diversity of religion, gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, disability, age and socioeconomic class.

To this end, we will make positive efforts to reach out to groups that have traditionally been under-represented and who can enrich and be enriched by their experience at Watari. At Watari we encourage behaviours that enhance the freedom and respect that every individual deserves.


Our Objectives:

To provide opportunities to the people we support that allow them to see themselves as competent and capable.

To deliver respectful, individualized service.

To empower the people we support by encouraging relationships with service providers, family and community members.

To work within a community development model to address personal and collective change.

To provide trauma sensitive work environments for both staff and the people we support.


Watari was developed in 1986 as a response to the lack of services and programs for high-risk street involved youth in Vancouver. Since then, Watari has helped thousands of people in the downtown eastside and the surrounding communities, through several youth and community programs as well as through our counselling team. Over the years, Watari has developed important programs not only for youth, but for everyone needing support here in the community, including Indigenous people and migrant workers. Our Latin American Group and Vietnamese Community Kitchen have become important staples in the community as well. Although much has changed over the years, Watari continues to be a safe and supportive place for the people in the community. Today, Watari has 13 essential programs made possible by the dedicated staff, and amazing volunteers and community partners!

A full history of Watari’s activities in the Downtown Eastside, and surrounding communities, for the past 10 years, can be read here!

Watari is always growing and adapting to the needs of the community. We have come a long way since 1986, and we’re not done yet!

Click the link for a closer look at Watari’s Strategic Plan for 2019-2022!

Want to be part of the team?

Check out how you can Get Involved!