Since 1995 The Young Warriors Network has helped educate thousands of young people and their chaperones about the devastation that addiction to hard-core drugs will have on their lives. Lee Mason facilitates these eye opening and visually shocking tours of Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside, also known of as The Skids; the place where life becomes so desperate that people are willing sell their very soul for that next fix. Lee is very well known and highly respected for the work that he does in the Downtown Eastside. Whenever the addicts, social service providers and the beat officers that police the area see him with a group of young people they always take the time to speak with Lees’ groups. Most addicts will talk about how difficult it is to be struggling with an addiction and living on the streets, police officers share the day-to-day experiences they encounter when working the Downtown Eastside. Young people and their chaperones hear from the addicts how it all started out with them drinking on weekends with their friends, smoking a little pot, then experimenting with other drugs, and now their lives consist of living from one fix to the next, how they have lost everything, their jobs, their families, their homes and their pride, that they now have hepatitis C and in some cases HIV. They talk about the fact that it’s pretty well impossible for them to leave the Skids now because they are so addicted that they need to be where the drugs are easily available at all times. They tell the youth, “you don’t want to end up down here, this isn’t fun, this isn’t a nice place, this is Hell; living in a urine soaked and shit stinking back alley that people use as their toilet, sleeping in a doorway back here because all the money I can get my hands on goes to drugs. Stay in school, get an education, do something positive with your life, do you see any happy people down here? This is misery, this is Hell; you don’t ever want to end up down here.” The images, the talks, the overwhelming smell of urine and rotting garbage that permeates the streets and the back alleys is something youth will never forget. Chaperones call Lee months and even years later and say “The kids are still talking about their trip to the Skids, it had such a powerful impact on them, even some of our highest risk kids have done a complete turnaround and are back in school and are doing very well now, this workshop totally opened their eyes and showed them where they could end up by hanging around with the wrong people and making some bad choices in their life.”

KIDZ on the SKIDZ isn’t just about life in the Downtown Eastside; it’s also about helping youth understand that life is a series of choices and consequences. The second day features a full day at The Young Warriors Headquarters in North Vancouver for a workshop aptly named Choices and Consequences. Youth have witnessed first hand during the street tours how desperate some peoples’ lives have become because they made some bad choices in life. This daylong workshop features an in-depth expose’ about Alcohol, Marijuana, Crack, Meth, Ecstasy and all the other illicit drugs that are being pushed on young people today. Youth are gently guided to the realization that they need to be the masters of the choices they will make in life. This session is designed to empower them toward taking positive lifestyle steps so they can avoid alcohol and drug abuse and all the problems that come with addiction.

At the conclusion of this workshop the youth and their chaperones are encouraged to take the knowledge they have gained and share it with their community by doing a presentation of their own when they return home. Lee provides the group with master copies of his drug and alcohol awareness print handout materials including a copy of his highly acclaimed 60-minute drug and alcohol awareness DVD: The Real Truth About Drugs and Alcohol.

Click here to see workshop pictures of KIDZ on the SKIDZ

Click here to see CTV News special about KIDZ on the SKIDZ

For a detailed information package and to find out how you can bring your community youth to a KIDZ on the SKIDZ Tour and Workshop please telephone 604 313-2896 or simply email us at