It’s a busy time of year here at Choices for Youth (CFY), but not just because the cold weather brings more young people in need to our front doors. This month we will hold 10 Christmas parties, throw one big Christmas dinner, host one waffle breakfast, and will also be open on Christmas day.
CFY in December is about more than holiday excitement. Last year we helped over 1,000 young people find housing, employment, and educational opportunities across 10 programs. By setting their own goals, young people were enabled to address barriers of homelessness, addictions, mental illness, trauma and more with new life skills. We believe in the potential of young people, and our work focuses on supporting youth find that in themselves.
Last week our two Momma Moments groups—one in St. John’s and one in CBS—held their Christmas parties. Forty-two moms and 54 children got to celebrate the holidays with the people they consider their extended family, and it is thanks to community members that these parties were possible.
This week, we hosted our annual Christmas dinner for youth. All CFY program participants, their children, significant others, family members, and friends were invited to share a traditional meal, sing along to carols, and meet Santa. It was a special kind of chaos — one that comes from a purity of excitement from having few other expectations of the holiday season.
CFY is lucky to be able to provide these kinds of experiences for young people, and to do so with many others in the community. We’re lucky to witness the strength and resilience of youth who have been let down on one too many Christmas days. Thirty percent of the homeless population in St. John’s are between the ages 16-24. For them, and for many others, the holidays are not a happy time — they’re a reminder of being in a position of extreme vulnerability.
And so this December we’re celebrating the season with the young people we work with because now more than ever it is important to show them how much a young person is valued in our community. Be a part of our holiday celebrations by giving the gift of home. Visit HomeForTheHolidaysNL.ca or call Angela at (709) 754-0446 and #GiveHome today.