What an exciting first half of the year it has been here at Why Not City Missions! Our final $250,000 SHYP Capital Dollar Match Campaign has wrapped up and we have exceeded our original $1,000,000 goal! This generous community has come through in such a big way to support Why Not as we support young moms in their journey towards better futures for their children. There is still room for any who are looking to support our monthly program costs for the SHYP program or for those who would like to make donations towards the SHYP campaign. Please check out our website and look for the donation page.
It is hard to believe that we have come to the end of another school year already, but we are working hard to plan out a fantastic summer of building empowering relationships with our youth. In the youth centre, we have seen many new youth coming out and our dedicated staff team are starting to get to know them and finding ways to connect with them on a meaningful level. One of the ideas staff came up with was to host a carnival night with games and prizes, carnival style food, and lots of fun and laughter. The weather cleared up for us and we saw over 40 youth come through the doors that night, all who jumped into the games and activities and had a blast.
We love to celebrate the wins of the youth in all our programs. We are once again hosting a youth centre awards night where accomplishments that may be seemingly small but are massive wins in a youth’s life are celebrated together. We make this evening special by having some of our regular community partners, Altitude Coffee Roasters and Sweet Bakery bring coffee and treats, we bring in a motivational speaker and we hand out awards certificates after having some fun games and activities and a nice BBQ meal. In our housing programs, we celebrate similar achievements and host special dinners with all the housing staff coming out to share in the special moments with our youth and hand out awards certificates. The impact of celebrating our youth is immeasurable. When we see a youth light up as their name is called and then see them go home and post pictures of their awards and thank our staff for helping them get there, it is a humbling and inspiring moment for our staff that highlights how it is worth all the hard work and effort to connect!
In our housing programs as well, we are seeing such forward movement with our residents at both Charlie’s Place and SHYP. All the love and grace that our incredible housing staff have been pouring into these youth is starting to pay off as we see the residents stabilizing in their mental health, pushing through the challenge of earning credits to make their way towards a diploma, being able to independently work through meal planning and prep, completing household maintenance tasks and starting to see the potential of a different and healthier future. Some of our housing residents are taking part in volunteering to build job skills and to learn the importance of giving back to the community and some are looking towards options for work or post-secondary learning.
While we continue to work hard to mentor and inspire our youth towards different goals and futures, we recognize the importance of taking some down time over the summer and give our youth opportunities to try new things or get out of the city for even a partial day. These trips become some of their favourite summer memories and we love being able to build happy memories with our youth. We cap the summer off with a special camping weekend where we hold a graduation ceremony for our youth who are aging out of our youth centre drop-in program as they have hit their 19th year. We make this a special time where we celebrate the growth we have seen in them during their time with us and where we encourage them to keep growing as they step into the adult world.