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Life is a Journey

Sometimes life can be a tricky thing to wrap your head around. Growing up was difficult, trying to understand this world. When I was younger I wasn’t afraid of anything. Nothing could hold me back! Everything was a game to me, or a joke, and I thought I knew it all. Maybe I didn’t know everything – but I wanted to know everything and I wanted everything right now.

I was very confused when my parents separated at a young age. As I got older I accumulated a lot of anger towards my family. I held in a lot of these feelings, which often got me in trouble in school. At a young age I started smoking. Shortly after that I experimented with drugs and alcohol, which caused me a lot of grief at home with my parents. My mom could not handle the stress so when I was 13 she washed her hands of me and sent me to live with my dad. That was chaos! At 15, I couldn’t deal with my dad’s drinking. We fought a lot so I took off to figure out life on my own. I stayed with uncles, aunties, cousins, and friends. Wherever I could stay, I stayed.

I knew to stay away from the hard drugs. I’ve experimented, which I believe messed my head up at a young age, but I couldn’t look at myself as an addict, so I always found a way to get away from the hard stuff. Alcohol, on the other hand, was a different story. Nobody could deal with my shit and I shortly started realizing what life was really about. I became very lonely subsequent to getting involved with YESS. Before YESS I was in rehab, and before that I was sleeping in an abandoned van. Realizing life wasn’t a game, I fell into a deep depression. I tried not to show it, but people probably could see it considering I was anti-social. I was a loud-mouth growing up, so it was probably noticeable.

YESS is a wonderful place and every day I’m learning new things. I am so grateful for their services. After rehab they took me in with open arms, no problem. When I thought I had nobody or nothing, there they were all along. They have given unfortunate youth like myself hope! And I’m greatly appreciative of the community and it is so beautiful to know how many loving hearts are out there who donate. My heart is truly baffled by what we have here.

Every day is a new challenge for me and my faith is infinite for my success. My journey for tranquility is still an adventure, but I’m confident I’ll succeed, especially with the support I have out there. I do believe people seldom try to find peace, but this life is a journey and I’m going to embrace every moment. Even when times are tough and when I’m down, YESS has given me a lot of confidence in my resiliency. I am truly blessed! I’m very grateful for all that has been done for me and I thank you so much. My success is peace and happiness and I’m sure I’ll find it.

This is the story of one of our youth. Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of YESS’ clients.

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A Girl on a Mission–To Help YESS!

Ava-Lynn Carruthers is a 6-year-old with a passion for helping YESS. She thinks no one should be homeless, especially not kids. Ava has a heart of gold and has helped us at a number of events—doing everything from preparing gifts for gala to working at the water station at the Taste of Edmonton, all with her mom, Brandi, who works casually at YESS.

This summer, Ava saw the YESS summer wishlist and asked her mom and grandma how she could help. She wanted to buy 200 pairs of socks for kids who would need them in the winter, 100 for girls and 100 for boys. With that idea, Ava’s Summer Fundraiser began.

Ava came to YESS to tell us about her idea, and to take a few brochures with her to share with her friends and family. With her mom’s help, she even made an event page on Facebook to kick off her fundraiser. All summer, Ava took a donation box almost everywhere she went. With every small donation, Ava got more and more excited about how many socks she would be able to buy and donate. A few people she talked to even told her that they would be dropping off socks at YESS as well. Ava’s family spread the word, and one of their friends took Ava’s message to her office at Enbridge. She came back to Ava with great news: $3000 would be donated to Ava’s Summer Fundraiser!

Ava went to Enbridge to collect her Very Big Cheque, but there was one more surprise in store. Enbridge donated $5000 for Ava to take to YESS! And that was on top of the 276 pairs of socks Ava had collected from family and friends.

We are very proud of Ava and her fellow donors for this successful fundraiser. Her passion to help others has done so much good in the community. It just takes one little girl with a mission to help so many people!

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