Thank You to Vans!

Our friends at Vans are monthly donors to YESS by providing footwear and clothing for youth. Last month, Vans and the Vans Community Fund went above and beyond and donated $16,178.40 to YESS.

This donation will remain within our community, supporting those who need it most.


Tell us why you choose to support YESS?

We support YESS because we see it as a positive institution delivering real change in the lives of youth experiencing homelessness in our community.


How does Vans give back to the community?

Within our community Vans gives back through store donations of gently used and nonsalable product to organizations helping youth and families in need. Vans also donates product for Go Skate Day, and during the Fort Mac fires, Vans sent an entire semi-trailer of product up from California to help families in need. Each family got a free meal, pair of shoes, and piece of clothing. They’ve also been spotted helping out the arts scene here in Edmonton!


Why is it important for Van’s to support the community?

The community is who supports us, so we need to do the same for them!

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Community Spotlight: Edmonton Public Library

Tell us about yourself and your position at EPL!

My name is Cassidy Munro, and I am the Community Librarian at the Strathcona Branch of the Edmonton Public Library! I’ve been a Community Librarian with EPL for almost 7 years now. As a Community Librarian, my role is to connect with the community and find out more about their needs and the barriers they face and work with them to see how the library can support them. It also includes working closely with community partners like YESS.

I love working at the library because we do offer so much to so many different people. Truly everyone can and does use the library, and I love helping make that possible. One of my favourite parts of my job is surprising someone with a service or resource they didn’t know we could offer. I also get to come out into the community and connect with people where they’re at—like YESS youth.


How do EPL and YESS collaborate to create safety and community for people who need it most?

EPL and YESS have collaborated in a number of ways over the years. Some of this work has been looking at policies and procedures and sharing that research widely with the youth-serving community so that youth can feel welcome and included everywhere they may go. It has also looked like offering programming both at YESS locations and in the library. Sometimes programming meets specific needs, and sometimes it’s a fun way to explore a library resource while allowing EPL staff to connect with and build relationships with those who YESS serves. Button making and, more recently, robotics have been really popular. By building these relationships where young people already feel safe and have community, we are able to support them better with safety and community when they do come to the library to use a computer, borrow something, or just hang out. [possible blockquote] I’ve had young people tell me that they never would have felt comfortable coming to the library and asking for help from EPL staff if we hadn’t met previously at YESS’ Armoury Resource Centre.


What is one thing you wish the wider community knew about people who access resources like YESS?

Asking for help is HARD. Even though it is absolutely not a weakness to need help, asking for it can feel so vulnerable. I wish people could see the true strength of people who access resources like YESS because they are doing hard things every day just by being open to support and help.

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Volunteer Spotlight: University of Alberta Residence Services

Tell us about yourself/your organization and how you came to volunteer at YESS.

My name is Valerie and I’m currently acting as the Diversity and Inclusion Intern for the University of Alberta’s Residence Services for the 2022/2023 year. I reached out to YESS in August 2022 to see if there was any interest in participating in our Day of Service event, an afternoon where students living in residence at the University of Alberta could choose amongst different community organizations to participate in a drop-in group volunteer session with for the afternoon. We were able to send a group to volunteer at the Armoury Resource Centre on August 26, 2022. In addition to that, another group of students were able to attend a virtual presentation on February 21, 2023, as part of our Alternative Reading Week program, a 4-day long service-learning program that aims to engage students living in residence in different social issues that affect the Edmonton community.


Why did you choose to volunteer at YESS and how do you see your impact as a volunteer?

The main reason YESS came to mind when I was narrowing down a list of community organizations to contact for volunteer opportunities to promote to students living in residence was due to friends having recounted their positive experiences with YESS, be it in a volunteer capacity or through club involvement like the 5 Days for the Homeless campaign. While I have not had the opportunity to volunteer with YESS myself, having needed to stay behind in the office to coordinate the various drop-in group volunteer sessions during Day of Service, and having been away from the office during Alternative Reading Week, I am fortunate to be able to provide wonderful opportunities like these to the students living in residence.


What is one thing you wish the community knew about YESS youth?

I wish the community knew that there is more than meets the eye for YESS youth. YESS youth are humans just like you and me, who are currently experiencing difficult circumstances. Yet, they are so very strong, brave, hopeful, and resilient. It takes tremendous courage to face a world so determined to set barriers in front of them, and yet grow, thrive, and flourish in spite of that, if given the proper support, resources, and compassion.

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