Youth Finds the Power to Change His Story

Ask any of the YESS staff at Nexus or ARC and they’ll all agree: Sherwood’s journey has been amazing to watch and his gentle, positive personality a joy to work with.

Sherwood had already started to change his story when he arrived at YESS. He had just finished detox and knew he needed to find somewhere supportive to stay if he was going to keep up his sobriety. That is what he found at YESS.

“I talked to the staff here, telling them what I needed,” says Sherwood. “And I stayed involved in the groups and activities offered at ARC. Having somewhere to go was very helpful. I didn’t have to aimlessly walk around all day… and then I had somewhere to sleep at night. It kept me safe.”

Soon Sherwood was connected with resources to help him achieve his goals to maintain his sobriety, find a job, and get his own place.

“Sherwood came to me when he heard about the work experience program,” says Claire, YESS Employment Coordinator. “He was very excited about the food portion of the work experience and started his food safety program right away.”

As he was getting support for his employment goal, Sherwood also worked with Erin, an AHS Addictions Counsellor, to get a referral to a treatment program to help him maintain his sobriety. With Erin’s help, Sherwood was admitted to his first-choice treatment program at Shunda Creek. He always made his check-in calls to YESS Programs staff to share his progress and his feelings about the treatment process.

Our staff were so proud to watch Sherwood achieve one goal after another. It was no surprise—from his first days at Nexus and ARC, staff found Sherwood to be positive, driven, and patient with both others and himself.

After his amazing months at treatment, Sherwood returned to YESS programs and found resources to help him find long-term housing. Just over a week later, Sherwood moved into a sober living program. In a few months, Sherwood had gone from seeking emergency shelter to committing himself to his sobriety and achieving independence.

“I mentally took an inventory of how my life had been collapsing over the past couple of years, and told myself that I didn’t want it to keep going downhill,” Sherwood says. “My advice would be don’t be afraid to express where you’re at. Showing vulnerability will lead you to success… If you go and tell someone you want to use, they can help you out in that moment, they can teach you things in that moment.”

There’s so much for Sherwood to be proud of! What would he say are his top achievements?

“Getting past addiction. Building myself up to say I don’t need to use anymore, which has gotten me to 137 days clean! Working at becoming part of my family again. And having a plan to start budgeting, which I’ve never done before.”

Staff at Nexus and ARC know that while Sherwood’s time with YESS is over, his success is just beginning. The positivity and resilience he showed while he was in our programs even inspired other youth who share some of the same goals.

“I can only imagine where he will be in another few months,” says Claire. “His passion will surely take him to wherever he wishes to be.”

Congratulations, Sherwood, on all your hard work and all you have achieved! We know the future is bright for you!

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16th Annual YESS Charity Golf Classic!

We celebrated the first day of September with the 16th Annual YESS Charity Golf Classic Driven by GrassChopper Landscaping Ltd. Golfers, volunteers, and staff braved the chilly morning and were rewarded with a gorgeous afternoon at The Links in Spruce Grove.

1Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for golf champs! Pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit, and pastries were all on offer thanks to our friends at CIBC Wood Gundy. Once our golfers were fueled up for the start of the day, they sped out on their carts for their first tee-offs.

There were plenty more opportunities to nosh once golfers were out on the course. Collin Bruce Mortgage Team had warm coffee in the morning and cold drinks for the sunny afternoon; Sherlock Holmes Hospitality Group had “yorkies” (mini Yorkshire puddings–so delish!); Investors Group brought the BBQ vibe with smokies and all the fixin’s; and who else could be counted on to bring the pizza but Boston Pizza! Not to be outdone, our own YESS chefs served up sliders at the 9th hole.

2In between bites it was time to play golf–and some other games too! There was a chip shot challenge with Pattison Outdoor Advertising and a sit n’putt challenge with McCoy Global. True putting glory could be won at the putting green contest with GrassChopper Landscaping Ltd. There were two $5000 hole-in-one challenges hosted by SK Events and Investors Group and a . Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (or ABCRC, as their friends calls them) had a great trivia game where players matching the recyclable material with the items they could be recycled into–did you know that plastic is recycled to make clothing?! Crystal Glass offered golfers the chance to send their drive right at a windshield. It’s possible the most fun was had at Jump Outta Bed’s team photo contest (check out all the day’s snaps on their Twitter feed).

3As teams rolled back into the clubhouse wearing far fewer layers than they’d had on at the start of tournament, there was one more surprise in store: massages from City Centre Wellness! Certainly the best way to come off the golf course is to go straight to the massage table.

Golfers, volunteers, and staff gathered back in the clubhouse for dinner and to hear from Deb Cautley, YESS Executive Director, and Trevor Ross, President of GrassChopper Landscaping Ltd., Presenting Sponsor of the YESS Charity Golf Classic. Deb described the pride she felt seeing the Edmonton community come together this summer for the people of Fort McMurray. It’s the same community that comes together for YESS–it’s why we see the same amazing supporters year after year at this golf tournament! We are #AlbertaStrong.

4In his speech, Trevor remarked that the YESS Charity Golf Classic and GrassChopper Landscaping Ltd. got started the same year. With a lot of determination and hope, Trevor started his business and now years later, his company is the presenting sponsor of a major fundraising event to give back and support a local charity. We happen to know a little bit about living on determination and hope as well, and we are so grateful to have GrassChopper Landscaping Ltd. on our team to support youth experiencing homelessness in Edmonton.

5Thank you so much to all our sponsors, guests, donors, volunteers, and staff who joined us on this great day out on The Links!  This year we raised over $39,500 to help us continue offering youth who are experiencing homelessness in Edmonton the support and resources they need.


Presenting Sponsor – GrassChopper Landscaping Ltd.
Breakfast Sponsor – CIBC Wood Gundy
Platinum Sponsor – Pattison Outdoor Advertising
Eagle Sponsors –  Carlson Construction, Collin Bruce Mortgage Team, Investors Group, Nordic, White Knight Construction
Birdie SponsorCrystal Glass
Golf Cart SponsorGryphon Benefits & Insurance
Go Green SponsorAlberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation
Golfer Giveaway SponsorMcCoy Global
Marked Ball Sponsor & 50/50 Draw SponsorImpark
Ping Pong Contest SponsorJump Outta Bed
Auction SponsorIncite

YESS Overall Sponsors

Boston Pizza
Burke Group
CityTV/Dinner Television
Cowan Imaging Group
Inland AV
One Step Beyond Photography & Video
River City Events
SC Systems
Sherlock Holmes Hospitality Group
The Links at Spruce Grove

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We Are Loyal to the Pavement

This piece was written by Kristina, who shared it with us on Facebook. She is a champion of the YESS cause and presented this piece at a local event.

We are loyal to the pavement. The only stable thing in our lives, we pound on it – it never shifts. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what brought you here, you’re not wrong. Your reason is good enough. You are good enough. There is no wrong reason. And even more important, you are strong enough. You are winning, even on days you feel like you aren’t, every day that you wake up you are winning. The odds are against you; a harsh reality. We are embraced by adversity, as youth on the street. We are synonymous with struggle. We are transparent to privilege. We earn every right we have, we fight for it, scream for it, we walk some dark paths for it. As youth our ability to fight for solutions falls short of our age, to prove our opinion is worthy – it is “wise” enough to know better. We fight to be our own advocate. We fight to be heard. We battle ourselves in a teeter totter of knowing we can always do better and coping through the position we’re standing in. We face the internal battle of leaving the comfort we’ve found in those dark places and reaching for the light, the end of the battle – a different dream for everyone. We struggle to imagine our success, how we will get there and who will hold our hands. Many things will come and go, they will tear you down and leave you feeling broken. You will lose friends, you will lose things you love along the way. I promise you will heal. You will meet new friends and you will find love in new places and new things. You will one day wake up and realize, the success you struggled to imagine is internalized in who you are and the battles you’ve won. You will wake up and see the courageous person that brought you here. You will push for greatness, because you deserve it – you are worthy. You have a beautiful gift to offer the world. Success is defined as the “accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”

Find you purpose, whatever it is. Reach for your dreams, dear child dream big. Embrace who you are and all you’ve become – be proud of who you are. I promise you this is true, I know because I was there too. We need to empower our youth, especially those fighting their battle on the streets. The strength and drive of a youth who grew up on the streets is parallel to the spirit and drive of many of the business people I’ve come across in my professional life. I’ve walked the pavement; I paced the alleys at 3am and faced the wounds that came along with it. I resented the stereotype cast on me as a “degenerate”. I faced endlessly the judgement, that I had been or done wrong – that I wouldn’t be where I was if I had been a better person, a better kid. I fought that belief, I challenged them – I wanted to prove them wrong, not for them – for me. I fell and when I fell, I fell hard. I embraced that struggle, I cried and I screamed and I moved on. I found support in the people who held me up and I worked hard at it. Until one day, that day came, my 19th birthday (I was in BC). The day I become an “adult”. That was the day, my focus changed from fighting for my own privilege, my own rights and it became about fighting for their rights, their privilege – their right to childhood. You’re right to not have to pound the pavement. Stay strong my friends, stay innocent and humble.

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Canadian Western Bank Shares the H4AN Love

Canadian Western Bank is the proud presenting sponsor of the 15th Annual Homeless For A Night–in fact, they have been the presenting sponsor of H4AN for nine years! CWB has been a huge part of this amazing event that continues to bring the community together to support youth experiencing homelessness in Edmonton.

For this year’s milestone event, we sat down with Lacey Jansen, Community Investment Coordinator at CWB, to share the #H4AN love!

What inspired Canadian Western Bank to participate in Homeless for a Night?

CWB is committed to connecting with and supporting youth in the communities where we operate. We want young people to succeed and Homeless For A Night allows us to not only support YESS’ efforts with local at-risk youth, but also to help members of our community gain perspective on the difficult realities faced by these teens on a daily basis.

How many years have you and CWB been involved in Homeless for a Night?

CWB is proud of our long-standing relationship that first started about a decade ago. We’ve donated nearly $500,000 through various initiatives, sponsorships and employee matching grants, and have been the presenting sponsor for H4AN since 2007.

How do you inspire your employees to get on board with H4AN and to raise pledges?

Our employees have told us that they greatly value the work that YESS does in our community, and so we have people that come out and participate year after year. We also have a culture based on values that include integrity, respect and caring – these are all qualities that our people have and so giving back in the community is something that they want to do. I think knowing how YESS is so important for a young person going through a difficult time or faced with situations out of their control, is enough of an inspiration for employees to get involved. But it also helps that H4AN is a really unique experience. Not many people can say they’ve camped out in TELUS field, in the middle of the city. At the end of the day, our employees are just great at getting out to our community initiatives whether that’s fundraising for a cause or volunteering their time.

What is the most challenging part of H4AN?

I think the event really is about coming together to learn about what local youth are experiencing, but also to say to ourselves “I can help change this.” So the challenge then is in how we can make an impact once we leave the event.

What about your favourite part?

Hands down, the best part of the evening is the sharing of stories from the people who have been positively affected by YESS. Seeing these young people flourish and taking a different path for their lives is so heart-warming and inspiring. Just knowing we’re all there, forgoing some of our comforts, for the same mission – to help youth in our city.

How does CWB’s participation in H4AN strengthen your team and build camaraderie among your employees?

It definitely helps to bring us together. We have 8 branches and our corporate office in Edmonton and surrounding areas, and so it’s an opportunity to bring together people that we don’t often get to see and to do something meaningful together. I’d definitely encourage other businesses to sign-up a team – it’s the kind of experience that will leave people talking and sharing stories for years

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A Big Milestone for H4AN!

This year we are hitting the milestone of the 15th Annual Homeless For A Night event in support of YESS! Of course there have been changes over the years: the event has changed venues, changed entertainment, staff has changed over—since it started, we have even changed our name! We have watched this event grow: we see new faces at the event year-after-year, hear new stories about what inspired new participants to give to YESS.

But some of the most amazing parts of Homeless For A Night are those that stay the same. Seeing familiar supporters every year who are so dedicated and so dear to us. Hearing the voices of people united for a common cause. Watching a community sleep outside so hundreds of youth don’t have to.

Of course, the experience of Homeless For A Night comes nowhere close to being on the streets. We would not want to create that experience for anyone. We would not want to shatter the bonds between people and their parents, ruin their childhoods. We would not want to take their education or their school experiences away from them. We would not want to make them watch their friends turn away from them. We would not want them to starve or turn to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of such profound loneliness.

Because that is what homelessness looks like. Those are the things that cannot be fixed just by placing a roof over someone’s head. Those things need more care: counselling, guidance, trust, love, hope. The things that YESS provides to youth who show up at our doors.

All we can do is invite people to step outside their comfort zones and imagine a life with far less luxury. And remind them over and over again to imagine a little more, teach them what homelessness means beyond not having a house or a bed to sleep in.

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A lot has changed about Homeless For A Night over the years, but the experience has remained the same. Just one night talking about the harsh reality of youth homelessness among a group of like-minded people who want to make a difference can change the world. It certainly changes the lives of youth who come to YESS and find the programs and resources Homeless For A Night participants support.

These 15 years would not have been possible without you. To our participants—new, long-lasting, one-timers—to our sponsors throughout the years, to all the volunteers who make the event possible, to all the friends, family, coworkers, teammates of participants who have contributed through pledges…


You have given youth who have had the odds stacked against them for most of their lives a chance to change their stories. That is what we do and what Homeless For A Night is all about.

We invite you to #FighttheNight with us, to fight against youth homelessness, to be part of changing the stories of hundreds of young lives every year. You can find out more at HomelessForANight.YESS.orgToday is the last day to register if you want to participate in the 15th Annual Homeless For A Night!

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#tbt with Foster Park Brokers’ H4AN Team!

We are always happy to see new faces out at Homeless for a Night every year, but there’s something extra special about seeing people come back year after year. The Foster Park Brokers’ team “FPB Homies” has become an H4AN institution!

Here’s an interview with Mariina Heinonen, Partner and Human Resources Consultant at Foster Park Brokers Inc. that we shared last year. She has been the team leader of the FPB Homies for six years and has been participating in Homeless for a Night for 15 years!

Read what Mariina had to say about her experience with H4AN, and how she has turned it into a team-building initiative for her employees.

Q. What inspired you to participate in Homeless for a Night?

A. In 2000, YESS was our charity of choice for an organization that I worked for back then.  It was there that I met Deb Cautley and realized how important of a job YESS was doing. I grew up in the “inner city” and lived in low rental housing at the time (which is where the event is being held, believe it or not). There were a number kids that could have used this type of help/service from my community, but it was not an option back in the 70s. What YESS does is phenomenal and I truly feel that the work being done is so important.

Q. How many years have you and FPB been involved in Homeless for a Night?

A. This will be my 14th year!  In 2010 when I was campaigning at Foster Park Brokers, people started saying they wanted to be part of it…and the next thing I knew, we had a team! Our group recognizes the importance of giving back to our community and especially one that is local, in our backyard. Our president came out a couple of times as well and that speaks volumes!

Q. In 2014, your team, FPB Homies, raised $4932, surpassing your fundraising goal of $4000! How did you do it?

A. We asked through a company e-mail, Facebook, and Linkedin. We challenged each other to see who could raise the most funds. It also helps that our company matches personal donations up to 3 times. Some of us have had barbecues and invited their friends for a fee to raise money for the event. We have even had a change jar, but the best way is just to ask.

Q. How do you inspire your employees to get on board with H4AN and to raise pledges?

A. Our past participants mostly use e-mail and word-of-mouth. They love the event and have no problem talking about how great it is and what a worthwhile organization YESS is. For raising pledges we have a couple of advocates who really try to get the other team members to raise more money!

Homeless for a Night -Telus Field

Q. What is the most challenging part of H4AN?

A. The most challenging part can be staying warm sometimes–and the 6 am wakeup call!  It puts life on the streets into perspective–and let’s be realistic– we have it easy at H4AN!  It is hard to imagine what those kids go through every day  and especially when it is cold and not easy to find food or shelter. The city is not a pleasant place, especially at night and there are not very many safe places to go. We have tried to imagine what we would do if we did not have a homes to go to… where would a person stay or sleep? How would we find food? A lot of these kids don’t make the choice to leave home because it seems like a good idea: their circumstances dictate it. Our hearts go out to them and the challenges they face every day.

Q. What about your favourite part?

A. The best part is the seeing the number of people who participate. It is a great opportunity to meet others in the community who believe in the same thing we do. Hearing a former client’s perspective is thought-provoking and really drives it home. And the entertainment and fire pit are always an enjoyable part of the evening as well!

Q. How did FPB’s participation in H4AN strengthen your team and build camaraderie among your employees?

A. It really makes our folks realize how lucky they are… for their families, their careers, and the homes they have built. We have talked about our own upbringings… some good, some not so easy. It’s amazing how open people are about their lives and we really do learn a lot about each other (without judgement). It also gives us a common goal and that brings people together in ways that they normally might not. There are those who champion different things to do as well… play cards, toss a football around, etc. and that gets everyone in the group involved.

Q. How does being involved with this event align with the corporate culture at Foster Park Brokers?

A. Foster Park Brokers has always believed that family comes first, and if we can’t support something that really speaks to that… well then what is the point? FPB has proven that time and again to our folks who have had family crises. It is easy to give back to an organization that believes the value in this as well. They really believe in  these kids and continue to provide them with support and opportunities to move forward; whether that is finding a home within YESS or returning home to their family, it is the same belief we carry that family comes first.

Thanks to organizations like Foster Park Brokers Inc. and the efforts of the FPB Homies, YESS is able to support youth who are at risk and experiencing homelessness in Edmonton. You and your employees can help too! Involving your employees in giving back through Homeless for a Night is a great way to strengthen camaraderie among your team members while also helping youth facing difficult realities.

Register your team today!

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A Very Special Letter

Last week we received the most heartfelt message from a former YESS youth, sharing her story and all the amazing things that have happened to her since she left us. With your support, you are a part of stories like these–not just helping youth while they’re at YESS, but throughout their lives.


I wanted to write to you guys to tell you a bit about how I have been doing. It has been almost 12 years since I was a client with YESS and I am sure many if not all of the staff that used to work there have moved on, but I feel it is important to give you an update.

I had a lot of troubles when I was growing up. I stayed in the SkY program (long-term residence) for a good while. The client care workers there supported me through a lot of my issues. Helped me get my self-harm under control, come away from substance abuse. I worked hard while I was there to be a better, healthier person, but it is because of the staff that I made it as far as I did.

Over the years I have had many ups and downs. I have regressed in some areas but I always fought my way back out. After a move across the country, I started fresh. I had a beautiful baby boy at 23, and he is now almost 6. Most importantly, after I had him I knew I needed to do more. I went back to school and obtained my high school diploma and then moved on to college.


This is the important part. Thanks to all the staff and all YESS did for me, my passion lays with helping others. I looked at many courses and none of them felt like home except for Social Services. I know in my heart and soul that this is where I am meant to be. I am meant to help others the way YESS once helped me; to advocate and fight for those who feel they can’t do so for themselves, the way YESS had done for me.

I have just finished my second year, and have one left to go before I graduate, but I have recently had the opportunity to work on a placement at an emergency shelter for women and children. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done with my education, to the point where I have applied for a casual position with them while I continue my education.

I felt it was important to write you, because as I have learned even in just the 4 weeks that I did my placement, the social services field is often a thankless one. It is draining, emotionally, physically, mentally; it is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had to do, next to motherhood (and I’m a single mom). Despite the fact that it is difficult and full of sad stories, there is always a success. Success can mean different things for different people, but for me, and for you guys, this success story ends with a strong, independent woman, with ever-lasting gratitude towards the staff at YESS for giving her a second chance, for believing she could be and do more, and for lighting the fire that gave her the passion to make a difference in the lives of others.

Thank you so much for everything you did for me and for what you continue to do for countless others. For being a parent, a friend, a light in the dark, a voice in the endless void. Thank you. Most importantly, thank you for the chance at life I would not have gotten, for the ability to know I can be more for my son, all of which I would not have without the guidance, care, and love YESS provided.

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An Adventure in Champion City | YESS Gala for Youth 2016

On April 22, guests of the YESS Gala for Youth entered the moody metropolis of Champion City, a place of back-alley villainy and high-flying heroics. Who would win the night in the battle between good and evil?

Guests arrived at the Renaissance Hotel and wove through the dark alleyways of Champion City to reach the super-secret soiree in the shadows. The Champion City alleys were the perfect place to mingle with Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman on the lookout for trouble. Prowling through the crowd were Catwoman and the Joker.

YESS Gala For Youth 2016 DecorThe elegance of themed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres contrasted with shady back alley dealings. The finest counterfeit Champion City Jewellery was on offer, and metropolis’ best libations were stashed in Lex Luthor’s Liquor Cabinet, sponsored by The Sherlock Holmes Hospitality Group. The Riddler offered the chance to beat him at his own game at the Riddle Wall, with prizes from Simons. Guests could also step right onto the cover of their own comic book at the photobooth provided by One Step Beyond Photography.

YESS Gala For Youth 2016 ActivitiesAt dinner, guests finally met their mysterious host: Lex Luthor himself, who claimed to be on the path to redemption and seeking a new place in society as a philanthropist. The Champion City skyline surrounded the ballroom, lit with spotlights of our sponsors’ own heroic logos in a presentation by Owen Brierley and Edmonton Digital Arts College. Tables were set in graphic black and white with the pop of colour of superhero-themed centrepieces, sponsored by Interpipeline.

YESS Gala For Youth 2016 Decor

René Cloutier of Nordic Mechanical Services, Presenting Sponsor of the YESS Gala for Youth, greeted and thankedguests on behalf of YESS. The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi brought greetings from the Prime Minister and offered powerful words on the unified effort required to end youth homelessness. The dynamic duo of Mayor Don Iveson and Honourary YESS Patron Sarah Chan praised the community of YESS supporters in Edmonton.

Deb Cautley, Executive Director of YESS, brought not a speech, but a story. The story of a boy who had been abused by his parents for fifteen years and finally thrown out of his home. He slept outside in a park near the house for five nights, then another two nights at the fence by the backyard. Finally he was allowed back in the house, only to be given a slip of paper with the address to youth shelter. For two months, YESS was this boy’s home. During the day he attended his first year of high school, and in the evening YESS staff helped him study and offered him support and counselling. It was the first time he felt like part of a family, the first time he had felt loved in years.

The boy of this story then took the stage: Jay Ball, General Manager of FC Edmonton. Jay offered words of encouragement to the youth of YESS and praised their resiliency and the strength each carried with them—strength that could grow with YESS’ help.

“There is much more to my story,” Jay said. “But I attribute my success as a human being to YESS. Walking through that door saved my life and gave me hope. It changed my story. Change your story and it can change your life.”

The ballroom erupted in applause for Jay’s bravery, wisdom, and strength. We are so grateful to have former YESS youth share their stories of hope and resiliency. Thank you so much, Jay, for sharing youth powerful words with our guests.

Even with Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman in attendance, our guests proved themselves to be the true heroes of the YESS Gala for Youth, raising over $60,000 during dinner to provide basic needs to youth who are experiencing homelessness and need it most. Over 60,000 meals are served in the Nexus shelter every year, and the amazing support of our guests will go a long way in making sure our youth can always find what they need at YESS.

The evening rolled on to the exciting live auction, emceed by the one and only Danny Hooper. Bidding took off faster than a speeding bullet on fantastic items like a trip for two to anywhere WestJet flies with all the EIA perks, paired with a condo rental at Big White Ski Resort (donated by René Cloutier, WestJet, and Edmonton International Airport), a trip for two to Yellowknife including flights, accommodation, and a golf package (donated by Canadian North, The Explorer Hotel, and the Yellowknife Golf Club), a barbecue dinner for 24 at the Sawmill Restaurant Group (donated by Tom Goodchild), and a masterpiece by Giselle Denis painted live at the gala!

YESS Gala For Youth 2016 Remarkable Moments

But the excitement wasn’t over yet. Lex Luthor took to the stage to reveal his whole bad guy-turned-philanthropist act to be a hoax! His fiendish ways still very much intact, Lex summoned his henchmen, the Joker and Catwoman, to rob the guests of their Champion City jewels. The villains ran rampant and Lex relished his victory—until Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman swooped in to save the day! They apprehended the villains and march them out of the ballroom to cheers from the crowd.

With our guests and their Champion City jewels safe and sound, Crystal Pearce from Hillberg and Berkmade a draw for much finer fare than back-alley baubles: jewellery sets from the collection at Hillberg and Berk.

The evening drew to a triumphant close with the sweet taste of dessert—white chocolate cranberry tart, avocado ice cream, and macaron with dark chocolate ganache, made possible by Dentons—and the rocking sound of Samantha King and The Retrofitz.

YESS Gala For Youth 2016 Sponsors

We would like to thank the superheroes of the YESS Gala for Youth: our sponsors, guests, donors, volunteers, and staff, for bringing this Adventure in Champion City to life. You helped us raise over $218,000, which will empower our youth on their journeys to brighter futures.

To see all the photos that were captured in Champion city, click here, or visit!

Thanks to all of our sponsors this year, including:

Presenting Sponsor: René Cloutier and Nordic Mechanical Services

Dinner Sponsor: Collin Bruce Mortgage Team

Silent Auction Sponsor: Canterra Hotel Suites

Live Auction Sponsor: Carlson Construction

Gift Sponsor: Crystal Glass

Welcome Sponsor: The Violet Chocolate Company

Dessert Sponsor: Dentons

Jewellery Sponsor: Hillberg and Berk

Centrepiece Sponsor: Interpipeline

Gift Bag Sponsor: MC College

WiFi Sponsor: SC Systems

Wine & Spirits Sponsor: Sherlock Holmes Hospitality Group

Event Photography Sponsor: One Step Beyond Photography

Audio Visual Sponsor: Inland AV

Printing Sponsor: Cowan Graphics

Decor Sponsors: River City Events

Accessory Sponsor: Simons

Projection Mapping Sponsor: Owen Brierley and Edmonton Digital Arts College

Outdoor Advertising Sponsor: Pattison

Venue: Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel,

Media: CityTV and Dinner Television, SONiC 102.9

Event Designer: Samantha Kelch, sk events

Volunteer Sponsor: Boston Pizza Northern Alberta

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Guest Post: The Power of YESS

I recently took a tour of YESS’ facilities. Being a complete outsider with only a very broad idea of what Youth Empowerment & Support Services stands for, I went in expecting to be surprised, but that ended up being an extreme understatement. I jumped on board the tour because I was hoping to make a difference through my company, Burst Energy, who provides inexpensive electricity prices to both residential and commercial.

Tommy, YESS’ Sponsorship Specialist, walked me around one of their three robust buildings and explained how YESS is one of the only “full service” homeless shelters. You can’t really appreciate what they mean when they say full service until you see it firsthand. Does that mean that they provide beds, food, and blankets? Doesn’t everyone do that?

Well, it turns out that what I thought was a lot, only scratched the surface of what they actually do. Beds, food, and blankets are important, but YESS ensures that every aspect of the kids’ lives are addressed, including their physical, mental, and emotional well being. The youth who go to YESS are searching for help to rebuild their lives. YESS provides them with the help, much needed resources, support, and individual guidance through all of the different programs they offer. I knew that I had to support this work.

Since our conception, Burst Energy has made it our mandate to supply energy to Albertans at an inexpensive rate because nobody should struggle to pay for electricity. This matched perfectly with the incredible work at YESS.

To better support YESS, we are proud to announce The Power of YESS program. If you sign up and use the referral code “YESS”, we will give you some of the cheapest electricity rates possible and donate each month to Youth Empowerment & Support Services. The best part is that the donation comes off our bottom line!

Residential – $2 CAD every month.

Commercial – $2 CAD per 2,000 kWh every month.

If only 500 people sign up this year we will still be providing YESS with $12,000 annually. It’s our way of making a difference by doing what we do best: providing electricity.

Let’s help make life brighter for these youth!

To find out more about the Power of YESS Program visit

~ blog post written by David Mendenhall, Burst Energy

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The Christmas Shoes

It was December20151230-145903.jpg 23, and there was still one Christmas wish we hadn’t yet been able to fulfill. One of our youth always dresses up. His everyday attire is a suit, tie, and torn dress shoes that have seen better days. On this young man’s Christmas wish list was a pair of spiffy, black, dress shoes. Size 12. Triple wide. Not the easiest type of shoe to find, and we hadn’t really had time to hunt for them. It was looking like the new shoes just weren’t going to happen.

And then we read a message that Burkhard, a generous Edmontonian, had sent us through Facebook, offering to purchase the steel toe boots that were on another wish list that we had posted a photo of. If the youth had already received boots, Burkhard said he’d be “more than happy to fulfill someone else’s wish.”

We knew that the next day was Christmas Eve, and that most stores don’t carry triple wide shoes, and that the chances of anyone having time to search for something so specific with such short notice was slim – but we passed the Christmas wish on to Burkhard anyways.

And sure enough, to our surprise, we received a message from Burkhard on Christmas Eve day. It said, “I’m on the hunt for the shoes, so far I have not found anywhere that carries triple wide. Any idea where I might find them?”

The search was on. We googled and made phone calls, trying to find a store that was still open and that carried triple wide dress shoes, while Burkhard searched every shoe store in the mall and drove around to other stores as well.

And just after 4PM on Christmas Eve, Burkhard delivered a pair of size 12, black, triple wide, men’s dress to our shelter, making a Christmas wish come true for one youth experiencing homelessness.

It’s a gift that goes far beyond what is inside the box. The thoughtfulness showed the young man that someone cared; that he was important and had value. And we have no doubt his perfect fitting, Christmas shoes will give him a new sense of confidence and take him great places in 2016 as he works towards stability and independence.


Thank you Burkhard, and all the amazing Edmontonians that helped make Christmas miracles happen at YESS.

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