YESS Champion

A Huge Thank You to the Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund!

The Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund (ECECAF) donated $34,000 to our recent project of renovating the laundry room and bathroom space in Graham’s Place, one of our supportive housing programs.

The remodeling of Graham’s Place bathroom space and laundry room has provided a comfortable home-like environment for youth to thrive and achieve their personal goals. The new laundry room has provided a sustainable way for our staff to teach life skills, and the remodeled bathrooms have created a space of self-care and privacy. The new setup for bathrooms has also taken away the notion of gendered bathrooms and has created a safe and neutral environment for all.

 

Tell us why you choose to support YESS?

YESS is a locally based, grass-roots organization that aligns with many of the values ECECAF strives to uphold. We recognize the desperate situation of traumatized youth in Edmonton and applaud the tireless dedication by YESS to mitigate and heal this issue. We especially realize the importance of supporting youth as they are our future.

 

How does ECECAF give back to the community?

ECECAF gives back to the community by helping our contributing members to help others on a larger scale through collective donations.

We choose to support local organizations which in turn tend to support the community we live in, our members, their families, and their neighbours.

 

Why is it important for ECECAF to support the community?

With our motto being “Impacting Lives and Promoting Healthy Communities,” ECECAF was formed in 1941 to address three main concerns: 

  • To contribute to the comfort of military patients in Edmonton hospitals
  • To provide assistance to soldiers and their families during WWII
  • To give financial assistance to charitable and welfare organizations formed for the purpose of scientific research into the causes and cures of diseases

We still believe that by helping those in our community who need help the most, we help the entire community in turn.

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Spotlight on the Youth Education and Employment Program

The YESS Youth Education and Employment Program provides youth between the ages of 15–24 with skills and knowledge to help them identify career goals, access job-specific training, and learn job readiness skills like cover letter writing and interview skills.

This year, we are so grateful for the support of The Home Depot Canada Foundation and their grant of $150,000 in support of the Youth Education and Employment Program! The Home Depot Canada Foundation is committed to preventing and ending youth homelessness in Canada. Together with community partners across the country, they work to remove barriers, break cycles of inequity, and enable at-risk youth facing homelessness to achieve positive development outcomes and realize their full potential.

 

Staff at the Skyview, South Common, Westmount, and Windermere Home Depot locations with The Home Depot Canada Foundation grant amount of $150,000 in support of YESS

 

We talked to YESS staff members Caitlin Parker, Karley Spelrem, and Juwayriya Abdullahi, who run and support the Youth Education and Employment Program, about what they see youth learn and achieve in this program.

 

Describe your role at YESS!

Caitlin and Juwayriya: We are the Employment Coordinators. We facilitate the Youth Education and Employment Program. Before the program begins, we provide information to youth about what the program entails and complete the intake for each of the youth who are interested. We also reach out and form connections to agencies throughout Edmonton to support the youth during their placements. During the program, we teach youth for three weeks about life skills that can help them obtain employment. An example of this would be discussing employability skills and mental health. After this takes place, each of the youth complete the 12-week employment/practicum portion of the program. We support both the youth and the employers throughout these weeks. Finally, we work with the Transitional Worker to form a plan for what comes next after each youth has completed the entire 15-week program.

Karley: I am the Transitional Worker at YESS where I work with our Supportive Housing Program to transition youth out of our group homes and into independence. I also work with community youth as well as Children Services youth to transition them into our group homes. I support youth in the Youth Education and Employment Program with their transition out of the program, whether that is getting hired onto to work full-time or finding alternative job placements that work with their schedules.

 

Describe the Youth Education and Employment Program.

The Youth Education and Employment Program is a 15-week program that assists youth between the ages of 15-24 with building skills to enter the workforce. The first three weeks entails in-class lessons with the Employment Coordinators where the youth learn life skills such as resume building and how to be successful in an interview. Following that, the youth are placed with an employer for 12 weeks while being provided with the support needed to ensure they are successful at their work placements. Finally, a transition plan is created to provide the youth with a clear path for what their life will look like after the employment program is complete.

 

What are the training/opportunities/outlets that this program provides for youth who access YESS?

The Youth Education and Employment Program provides youth with three weeks of in-class training, followed by 12 weeks of work experience at a place of employment. Youth are trained in basic safety courses such as First Aid and food safety, as well as employment-specific training by obtaining licensing, that is required by employers at their work placements. Youth are led through different courses during the initial 3 weeks which include employment skills, mental health, sexual awareness, and finances. The program supports youth in their placements of choice by seeking to eliminate barriers that might cause inconsistency.

 

How is this program part of the YESS mission to walk beside youth on their journeys towards healing and appropriate community integration?

Within our Youth Education and Employment Program we provide youth with training on mental health, relationships, boundaries, advocacy, health and safety, basic hygiene, cooking skills, etc. We prioritize the first three weeks to class time where we enhance each of these skills before entering the workplace. We also ensure the youth are housed or have housing set up prior to attending the program to eliminate any barriers while in the work field. With this wraparound support from Employment Coordinators and Transitional Workers, we are able to ensure the success of each youth after the eight-week mark of completing our employment program.

 

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

Juwayriya: The youth who access YESS did not choose to experience the barriers they face. They are survivors who are fighting to break the cycle of violence and trauma they have been entrenched in. They are inspiring because of their motivation to help improve their circumstances. They are resilient because they are persistent in their resolve despite setbacks.

The youth at YESS have experienced trauma throughout their lives, yet they are tenacious in their pursuit of healing, community integration, and reaching their full potential in life.

 


 

Thank you so much to the Youth Education and Employment Program work experience partners!

Atlantic Fence
Bottle Depot Windermere (Windermere, 3515 Allan Drive)
Bottle Depot Winterburn (West End, 21410 100 Ave)
Evergreen Recycling
FIND Edmonton
Habitat for Humanity – ReStore North
Habitat for Humanity – ReStore Sherwood Park
Habitat for Humanity – ReStore South
Habitat for Humanity – ReStore West
Little Caesars (McConachie Edmonton)
Pita Pit (104 Street NW, Whyte Ave)
YESS Kitchen

The Youth Education and Employment Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy

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D’Arcy’s Meat Market Shares the Love with the YESS Kitchen

We want to give a huge thanks to D’Arcy’s Meat Market for supporting youth in their community amidst all their other giving initiatives!

The partnership we have built with them continues to support our kitchen and provides nutrition for youth who access our programs. We talked to Kyle Iseke, owner of D’Arcy’s Meat Market, about why their team chose to give to YESS.


We had been looking for a few places that we could donate some meats as we had been very busy during this pandemic. Our team was staying safe and customers were very supportive. Earlier in the year we had donated a large order of ground beef to the St. Albert Food Bank and thought about finding a different place to send some meats and sort of spread the love around, especially because we have a location in Edmonton. When we started looking for a place, we found some were not accepting donations because of the pandemic. It was around this time YESS had reached out to us looking for help getting proteins and obviously the timing was great, but also YESS does wonderful work and has a great reputation for making a difference, so it was an easy choice to get on board.

I think in general D’Arcy’s Meat Market is giving back to the community by serving as a bridge between local livestock producers and consumers looking to purchase local meat. So much of what we consume these days comes from so far away and we believe that simply by using the amazing agriculture we have in this province we can support our economy, improve our food security, lessens the environmental strain caused by long haul trucking or flying in foods, and provide a more natural product that undergoes less processing. Of course, we also try to support causes like YESS, the Food Bank, SAIF (Stop Abuse in Families Society in St. Albert), and as many shelters, sports organizations, and silent auctions that we can afford.

Giving back to the community is very important because when we have a strong and well-supported society, I believe my business thrives. I also have two young children and I’d like to set a good example for them that, when possible, taking care of your neighbours is an important thing to do.

 

Photo credit: D’Arcy’s Meat Market team after they won the best sausage in Edmonton award / Photo courtesy of Kyle Iseke

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Donor Spotlight: Sheila McCarthy

Sheila and Grant McCarthy first started giving to YESS in 1999. With their commitment to supporting youth in our community, they wanted to ensure that their legacy of giving could continue on for many years to come through a family endowment fund. Hear from Sheila about why giving back to the community was so important for her family and how they chose to share those gifts.

I am a recent widow with a fairly large family including 4 children, 9 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. My husband had a successful manufacturing business and I was the accountant. We were both fortunate to have supportive families that allowed us to follow our chosen careers.

My husband, Grant, and I started giving to charities many years ago because we thought it was time to start giving back to the community. We felt very strongly about helping the less fortunate. We were especially interested in the homeless, which included the homeless youth.

We know that the teen and early 20 years are very difficult for many young people. Many of them have experienced trauma in their lives and can no longer live at home. We have seen first-hand the problems of alcohol and drugs and the havoc it can cause in families. We started giving to YESS because YESS provided a safe place for youth to stay and food to eat while they figured out what they will do next with their lives. When we visited YESS in 2015, we were very impressed with the workers who were so genuinely interested in providing support and guidance for these young people whether it was in continuing education, job support, health issues, or building positive relationships.

We set up a family fund with the Edmonton Community Foundation so that there would be continued support for our chosen charities after we have passed away. We hope that our family will also contribute to this fund in the future.

I hope that all the young people living on the street know that YESS is an option for them.

 

Endowment Funds:  Longevity and Effectiveness

When you commit to an endowment fund, you give the gift of a lifetime and positively affect the lives of thousands of youth. Your gift to the fund is held in perpetuity, with the principal invested. A portion of the income generated is used to support YESS’s vital programs, with the remainder adding to principal growth. As a result, your gift continues to give, year after year. 

You may designate your endowment fund gift to the mission of the agency, ensuring that the funding it provides will be applied where the need is greatest, or you may specify the program you wish to see benefit from your generosity. Either way, you can make your commitment confident that the value of your gift will be maximized over time by a respected investment management group, guided by the policies and procedures of Youth Empowerment and Support Services.

YESS is working to end youth homelessness by focusing on prevention and diversion out of homelessness. We are extremely grateful to all those individuals and groups who have established endowment funds in support of YESS. Thank you for helping us to thrive and grow in our commitment to serving the youth. Thank you for being that person who changed a life—many times over!

With the support and forethought of people like Sheila and Grant McCarthy, YESS is able to walk beside traumatized youth as they heal through relationships. Your gift can make a huge difference in the lives of vulnerable people and our community, today and long into the future.

To find out more about maximizing your philanthropy and for more detailed information on establishing an endowment fund, we invite you to contact our Senior Development Officer, Eileen Papulkas, at 780.468.7070 x 298 or eileen.papulkas@yess.org

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Thank You to The Orange Door Winter 2021 Campaign!

In December 2021, The Home Depot Canada Foundation hosted their annual winter Orange Door Project Campaign in support of youth-focused charities across the country! The Home Depot Canada Foundation is committed to preventing and ending youth homelessness. Together with community partners across the country, they work to break cycles of inequity and enable at-risk youth facing homelessness achieve positive development outcomes and realize their full potential.

Making donations $2 at a time, Canadians made this Orange Door Project Campaign extremely successful! In honour of the hard work of their in-store associates and the ongoing difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Home Depot Canada Foundation decided to grant an additional $5,500 to each store’s campaign partner for a total investment of $1,001,000!

In the Edmonton area, nine The Home Depot stores selected YESS as their charity of choice for their winter Orange Door Project Campaign. In total YESS will be granted $105,789.52 as a result of the successful campaign!

We are so grateful to these local stores for their initiative to support youth in their community! Thank you to:

Home Depot Clareview
Home Depot Westend
Home Depot South Common
Home Depot St. Albert
Home Depot Edmonton Strathcona
Home Depot Skyview
Home Depot Sherwood Park
Home Depot Edmonton (Westmount)
Home Depot Whitemud
Home Depot Edmonton Windermere

Home Depot Clareview

Home Depot Sherwood Park Home Depot Skyview
Home Depot South Common Home Depot Strathcona Home Depot Westend

Home Depot Westmount

Home Depot Whitemud

Home Depot Windermere

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National Philanthropy Day: John Brooks Company Ltd.

For National Philanthropy Day 2021 we nominated 5 Days for the Homeless, ATCO, and John Brooks Comapny Ltd., to recognize their incredible support of YESS!


Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS) is honored to recognize John Brooks Company Limited as a true pillar in the Edmonton community. By way of their philanthropic leadership and their commitment to the community, they have championed YESS for nearly a decade. Founded in 1938 and a national leader in Industrial pumps, spray products, filtration equipment, valves and complete system solution expertise, John Brooks Company Limited has been tireless with their encouragement and strength of confidence in the youth and our organization. John Brooks Company Limited firmly believes in giving back to affect a real difference in the community. Major donors since 2012, YESS is so grateful for the leadership, dedicated team members and vision of John Brooks Company Limited. Altogether, their generosity has helped to support programs and resources that help youth experiencing trauma and homelessness achieve goals for their relationships, their health, and their futures. Their generosity has profoundly impacted the lives of countless youth. Thank you for being a part of creating a community where we can heal together!

“Here at John Brooks Company we put a very high value on people and have been very happy to be a consistent supporter of organizations such as YESS that directly support some of our more vulnerable Canadians. Particularly in challenging times as these, it is important to support those who strive to make a positive difference.”

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National Philanthropy Day: ATCO

For National Philanthropy Day 2021 we nominated 5 Days for the Homeless, ATCO, and John Brooks Comapny Ltd., to recognize their incredible support of YESS!


Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS) is honoured to recognize ATCO for their grassroots initiative with ATCO EPIC (Employees Participating in Communities) and leading the way with their philanthropic commitment over the past 10 years. The vision and dedication of ATCO EPIC has made a pivotal impact on the programs and resources that support youth experiencing trauma. ATCO continues to lead with an enhanced sense of community through their countless hours of volunteer leadership with their Days of Caring and numerous employee-led campaigns. ATCO EPIC has helped to strengthen the futures of our youth through their creative fundraising initiatives and generous avenues of support. YESS has been selected as their feature charity in 2020 and has been instrumental in raising awareness of the challenges our youth face.  Even in challenging times of the pandemic, ATCO EPIC’s passion for community is exemplified through creative virtual giving and their annual EPIC Golf Tournament. ATCO’s devotion to making a difference and employee engagement has raised over $325,000 through pledging, events and the corporate match. ATCO has been a champion for YESS with their enthusiasm to build community, provide safety and enhanced responsibility for our youth. Thank you to the ATCO EPIC team for their tireless long-term support and encouragement of our youth as they grow and empower themselves to become independent and break the cycle of homelessness.

Community investment isn’t just a corporate initiative—our employees are passionate about supporting their communities. ATCO EPIC (Employees Participating in Communities) is a long-standing employee-led program, combining volunteerism, fundraising events and individual donations. We listen carefully to what our communities tell us is important to them, and then look for opportunities to provide support that will make the greatest difference. Supporting youth, sports and Indigenous initiatives all have a special place in our hearts.”

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National Philanthropy Day: 5 Days for the Homeless

For National Philanthropy Day 2021 we nominated 5 Days for the Homeless, ATCO, and John Brooks Comapny Ltd., to recognize their incredible support of YESS!


5 Days for the Homeless is a university student initiative designed to raise funds and spread social awareness in support of the issues faced by traumatized and homeless youth. The event, founded in 2005 by students in the Faculty of Business at the University of Alberta, has since become a national event in which 21 universities and colleges across Canada support their local homeless shelters. The 2021, 5Days group, faced the additional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented almost all of the normal events of the 5 Days campaign. The students of this group, however, were very innovative and motivated, and moved the campaign almost totally online. Their campaign was highly successful and Youth Empowerment and Support Services is proud and honored to have such a group supporting our youth.

“The 2021, 5 Days for the Homeless campaign, was able to fund raise over $25,000 for Youth Empowerment and Support Services. The campaign was able to exceed its goals of raising donations and general awareness towards youth homelessness support in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. 5 Days has reached campus wide appeal with volunteers from different faculties helping deliver our message in their respective networks. Our awareness content, educating students about the challenges associated with youth homeless, was able to reach hundreds of followers through our social media and events. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted youth experiencing homelessness as multiple Canadian organizations have struggled to stay connected with them due to a loss of funding, a decrease in staff, and an increase of health concerns. While the 5 Days campaign was typically conducted in person, we decided to pivot online to continue contributing to YESS during these challenging times.”

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National Philanthropy Day: No Room in the Inn

For National Philanthropy Day 2020 we nominated The REALTORS® Community Foundation, Ledcor Group, Collin and Janel Bruce, No Room in the Inn, and Hillcrest Junior High to recognize their incredible support of YESS!

No Room in the Inn

Since 1999, the Edmonton & District Council of Churches has sponsored an ecumenical Christmas fundraising initiative called No Room in the Inn. Each year, church congregations and individuals from many denominations join together to provide financial support to a housing provider for the homeless or people at risk in the Edmonton Capital Region. The annual campaign raises from $40,000 to $70,000. Over the years, the project has raised (cumulatively) over $1 million from the community for twenty different housing projects in the Capital Region! Rooted in values central to Christian faith and identity, their annual campaign expresses to vulnerable persons in our community that they are loved and cared about as valued members of our society. YESS was awarded funds from their 2018 campaign to completely renovate the bathrooms in our Whyte Avenue Nexus program to provide a cleaner environment with increased privacy and dignity. This will help the traumatized youth assisted by YESS to understand they are important and to help them integrate back into the community. Thank you to each member of the Edmonton & District Council of Churches for your generous support!

 

“No Room In The Inn is a Christmas fundraising initiative sponsored by the Edmonton and District Council of Churches. The name, drawn from the biblical story of Christ’s birth in a stable, reflects our focus on creating or improving housing for those in need. We often support small renovation projects for groups that might otherwise not be able to afford them. EDCC has long been aware of the good work that YESS performs in the community, and we were especially taken with the request from YESS knowing what a significant benefit they would receive from our relatively modest contribution.”

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Thank You to Southview Acura

Thank you to the team at Southview Acura for their commitment and continuous support for our youth.

Their dedication to give back has been essential in creating opportunities for our youth to be integrated back into the community.

Thank you to Southview Acura for your generosity and leadership.


Tell us why you choose to support YESS?

We choose to support YESS as we believe ending homelessness in our community starts with ensuring our youth receive the support and services they need to be successful young adults and integrate into our community. YESS’ mission “To walk beside traumatized youth on their journey towards healing and appropriate community integration” deals with the underlying issues by helping young people find a stable and secure environment to heal. We believe this is a crucial step towards a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

How does Southview Acura give back to the community?

Every year Southview Acura selects several charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Through monetary donations or by collecting supplies we do our best to support our community. This year we have been lucky enough to support Big Brother and Big Sisters, SCARS, Edmonton Food Bank, Basically Babies, Little Warriors, and The Christmas Bureau.

Why is it important for Southview Acura to support the community?

The community of Edmonton and surrounding area have been extremely loyal and supportive of Southview Acura for many years. Our clients are truly the most caring and hard-working people. It is our privilege to give back to the community.

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