Home can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It can be a place where you feel safe and accepted, a place that is warm and inviting, a place to eat a good meal – it’s a place to be you. The four walls and the roof that make up a house come to life when we bring our hopes, our fears, our loved ones and our dreams. This is home, it’s what we try to create for young people at Choices for Youth every day.

Choices for Youth began over 25 years ago in St. John’s, and since we first opened our doors we’ve helped thousands of young people aged 16-29 secure stable housing, education and employment. This vulnerable population of at-risk and homeless youth are closer than you might think; they are sleeping on friends-of-friends’ couches, renting unsafe rooms, or staying in emergency shelters. These young people make due, make ends meet, and do what is necessary to keep a roof over their heads each night, but it isn’t always enough.

From mental health challenges, to family breakdown, to inter-generational poverty, the young people that we serve each day at Choices for Youth have seen their share of struggles. For many, the holidays can be a difficult time to share in the joy of the season when facing some tough choices. That’s why we are once again encouraging our community to support the young people who need our support, and to give Home for the Holidays.

This year’s holiday campaign follows the journey of two young people, Charlie and Jojo, as they navigate the many barriers that make up life for at-risk youth. Though these two characters are fictional, their journeys are influenced by the many stories and experiences of the youth who come to CFY for support each day. From trying to find an affordable apartment, to finding a GED program, to getting the proper identification, there are many obstacles for vulnerable populations like at-risk youth to overcome in order to make the transition to a healthier life.

We have seen time and time again the incredible things that can happen when you give a young person the right support. What once may have looked broken, angry, or alone, can transform into a vibrant, happy, and successful individual. The difference is giving a young person the support that they need to get there; the resources, tools, information and knowledge to help them define and achieve their goals, to overcome the many obstacles in their way, and to help them become the person they want to be.

Supporting Choices for Youth’s Home for the Holidays campaign mean supporting a local organization with local impact -- supporting the young person who needs help going back to school, the young person who needs access to mental health resources, and the young person who just wants to find a safe place to sleep each night. Our organization operates each day with the philosophy that every young person has the same potential, and when you give someone the semblance of home that youth find at Choices for Youth you are helping them to unlock that potential. Home is more than shelter; it’s a feeling, it’s respect, and for many youth it’s Choices for Youth.

Help #GIVEHOME today at www.HomeForTheHolidaysNL.ca