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CFY Hosts Annual Youth Celebration

Choices for Youth (CFY) hosted our annual Youth Celebration on October 4, 2023, at the CLB Armory. Over 150 guests including CFY team members and almost 80 young people and their families gathered to celebrate the achievements of young people engaged in CFY programming. The event included a meal, live performances, and the presentation of Youth Achievement Awards to ten CFY program participants.

Tables set with shades of blue, green, and purple dotted the armoury floor as guests piled in and snacked on a selection of Halloween chips and chocolates. Youth artwork decorated each table along with copies of an inspirational poem composed by a CFY youth.

The event was hosted by CFY Board Chair Geoff Davis and Youth Leadership and Advisory Council Co-Chair Dionne. The pair welcomed the attendees and introduced each round of award presenters. The event kicked off with opening remarks from CFY Executive Director Sheldon Pollet followed by a recorded presentation from our provincial Youth Advisor Council.

The Stepping Stone Award acknowledges the special achievements of young people who have gone above and beyond and shown particular initiative and progress in the areas of education and employment. The Stepping Stone Award was presented to four young people at this year’s event including Jacob and Josh.

The River Award recognizes the personal growth of young people who have shown progress in the areas of perseverance and self-awareness. It is named in the spirit of the flowing river, which does not get discouraged when confronted with an obstacle, but rather finds a new path to continue moving forward. Morgan and three other young people received River Awards.

The Michael Walsh Aware goes to a young person who demonstrates good-natured resiliency in dealing with challenges in their life. This award is named in honour of a CFY team member who is no longer with us. The youth recipient of this award exemplifies Mike’s cheerfulness and determination to overcome life’s challenges. Special thanks to Jim Murry, a family member of Michael’s, for presenting this award.

Finally, the Raymond Furlong Award, named for one of the first young people involved in the development of CFY, is presented to a young person who consistently attends a high school, post-secondary, or other learning program.

Between the presentations of awards, guests were treated to a variety of musical performances from CFY youth, including songs and original raps. Seeing the talent and creativity of the young people on display was truly inspirational and showcased the potential of the youth in attendance.

CFY would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the young people in our community for putting their trust in our organization and our teams to support them in achieving their goals. We would also like to thank each and every one of our staff members for their continued dedication and commitment to supporting their young people.

CFY’s Youth Achievement Awards acknowledge the growth, development, resiliency, and commitment of youth engaged in various CFY programs. While the ten award recipients received special recognition this event also celebrated the dozens of young people engaged in CFY programming and supported by our amazing teams who are taking small steps every day to unlock their potential.

Written by Chris Morris

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