The majority of the youth in our programs come from low-income families, single parent households, and/or are first generation immigrants. ALL of them live in poverty. That’s just a fact. These circumstances present a unique set of challenges. Feedback from our kids tells us that employment and basic job readiness skills are a struggle, especially for high-school students who may be required to help support younger siblings while trying to graduate and plan for the future. That’s a lot of pressure to place on a group of people that aren’t even old enough to vote yet! With the support of CN Railway and their generous donation of $20,000, they’ve helped us to lighten that load.
2019 marks 100 years for CN Railway, truly an inspiring milestone! With the objective of “safer, stronger communities” in mind and a desire to give back, CN Railway established their first ever Community Board, right here in Edmonton. We’re honored that one of the first donations made by the newly established Community Board was in support of our young people and improving employment preparedness. CN Board’s Executive Director, Dawn Newton, attended our Teen Takeover event at the end of February, a full day event geared towards helping 89 high school students develop life & leadership skills, and build their networks.
Our Teen Takeover event has grown over the years from just 15 to 89 young people in just over a few years. The students had the day off school (PD day) and decided to come to this full-day event! While the rest of the students in Edmonton slept in, our young people showed up at 8am – they truly recognized the value in preparing for their futures.
Some bright young women shared that although their moms had registered for them to attend, they were “so grateful to have come!” They learned about the importance of volunteering, building networks, and that collaboration, communication, and problem solving are important qualities in achieving success in the work place.
The afternoon included a presentation from World of Choices, a program that brings mentors from different careers right to the kids, providing an opportunity for interaction and question and answer periods. The feedback and instruction was empowering and when the day was over the kids walked away more confident and more capable than when they began.
Empowering our youth with the tools they need to achieve success in life couldn’t have been possible without the support of CN Railway. Dawn shared with us that when they looked at ways to give back to the community, they asked themselves where is the greatest need and where can our investment have the greatest impact? We’re so grateful that CN Railway believes in investing in our youth, understanding that equipping them with skills today helps to build our community for tomorrow.
If you would like to invest in our youth, please visit: https://bgcbigs.ca/donate/