It’s the holiday season! Christmas is my favourite time of year.

Here at the Brightspark offices, we celebrate in a number of ways: a couple of potlucks, a bad Christmas sweater day, but nothing is quite as obvious as the plethora of decorations that we put up. We must have some interior designers moonlighting as tour coordinators and sales consultants.

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But for me, as splashy as our office looks, the best part of the holidays is the crunch of fresh snow under my feet, festive lights on neighbourhood houses, and that warm, happy feeling that I get when I go home to my family for Christmas.

But what about people, especially youth, who don’t have a home at Christmas? In Toronto, three out of every 100 youth are homeless, and many of them won’t experience that warm, happy feeling at Christmastime. As an office, we decided to do something for the less fortunate youth in our community, to help make their holidays a little brighter.

That’s why, in addition to our rather loud choice of décor, we chose to raise funds and goods for the Youth Without Shelter home in Rexdale.

Youth Without Shelter (YWS) is a 50-bed emergency shelter for youthd ages 15 – 24. Every night, their Brightspark-at-YWSshelter is at capacity with young people who have nowhere else to turn. Often, they’ve been forced out of their homes by abuse. The holidays can be a difficult time for those without family to celebrate with, which is why YWS collects food, new clothing, toiletries and gift cards, and provides a safe, caring environment where youth can celebrate the season.

It felt great to deliver the goods we had collected, and we hope that it makes even a small difference in the lives of the youth living at YWS. If you have the time, take a few minutes and watch this video about YWS and their remarkable programs, or visit them online.

On behalf of the whole Brightspark family, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Pictured at right: Members of the Brightspark Sustainability Committee with Judy Leroux, Development Manager at Youth Without Shelter. L – R, Ashley, Nina, Judy, and me! 

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