Back in February, all of us staff at YUE spent an evening celebrating and thanking our volunteers. It was a fantastic night of good food, great laughs, and helping our leaders see just how meaningful they are to us and the kids we serve. At the end of the appreciation night, we handed out cards to our volunteers. These weren’t just cards of our thanks, but each one also had a quote from a student from one of our centres or programs that had been specifically impacted by that volunteer. Let me share one specific quote that was written for a volunteer at The Cellar Youth Centre, “Alicia helped me to understand that I can be who I am and God will still love me. Most people get all weird when they see how I look, like with my died hair and piercings. I feel that Alicia and I have a lot of stuff in common like music and how we choose to look. I would like to thank her for just being who she is really and how she makes me feel not so alone.” Alicia has spent many hours of drop-in connecting with this student over art and music, listening, chatting and giving encouragement. Obviously, she’s made quite an impact. Thankfully, we have many stories like Alicia’s story. Each one of the volunteers with YUE has a specific set of skills, gifts and talents. Not only that, they have their own story, their own perspective and their own personality. I am convinced that one of the ways God shows His love to these kids is by providing a diverse group of leaders so that each one of these unique students has someone they feel they can connect with on a deeper level. To all our volunteers, again, we thank you! You are helping us reach the 50,000 at-risk youth in Edmonton and you are making a difference! To those who want to make a difference in the lives of teenagers in this city, sign up as a volunteer here!