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Christmas at the Core

Honestly, I feel like I could sit here and write wins for the next twenty minutes out of today. We did our Christmas banquet for the youth today, and it was so, so good. It had some little rough moments, but overall so good. We had 73 students today, which was so crazy but so good. Evolve church had more than enough food for it! Not only did everyone get second if they wanted, but we also were able to send home almost 30 containers of food with various students.

A few different students said they were so glad to have this today as they feel like these people are more like family than their actual family. And they said how much they loved being able to sit and have a holiday meal with them. Most of these students said that their home life isn't good and they really aren't excited to spend the holidays with family, so they were glad that today happened.

We wrote cards for about 45 of our kids (all the ones who told us ahead of time they were coming). As we watched them open them, you could see their faces light up. One or two kids said they loved the cards so much. Or mentioned how they don't often get cards. Or how it made them feel seen. Honestly just seeing them sit down with their cards as soon as they got them and just open them and read was so cool to see.

Probably my absolute highlight, we set up a corner of the room for kids to take photos in. At one point, a group of friends goes over, and then one of them turns around and yells for everyone to get over there for a photo with everyone in drop-in. 90% of the kids didn't even hesitate and ran over to hop into this massive photo altogether. It was just such a sweet little moment of all of them squished together and just excited to be there.

I'll leave it there, but it was a good day. It was busy, and it was full, but it was so cool to see so many of our students just sitting and eating together. Not running around like usual, but just sitting and eating.

Gabe Piska - Program Director at Youth Unlimited Edmonton


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