Holiday Heroes: Youth Helping Youth

St. Andrew’s College will ‘adopt’ Youth in Care of the York Region Children's Aid Society (CAS) during our tenth year of support for the Annual Holiday Hero program.
This represents a change of focus for SAC, whose cumulative nine-year contribution to the program is 1,500 families helped and over $1 million raised. Local families in need will now be provided for by the Salvation Army.
The SAC community will support youth aged 15 to 20 for whom the CAS is their legal guardian. Melissa Tackaberry, who has coordinated the Holiday Hero program since its inception, is certain our community will get behind this new vision and help to make the lives of some of the youth in our community a little bit better and easier this holiday season. 
At an assembly last Friday morning, Meghan MacSween, a CAS case worker, described life for this marginalized group: “Holidays aren’t a special time for them.” Instead of being happily surrounded by loved ones, these young people are figuring out how to pay their bills and manage their lives. Most came to care because of unsafe homes, and now live on their own, in group homes, or are away at school with no family to rely on.
“Their Christmas lists are about needs, not wants,” Meghan said sadly.
Of the 140 profiles given to SAC, items asked for range from bedding, groceries, and kitchen items to winter coats, gloves, and boots. Melissa urged students to consider including something from their “wish” list as well, even a gift card to help make a personal selection.
The culture of giving is well ingrained at SAC. Each Advisory group will pick a youth to support, and faculty and staff are also provided with names if requested. All gifts are wrapped by faculty, staff, and students and then distributed by the CAS workers to the youth.
“With your help, we can make positive memories going forward for these young people,” said Meghan, offering her heartfelt thanks to the SAC community for the role they will play.

Story by Cindy Veitch
St. Andrew's College
15800 Yonge Street, Aurora, ON L4G 3H7 Canada
Tel: 905-727-3178