Caitlynn found a future at a United Way supported after-school program at YMCA-YWCA. Here she tells her story in her own words.
Have you ever had trouble with kids in your neighbourhood? Something innocent like a knocked over garbage can or mailbox. Maybe a little more scary like having your windows egged. Perhaps a group of teens were acting out and made you feel unsafe. Or stole something. Did you yell at them? Did you call the police?
My name is Caitlynn. I was one of those kids. I was heading down the wrong path. I was stealing. I was doing drugs. I was getting into trouble and I didn’t care. But an after-school program in my neighbourhood helped me turn my life around and care about something other than myself.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t like magic. The first time I went there, I got kicked out because Ken, the program manager, caught me smoking drugs under the back stairwell. Not long after I got caught stealing and the judge told my mom I could work my fines off. She brought me back there.
Ken made me clean toilets, do dusting…stuff like that. I hated it. It sucked. But I had to do it so I kept coming back. And over time I started to realize that they do some pretty cool stuff. There’s a gym. A climbing wall. And all these kids come here every day and have a great time. It looked like so much fun, so I asked Ken if there was any other way I could help. He got me working with some of the younger kids, supervising, making sure they didn’t get into trouble…didn’t get hurt. It was hard, but I liked it. So I kept coming back, even when I didn’t have to anymore.
I was in a really bad place when I first discovered this program. Meeting Ken, and him putting me through all the programs and things, it helped me stay off the streets and doing drugs and become a better person.
That’s what I want to do with my life. I want to go back to school and go into social work. I want to help kids because sometimes they need somebody to be a role model for them and I’d really like to be that. I’d really like to be there for them the way Ken was there for me.
P.S. I’m so proud. I became a United Way donor for the first time this campaign!
United Way youth volunteers will be climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest on Sunday, March 20. They’re doing it to raise awareness and money for youth programs and services in our city. It’s all part of United Way’s very first UP Stair Climb event.
This Friday, March 18th between 7:30am and 1:30pm, please visit us at Base Camp, at the foot of 201 Portage, where students will be camped outside, taking pledges, answering questions and preparing for Sunday’s climb. We’ll have coffee to keep you warm as well as unique content for your audience. Hope to see you there!
Participants will scale 33 stories and 600 stairs to the top of 201 Portage – Winnipeg’s tallest building – at the corner of Portage & Main, not once, not twice, but a total of 86 times. That’s over 50,000 stairs or 29,029 feet – the equivalent of Everest! A lofty goal indeed, shadowed only by the students’ ultimate goal: to give all kids in our city an opportunity to choose graduation over gang life, a chance to live their dreams, and the skills and confidence to set and achieve goals of their own.
Money raised will support programs that keep kids safe and active during the critical hours when they not in school; programs proven to help kids – particularly those living in low-income situations – improve grades, behaviour and well-being.
United Way youth volunteers scaled the equivalent of Mount Everest on Sunday, March 20, 2011 for the very first Up stair climb event in support of United Way youth programs and services in Winnipeg.
Up Stair Climb co-chairs Yael Shrom and Shannon Mohoric were joined by almost 50 youth who took turns climbing 600 stairs to the top Winnipeg’s tallest building a total of 86 times or more than 29,000 vertical feet.
With support from friends and family, students raised more than $8,000—nearly doubling their original target!
Thanks to enthusiastic emcee Jason Gauthier and sponsors GoodLife Fitness, the Leaf and Loaf, Starbucks and 201 Portage as well as Ian Gerbrandt who spoke on behalf of Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg.
Thanks also to the climbers and everyone who made a donation. Because of generous people like you, kids in our city have an opportunity to choose graduation over gang life, a chance to live their dreams, and the skills and confidence to set and achieve goals of their own.
That’s because money raised will support programs that keep kids safe and active during the critical hours when they not in school; programs proven to help kids—particularly those living in low-income situations—improve grades, behaviour and well-being.