Adopt-A-Family Gifts Bring on Excitement for Teens

January 18, 2010

My name is Matt Timberlake, and I am a teacher with Youth Moving Forward Alternative Education. Along with Youth Worker, Lynda Wilk, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous donation of holiday gifts for our students. It was much more than we could ever ask for!

When we received the gifts from Adopt-A-Family, we took a look inside the bags, and were completely blown away! Of course, we downplayed the gifts to our students, saying we got a "few things" from an anonymous sponsor. Even before opening the gifts, we were hearing "I am looking forward to this Christmas party even more than the actual day!" After some old-fashioned oatmeal, we opened the gifts. Things started off normally, with kids chattering and talking, then all of a sudden: stunned silence, then just as quickly, hooting and hollering of excitement! We had some kids with tears in their eyes, honestly.

The Youth Moving Forward (YMF) program is a unique alternative education program being offered through Wellington Heights Secondary School in Mount Forest, Ontario. YMF offers great opportunities and benefits to the attending youths. YMF offers community youth ages 16-21 who have experienced difficulties within traditional school settings to work in both group and individual settings towards earning high school credits. Many youths at YMF struggle (or have struggled in the past with) with a variety of situations, such as substance abuse, pregnancy, bullying, and physical/emotional/financial abuse, that make them vulnerable in a traditional high school. YMF gives these students the opportunity to be enrolled in school and working towards success in receiving their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas, while providing these youths with daily supports, one-to-one assistance, and a comfortable and flexible environment sensitive to their needs. Fortunately, the program has a well-trained and caring staff to provide continuous assistance and guidance in their everyday lives to help them become educated decision-makers, choice-conscious individuals, and high school graduates.

Once again, thank you for your is amazing to think that even during these difficult times, that someone still cares about those that are less well-off...even if they are strangers.

Below are a few quotes from some of our students:

"Thank you so much, we all appreciate all you have done for us to make this Christmas an awesome one."

"Thank you so much for the thoughtful presents! Have a Merry Christmas - you helped make mine special!"

"Thank you soooo much for the spectacular gifts!"