On June 18th, 2019 our team visited Youth Without Shelter (YWS) to cook our famous jerk chicken and mac n cheese for the 53 residents and staff. Each month we call in advance to find out what the youth would like us to cook for dinner and once again they requested jerk chicken and mac n cheese.
This visit we had a few special first-time volunteer cooks. Thank you to our wonderful donors Bill and Lorainne McDonald, Paul Keller, as well as new editions to the Pinball Clemons Foundation family, Simon Mass and his wife Parmiss.
This year our partnership with Youth Without Shelter (YWS) celebrates it’s 6-year anniversary. When we set out on our journey to find the perfect partners to support our goal of empowering youth through education, YWS stood out from all the rest.
As a Foundation we firmly believe in the incredible potential of every youth that calls YWS home. Through both inspiring on-site volunteer engagement and significant financial investment, our Foundation proudly considers YWS it’s second home, specifically its kitchen and dining table. Together we have ensured that healthy food is accessible to each youth to nourish their mind, body and spirit, as they strive for independent living through education and employment.
Every month we look forward to trading in our dress clothes for aprons and pens for spatulas. It is around the dining room table where we come together to trade stories and dreams. It allows our staff to not only bond with the youth but better understand their goals for the future, all while enjoying a wonderful home cooked meal.
Recently, we’ve taken our partnership to new heights as we have adopted YWS into our new Margins to Mainstream model. Through the support of our partners, we’re focused on helping the most marginalized youth, from community to career by investing in the best programs that help empower them and create self-sustainability. Marginalized youth, such as those from the shelter, often feel alienated and excluded from the access and opportunities their peers readily experience. As our partnership evolves and strengthens, we will continue to take more youth from the margins to the mainstream, and turn the invisible, visible…powerful, independent and strong!
The highlight of this new model most certainly has been seeing the youth take an active role in furthering their education. This past year, youth who have received bursaries from the Pinball Clemons Foundation have participated in monthly mentorship sessions and are given the opportunity to share their ongoing experiences and struggles of post-secondary education with the group.
These sessions include not only help with financial literacy but also personal growth tactics that help these youth navigate the often-turbulent waters that come with early adulthood. Our team is so excited to see these youth blossom into the adults they are meant to become and these monthly mentorship sessions are a highlight for our team to see their amazing progress.
“We are particularly impressed with the YWS team as they consistently help, heal and inspire youth to aspire. They successfully coach youth to not just deal with their challenges, but to move pass them and focus on education, graduation, employment and independence”
-Michael “Pinball” Clemons