Christmastime at Youville Centre

Christmastime is always such a wonderful time of year at Youville Centre, and for that we have all of you – our donors and supporters –  to thank!

With many special events for our young mothers and their children, generous donations from our wonderful community, and visits from helpful volunteers and guests to make the season bright, the month of December goes by fast and gets us all in the Christmas spirit!  It goes without saying that without YOU, we would not be able to provide such a magical Christmas for our young moms and babies each year.

Please take a photo journey with us as we share with you how our centre celebrates the holiday season! This photo journey only highlights some of the generous donors who generously gave at this time of year — we are grateful to all who donated in the form of time, financial contributions, diapers, toys, clothing, bath products, baby products, special treats, gift cards, non-perishable food items and so much more!

Christmas Portraits by Dwayne Brown:

For four years now, local photographer Dwayne Brown has been giving of his time and talent to take Christmas portraits of our young moms and their babies, and provide prints for them to keep, and to share with family and friends. You can read more about Dwayne’s visit to Youville Centre, here on his blog: http://blog.dwaynebrown.com/2014/12/such-love-and-inspiration.html

DBS_Youville-4840 DBS_Youville-4752This special gift captures a moment in time for our young moms, and it allows them to give their children photo memories for years to come.

Hydro Ottawa Decks the Halls:

On  December 5th, volunteers from Hydro Ottawa decorated the centre and baked Christmas cookies for our Christmas luncheon. This enthusiastic group was back for a second year, and we are grateful to them for making our centre look festive and baking such delicious cookies!

Baking1 Baking2 TreeTrimming1 TreeTrimming2

Algonquin College Police Foundations and Business Marketing Students and Staff Give Back to Youville Centre Moms:

Each year we are fortunate to receive donations from Algonquin College‘s Police Foundations Program, who provide Christmas hampers full of food, toys, diapers, clothing and gifts for our community clients (alumnae whose children are in our childcare). This year the Business Marketing Students joined in, and we were amazed at the time and care these philanthropic young students took in assembling their Christmas hampers. Thank you, Tess and Jen (Program Professors) for your role in this initiative as well!

Algonquin

Christmas Cheer Foundation Supports Youville Centre Moms and Children:

Once again this year, we were fortunate to be chosen as a beneficiary of the Christmas Cheer Foundation Breakfast. This event raises funds that go toward providing food vouchers for those in need, including Youville Centre’s young mothers and children. We enjoyed attending the breakfast and we are grateful for this donation!

christmas cheer

Mom & Me Christmas Music Circle:

Each year we have a special Christmas music circle for moms, staff and babies to enjoy. Christmas carols are sung and moms and babies have a chance to connect with each other while spending time with staff.

christmascircle2

A Christmas Gift for Mom from Baby:

Our Early Childhood Educators always take time to make a special Christmas gift for our young moms from their babies! This year they made beautiful tiles decorated with photos and handprints and footprints. A personal, creative gift, the tiles can be used as decorations or as a coaster for moms’ hot chocolate over the holidays.

tiles

The Pyjama Elf Visits Youville:

“The Pyjama Elf” (a.k.a. passionate, local donor Zybina Richards and her friends, supported by the Kiwanis Club of Orleans) visited Youville for a second consecutive year and to provide brand new pyjamas for each mom and child in our centre. Our students were so excited to receive the warm, stylish pyjamas for themselves and their children. It is a gift they might not think to give themselves, and they were grateful for this donation.

pyjamaelf pyjamas

The Ottawa Food Bank Provides “Holiday Extras”:

ottawa-food-bankThe Ottawa Food Bank provided holiday extras for our clients in the form of turkeys, hams and grocery vouchers so that our young moms could prepare a special dinner for their children.

The Christmas You-Store Opens for “Shopping”:

Our students “shopped” in the Christmas You-Store with play “dollars” earned through our incentive program. This empowered our young moms to choose and wrap a gift or two to give to their child on Christmas morning.

ChristmsYouStore2014

Moms and Children Enjoy Annual Christmas Luncheon:

Last but not least, we hosted our annual Christmas Luncheon for our moms and their children. This year, our Christmas Luncheon was made even more magical by a very generous donation from McCarthy Tetrault LLP. Due to their generosity, we were able to rent a photo booth, and purchase decorations, food and beverage supplies for our special event. Everyone enjoyed a tasty turkey dinner, and our special “Elves” from TELUS handed out gift cards to each of the moms! Reverend Rhondda MacKay from All Saints Anglican Church led us in a non-denominational grace before we enjoyed our meal. Also helping in the kitchen and serving tables were: guests from M.F. McHugh Education Centre (our education partner), board members, donors, community partners including a wonderful team from The Ottawa Police Service, volunteers, mentors, and staff. Christmas songs were sung, our toddlers put on a “Jingle Bell Parade”, a special Christmas video was shown, and of course, Santa visited! We were so happy to have one of our longtime volunteers, Jerry, volunteer to be our “Santa”, and we couldn’t imagine one better! Even our fearless leader, Cindy Simpson (Executive Director) dressed up as Mrs. Claus! A heartwarming event made even more magical by a special donor, the Christmas Luncheon was enjoyed by all.

ChristmasLunch1 ChristmasLunch2 ChristmasLunch3 ChristmasLunch4 ChristmasLunch5 ChristmasLunch6 JonathanCindyMary ChristmasLunchServer ChristmasLunchSanta1 ChristmasLunchPhotoBoothThank you to EVERYONE who helped us at Youville Centre provide a magical Christmas for our young moms and their children. We wish all of you a healthy, safe and happy holiday season!

Youville Moms Hold Vigil for Montreal Massacre Victims

candles lit Each year around December 6th, Youville Centre’s young moms hold a vigil for the victims of the Montreal Massacre. As of this year, it has been 25 years since this tragic day, but we continue to remember the women who lost their lives by saying their names and lighting candles. Staff and students alike wore white ribbons to support this important cause.

White Ribbon

Youville’s young moms put together a slideshow with photos of each young woman who lost her life, and spoke about each woman and what her accomplishments, dreams, and goals were at the time. We ended the ceremony with a moment of reflection while listening to the song  “Why” by Rascal Flatts:

It was important for Youville Centre’s young mothers to take time to reflect as they observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, not only as women, but as mothers who are raising sons and daughters.

candle