Note: Due to the COVID-19 directive, Souper Bowls of Hope is postponed until further notice. You can make a donation to support the Youth Empowerment Society here.
Since 1992, the Youth Empowerment Society has been helping youth at risk and their families achieve their goals, in an atmosphere where the youth can feel safe and supported.
“We’ve been in existence for over 25 years now,” says Julie-Ann Hunter from the Youth Empowerment Society, or YES.
“Our goal is to help vulnerable youth and families in our community. And that can look like anything from maybe there’s been a bit of a family breakdown, maybe they need some support, all the way through to homelessness, addiction and mental health.
“We also have what we call ‘supported independent living’ for those older youth who are transitioning to adulthood. They get support all the way up to [age] 24, because we want make sure that we’re supporting kids as they reach adulthood. We have an emergency shelter for youth, we have a drop-in [centre] so youth can get their basic needs met, and we offer meals, laundry, showers, that sort of thing…”
And on April 15, an important fundraiser will support the vital work being done by YES.
“Souper Bowls of Hope is an annual lunchtime fundraiser for the Youth Empowerment Society” says Michele Davis, coordinator of the event.
“Our motto is to eat soup, have fun, and keep the bowl! We have three different chefs who make soup for us – the Union Club, 10 Acres Bistro, and Cheryl’s Gourmet Pantry. Also, Portofino [Bakery] is going to supply us with some delicious bread. And the beauty of this event is that everybody gets to take home a hand-crafted bowl!”
Many of those hand-crafted bowls are being created by the Garden City Potters.
“We love supporting Souper Bowls of Hope,” says Nancy Wall, one of the Garden City Potters. “I just like to help the youth get a chance, get a second chance and get back on their feet – they need some support.”
Rachel Coward, another Garden City Potter, agrees.
“I think we all know young people who have a lot of trouble these days, with their life, and if you can help them in some way…well, this is one small way potters can help.”
Hunter is grateful for the Garden City Potters’ support.
“Without the bowls, we can’t have Souper Bowls of Hope! They have been donating bowls since the conception of this event 22 years ago. They’re extremely talented, and so, coming to this event, you’re going to see a variety of different bowls and different talents that they’ve donated.”
“I’ve been [making bowls for this event] for twenty years,” says Garden City Potter Rachel Coward. “It was such a good cause – helping out the youth at risk – that I couldn’t help but help. And the potters all love to get their hands in the clay and make bowls, so the two went together.”
Garden City Potter Linda Vigliotti estimates she makes about 40 bowls every year for Souper Bowls of Hope.
“It’s a really fun event, and it’s a really good way for me to support a charity that I love.”
But Hunter points out that the lunchtime fundraiser is just one of many ways to support YES.
“We always need clothing donations,” says Hunter. “We support a lot of youth that are going back to school, who maybe don’t have means to get things like backpacks, and pencils, and that sort of thing. So if people are ever interested in donating, they can always give us a shout – we’re on social media, and we have a website as well — and you can always reach out to us. We’re always happy to see how people can help us, and we’re always so grateful for it!”
Due to the COVID-19 directive, Souper Bowls of Hope is postponed until further notice. You can make a donation to support the Youth Empowerment Society here.