For thousands of former foster kids across Canada, the holidays can stir up feelings of loneliness and isolation. Having transitioned out of the child welfare system at ages 18 or 19, many of these youth have little to no contact with their birth families and are left alone, struggling to move beyond past traumas, such as abuse and neglect, triggered by the holiday season.
“The holidays can be a really lonely time,” says Jemal, a former youth in care and current ambassador with the Children’s Aid Foundation. Although inclusive programs, like the Children’s Aid Foundation’s Holiday Season Celebration, exist for youth in care and their foster families, opportunities for young people to bond with others they can relate to once they leave care are very limited.
“It’s difficult for youth who haven’t been able to form any close relationships,” says Jemal. “I’ve lost friends and family members to suicide throughout the month of December. A lot of people get so caught up in their own traditions that they don’t focus on people who need their support.”
By supporting the Children’s Aid Foundation’s Hope for the Holidays program, you can ensure youth like Jemal feel cared for during this festive season. Your support will help to spread warmth in a variety of ways throughout the city, including a holiday drop-in that offers youth from care support and companionship on December 24th and 25th and travel assistance to visit loved ones so they don’t have to spend the holidays alone. Your gift will also support local youth throughout the year and allow them to reach their greatest potential.