Come celebrate the impacts we’ve achieved together and look to the future. Caledon East Community Complex (6125 Old Church Rd, Caledon East). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. See you there! Together we are making Caledon better.

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December 2022

Nurturing Youth, Harvesting Success

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When I first moved to Caledon in 1993, I embraced the unique rural/urban mix and the beauty that surrounded me. It seemed like an ideal time and place to pursue my life goal of opening a small business. My goal was larger though; I wanted to leave a mark in the community that I was building a new future in. Despite the beauty of my surroundings, I learned that residents, even in Caledon, still faced poverty, homelessness, job insecurity and more. I knew in my heart I could make a difference.

Then ten years ago, I found a way to do both. When planning to open my business, The Naked Vine, I was seeking to combine my interest in winemaking with my passion for doing good. This led me to the door of Caledon Community Services (CCS). After learning more about CCS, I discovered that I could support Caledon youth through their LIFE for Youth program - this is what I was looking for. Through this program, I gained talented employees who were carefully selected and placed to bring value to my team. CCS even paid their wages for the placement term, a huge benefit for any small business owner. The ongoing mentorship received throughout the placement ensured the program supported the youth and my business alike, elevating the chance of mutual success - this was a win/win.

Nurturing youth harvesting success support

By taking placements, I give young people valuable work experience that allows them to go on and build meaningful careers. Personally, it’s very gratifying. Every youth has left a lasting impression on me and my business. Some of the standout moments were when one showed us a new way to pack our bulk order corks using a scale instead of counting by hand. Saving time is golden for small businesses, and to this day, we still use his method. Another talented placement inspired us to change our marketing materials and we never looked back. Even though I train and teach them the ins and outs of my business, they teach me more than I ever expected. I’m glad to say – although we work hard, we also manage to have fun! It makes me happy to know the experience has benefited them too. When my placements move on to new opportunities (as they should), I keep in touch with many of them and champion their careers and successes proudly.

Giving back to the community is so empowering and has enriched my life in many ways. Not only can I make a difference in the trajectory of a young person’s life by just giving them a chance, but I have also made many community connections and lifelong friends. I feel pride for the work that continues to give opportunities for a brighter future for youth living in Caledon.

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The LIFE for Youth Program is a gift to my small business. Find out how it can be for yours too!