Choices for Youth shares stories of hope

A St. John's group dedicated to getting troubled youth on the straight and narrow has launched a seasonal campaign.

Online Advent calendar provides testimonials from youth, staff

Choices for Youth launches seasonal fundraising campaign, reports Glenn Payette 2:00

A St. John's group dedicated to getting troubled youth on the straight and narrow has launched a seasonal campaign that tells the stories of staff and people they've helped.

The not-for-profit Choices for Youth has established itself as a major force in giving at-risk young people the chance to turn their lives around.

And now there's a place where some of them can provide testimonials about how that's happened.

The 25 Stories of Hope, 25 Days of Kindness, comes in the form of an online Advent calendar, with a new story added every day leading up to Christmas.

"There's a lot of young people who have been through a lot of stuff," said Sheldon Pollett, executive director of Choice for Youth. "A lot of trauma in their lives."

Support runs the gamut

That's where the organization comes in, providing programs that assist with education, entering the workforce, and even housing.

The calendar, part of the group's Christmas fundraiser, is designed to highlight a number of resulting success stories.

Emily Butler, a mother of three, is one of them.

"Yes, a mother of three ... so it's been kind of hectic getting back to a balance of finding out who I am again after trying to raise my kids a little bit," she said. "I figure it's a great place to start."

Chantelle Howes said Choices for Youth has given her the confidence to shoot for the stars.

"My goal is to finish high school and go to med school and become a nurse or a doctor," she said, adding that just thinking about such things wouldn't have been possible without the organization.

Pollett said most of the people he sees just need the right amount of support, at the right time.

"These young people are totally capable of transforming their lives," he said. "They want the same things we want, despite all the myths that young people are lazy (and) despite all those stereotypical images of young people. They want the same things we do, they just need a lot of support to get there."

The 25 Stories of Hope kicked off this week, at


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