When we see what's strong they see what's possible.

For youth in troubled circumstances, the world can look like a series of closed doors and impossible choices. But when we look beyond troubled exteriors and help youth see what's strong in themselves, it becomes possible to imagine a future where dreams come true. Transformations like these happen every day for youth and volunteers at Calgary Youth Justice Society. They happened for these three strong leaders who have volunteered to share their stories.

Coral

Strengths

  • Parenting
  • Public speaking
  • Teaching

At 16 Coral was the mother of a baby girl, living in a run down basement suite, who hadn't finished high school and had little to no support from family. Rather than feeling powerless as so many would in her circumstance, Coral was fearless. Her interactions with Calgary Youth Justice Society gave Coral the chance to talk about her hopes, dreams and passions—of which there were many—and to feel for the first time like they were possible to achieve.

Through our class discussions Coral found her voice as an advocate for the environment, and she recognized the enormous power she has to be an agent of change. She also discovered her natural gift for facilitating learning and discussion and for supporting other learners. Since then she has not only finished high school but is using her amazing teaching skills as a full-time swim instructor.

Sebastian

Strengths

  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Drive

Sebastian was in a terrible car accident at 17 years old. He had already been hanging out with a crowd of friends who were not a good influence on him. He had been experimenting with drugs and living a pretty fast life—getting in fights and skipping school. After the accident he became addicted to pain killers and was not able to complete school.

When Sebastian became involved with Calgary Youth Justice Society, he began to see himself through another lens. He learned about the value of the many strengths he possesses. Little by little he began making choices that aligned with a new positive outlook on life. Sebastian graduated high school and is currently enrolled in Business Administration at Mount Royal University.

Carly-Anna

Strengths

  • Determination
  • Insight
  • Courage

By her early teens, Carly-Anna had begun taking drugs and partying with a pretty intense crowd. She ended up leaving home and leaving school. Her loving mother did all that she could do to help her navigate these difficult years. By 16 or 17 Carly-Anna started to find herself again.

Through her engagement with Calgary Youth Justice Society she began to see her strengths: an outgoing personality, natural leadership skills and the courage to speak her mind. She came to recognize that these were strengths she had all along, she had just been using them in harmful ways. After forming a strong connection with a volunteer and with the material in class, she found a way to shed her old habits and embrace a new, beautiful, contributing, supportive, loving version of herself. Today Carly-Anna is pursuing a career as a make-up artist.