Celebrating Youth Go
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Award Ceremony at Youth Go
Contributor: Kelly Hicks, Executive Director at Youth Go
On Thursday, March 21, over 160 members of the Youth Go family gathered for our annual Awards Ceremony. Each year we bring together staff, board members, volunteers, donors, our youth, and their families to celebrate Youth Go. We recognize people who have made a difference and honor our youth for the good that we see in them. This year was extra special because 2019 marks 50 years of Youth Go serving the youth in our community! As people started to fill the room, I couldn’t help but think about the past 50 years and the youth that have found support, acceptance, and a second home in Youth Go.
We kicked off the evening by inviting some former board members, staff, and supporters to share with us about their experiences with Youth Go. They gave us a wonderful history lesson on how Youth Go started and how far we have come. The rest of the night was filled with words of thanks, encouragement, support, respect, and appreciation. Thanks to the generosity of some wonderful people, we presented $5,000 in scholarships to our high school seniors. We gave youth awards that applauded them for being respectful, helpful, creative, unique, optimistic, strong, and all around incredible human beings. There is something truly special about publicly recognizing young people for their personal growth – the genuine smiles that fill the room are beautiful.
One of our seniors ended the night by sharing this success story: “Everyone’s afraid of growing up for reasons we may not know. By worrying about the future, you are never going to grasp onto the present. I believe we can all agree life has brought us some ups and downs, as if it is a roller coaster. But I knew if I kept my head held high things would get better. I’ve been going to Youth Go for eight years now and I would consider Youth Go as a second home. Or some would say, home away from home. Youth Go has given me several opportunities that I can never repay them for. They had pushed me to my limit several times, knowing that it would be difficult. There were times where I thought of giving up because life was difficult and it was easier to run from my problems rather than solving them. This is my last year, before I know it, it will be the fall and I will be attending UW-Oshkosh for Social Work. Life will be different without going to Youth Go, but I will never forget them because it is a reason why I am the person I am today.”