By Hoang Ngo

A water bottle, five Reese’s Pieces, a bag of Skittles, a pair of earbuds, a drawstring bag, and a certificate. These are the keepsakes students will take home when they complete Community for Youth’s (CfY) program this year. But the significance of completion is beyond what we can physically give our students.

Our students and mentors began the year with a promise of committing to one another and being a part of the CfY community. They attended workshops, they spent time together one-on-one, they hung out with their family groups. Together they forged a bond and allowed the possibility of knowing each other deeper. It is difficult to be vulnerable and to make room for someone new in our lives. It is difficult to show up week in and week out. But for a year, our mentors and students did just that! And we can’t be more proud to celebrate such commitment.

For our freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who will be returning to the CfY community next year, we’re looking forward to another year of growth together. And to the seniors graduating and moving on to a new chapter in their lives, please remember that you will always be a part of us. We’ve learned so much from your powerful participation and wouldn’t be where we are today without your voices guiding us. Community for Life!