May 22

Celebrate happiness with In the Lead

by Downtown Calgary · 0 comments

May 25 will mark our 7th annual Happiness Day event with our ‘In the Lead’ program at Calgary Youth Justice Society. It all started one day in class when the youth in our program were asked, “if you could do anything to give back to your community what would you do?” and they said, “make someone’s day, make them smile”. The idea of handing out happy face balloons to strangers on Stephen Ave became a reality.

Lunchtime on Stephen Ave is bustling, with the street full of people rushing to find a quick bite to eat or get to their next meeting. When our youth hand one of these people a balloon on Happiness Day, it’s a reminder to stop for a minute, and smile. Scientists say smiling can actually help people feel better since it causes a change in brain chemistry. It’s a small gesture, but one that we hope helps improve the day for some of these busy people. We started with 300 balloons in our first year, and now we’re up to 700.

The ‘In the Lead’ program has served over 1000 participants since its inception in 2011. The majority of participants are vulnerable young people who need a chance to explore their strengths and leadership potential. In the Lead is in 6 high schools across the city and runs multiple cohorts out of The Alex Community Health Centre. Youth participants are paired up with a mentor from Corporate Calgary for the duration of the program. When you come down to The Happiness event you will see our young leaders and mentors together making a positive difference in the community. Every year we have returning participant alumni come out for the event because it is just such a fun way to spend a lunch hour.

It’s always great to see young people engage with our community in a positive way. Come witness it yourself right downtown in the heart of it all on Friday May 25th at noon in front of The Palace Theatre. Watch for our banner and stories on social media @intheleadyyc #strongnotwrong and come join in the fun! We hope people will come down and accept a balloon from us and maybe a high five!


Post written by:
Lisa Wu
In the Lead Program Support

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