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For the past four years we have been focused on an annual event to raise funds for the Liaison College Youth Success Fund. The project was born after Rudy Florio, President of Liaison College, attended a Gang Exit Strategy Graduation at the John Howard Society (JHS) in Hamilton, ON. The young people who were overcoming and handling extreme barriers and obstacles in their relatively short lives made a huge impact on Rudy Florio and he approached David Lane to find out what could be done to help give the community’s youth a hand up. And so the Liaison College Youth Success Fund was created.

The JHS offers many different community programs for youth, but their most successful includes an outreach through high schools and the “circle program” where teens can meet with peers and an advocate from the JHS to talk about issues that are meaningful to them. It’s a self directed meeting program that is voluntary and available to anyone that chooses to attend. There is no judgement, no criticism, no right or wrong – it’s a safe place to come and share thoughts and ideas and what’s on your mind.

It was through this venue that the first Liaison Youth Success Fund recipient was chosen. And two more quickly followed.Now, four years later, there are several students receiving annual scholarship funding through the Liaison Youth Success Fund and some will even be graduating next year with a degree or diploma. The effects of their success will be felt throughout our community and will continue to ripple for years to come.

For the third year in a row we have held the event at the Macassa Bay Yacht Club in Hamilton – hence the “Sippin at the Dock of the Bay” theme. In 2012 and 2013 the event was modified slightly to accommodate Mother Nature (both years she created a mini monsoon for us to work around!). This year (having moved the date of the event one week later than in the past) we were blessed with a lovely, sunny, warm day and evening. Perfect for sippin’!Our goal for this year was $30K – a bit aggressive and a substantial increase from the first year. But by all accounts very doable with the right chemistry: sponsors, prizes for auctions, ticket sales and attendance. We exceeded the goal!

There are so many people, companies, groups and friends to thank. And so we do – THANK YOU!