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There were lots of smiling faces at Family Fun Day on July 13, when almost 250 New Circles clients and their family and friends joined us for an afternoon of games, prizes, food and more.

From dresses to accessories to elaborate “prom-posals,” prom is becoming an increasingly expensive experience for young people.

Olu describes walking through the door at New Circles as “life changing.” She was, she says, overwhelmed “with joy; with happiness.” It had been a long road to the front door of New Circles.

It takes a large network of people passionate about helping youth to stock the annual Prom Boutique with fashionable formal wear for the more than 500 teens who visit each year.

As the manager of New Circles’ employment training programs, Joanna Jaskielewicz works closely with clients, volunteer facilitators and program partners to deliver the Retail Foundations, Business Office Skills and Leaders in Service Training programs.

On March 2, New Circles opened its doors to local community service agencies. Eighty individuals from 45 different agencies attended information sessions, took tours through GLOW, and spent time networking with New Circles staff and other service providers.

On a sunny afternoon in February, fifteen newly-certified graduates from our retail training program gathered with family and friends to celebrate their success.

The retail industry may be disrupted, but it is certainly not collapsing. This was a key message at a recent roundtable that brought together retailers and non-profits to discuss how community-based training initiatives can help fill the hiring gap.

This May, youth from across the city who are facing economic barriers will come to New Circles to shop for the perfect prom outfit. There are many ways to get involved, from organizing a Prom Drive, to donating clothing, to making a financial contribution.

"This morning, I reflect on a journey that started out with hesitant, tentative steps. We see just how far we have come...it has been an honour and a privilege being part of this journey with you all."

Where can you see a knight in shining armour, Captain America, and a Storm Trooper all in one room? At the annual Spooktacular, of course!

On August 19, twenty-one newly-certified Retail Associates graduated from New Circles’ youth retail skills program after seven weeks of learning and more than 45 hours of work experience in GLOW.