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LETTER: Character Community wrapping up after 21 years

It is with deep sadness that we announce that Character Community York Region will cease operations effective June 30, 2022 after loss of core funding, executive director writes
2020 07 13 2CCYR 2020 Chief Jolliffe Character Award
Former York Regional Police chief Eric Jolliffe received the Character Community of York Region's first Lifetime Achievement Award from executive director Susanne Cappuccitti (from left) and board chair Megan Thomas, and past Character Community board chair Deputy Chief Andre Crawford. File photo

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It is with deep sadness that we announce that Character Community York Region will cease operations effective June 30, 2022. Although Character Community started 2022 in a strong financial position with a successful youth podcast and back in schools delivering our programs, without the support of some level of core funding it is impossible for our organization to continue operations. 

This unique and well-respected organization was created 21 years go by community leaders who had a vision that character is the guiding force in the development of strong, caring, and inclusive communities. As the first registered character charity in Canada, CCYR has been the leader in character development programs for children and youth in York Region.

To the 130,000 children, youth and seniors who participated in our character development programs, we thank you for the wonderful experiences and memories we have shared together. We shared your tears when you told us of your life experiences with bullying, racism, anxiety, and social isolation, and you filled our hearts with joy and pride as we watched you implement the character attributes to overcome your barriers and thrive at school, at home and in the community. 

To the 120 children and youth who were excited to participate in our programs this fall, we are sorry we will not be able to continue to support you. To the teachers who told us time and time again how our programs improved student lives and the school culture, thank you. 

You all have enriched our lives and we will miss each and every one of you.

We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to the community partners who have supported us over the last 21 years: the Regional Municipality of York, York Regional Police, York Region District and York Catholic School Boards, Addison Marketing Solutions, Magna International, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, New Horizons for Seniors, Jumpstart, Bingo World Newmarket, Gianluca’s Gift and the Cellucci Family.

We will never waiver in our belief that character development programs are an essential service that is the cornerstone for positive child and youth development and a key factor in the understanding and support of human rights and social justice.

We are immensely proud of what we have accomplished over the past 21 years, and now it is time for us to pass the torch. There are new voices to be heard, new life experiences to be shared and a generation of young community leaders who believe that living with character changes lives and builds legacies.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the residents of York Region.

Susanne Cappuccitti, Executive Director

Megan Thomas, Board Chair