Community

Youth-led organization hosts spring gala to honour seniors

By Jennifer McLaughlin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Singing, dancing, instrumental performances, poetry, and even a catwalk show were among the features at the “South Unionville Greet the Spring and Respect for the Elderly Gala” held March 18 at Infinity Strings in Markham.

The event was organized and hosted by the J.A. Children’s Public Foundation (JACPF), a Markham non-profit organization established in March 2022. The foundation encourages youth involvement in the community.

Markham youths Julia Guzman and Alysha Xu are JACPF’s presidents. As primary organizers of the gala, the ambitious students designed and distributed posters to encourage performers to sign-up, financed the host venue and sought event sponsors who donated raffle prizes and gifts for participants.

With several adult performers scheduled to participate, Guzman and Xu used their creativity to encourage more youth to take part. They trained kids to perform poetry recitations and a catwalk show while preparing for their own singing and dancing performances.

Markham-Unionville MP Paul Chiang attended the gala. Guzman and Xu thanked Chiang and his staff for supporting JACPF and the event.

Chiang presented Guzman and Xu with certificates to acknowledge their efforts within the community. He praised them for contributing to a bright future for Markham and its residents.

Markham Sunglow Senior members contributed to the event with dance and choir performances. The group’s president Li Zengchun thanked JACPF for holding the gala in honour of Markham’s senior community and presented Guzman and Xu with certificates.

Since its inception, JACPF members have performed twice for Markham seniors. The Greet the Spring gala was the organization’s first event to draw together performers from throughout the community.

During their welcome speech, Guzman and Xu referred to the saying, “As large as the heart is, the road will be as long.”

Markham is fortunate that the road ahead for these young community leaders is undoubtedly long and impactful.

Photo: MP Paul Chiang presents JACPF presidents Julia Guzman (left) and Alysha Xu (right) with certificates in recognition of their efforts within the community. (Photo supplied by JACPF)

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