A local not-for-profit with big ideas and a big heart is hoping for some fundraising support from the community. Young And Young At Heart (YAYAH) is a non-profit start-up organization currently working on getting off the ground. Started by Danielle Prince, the organization is incorporated, and the next steps are being taken to make it a charitable non profit. YAYAH currently has a board of three people, consisting of Danielle, Anja Berends, and Erin O’Farrell.
“We would like to get everything organized and flawless before we launch,” said Danielle. “YAYAH is designed to connect the young with the young at heart through mail. When you sign up for YAYAH, you will fill out a questionnaire and we will pair you with someone with similar interests. This way you have lots to talk about.”
Those who sign up will receive a package containing cards, envelopes and stamps, along with some other fun items. “Our hope for YAYAH is to add some excitement to the in-between holiday months that feel a little long sometimes,” Danielle added. “We also hope this will show our young the importance of connecting with the young at heart, all while allowing the creativity to take over. All mail will be sent to the YAYAH PO box where we will send it on its way to its final destination. This is so we can monitor who is sending/receiving the mail. We are very excited about YAYAH and looking forward to getting it up and running!”
Danielle was inspired to create YAYAH by the worry many people have about who will visit them when they grow old. “When I brought my idea up with my neighbor and now board member Anja Berends, she was over the moon excited about it,” said Danielle. Anja revealed in a conversation with Danielle that when the COVID-19 pandemic first set in, she reached out to Dundas Manor in Winchester to ask if any residents seemed lonely. When the news came back that there were eight such residents, Anja was shocked. She wrote them letters, and soon heard back from the Manor that they loved them.
It didn’t take long for the ball to get rolling for YAYAH. Danielle has contacted Judy Sauve about making some cards to put in the welcome packages. “She makes beautiful hand-crafted cards,” said Danielle. “When I told her what they were for, she gave me a steep discount on them. I was very thankful and she told me it was her pleasure because it was for a good cause.” Others have offered to donate their time as well, and Danielle knows that the community support for YAYAH will continue to be strong.
Now, Danielle needs to focus on fundraising, particularly to help with lawyer fees. Her family has been generous with donations so far, but she is hoping for help from the community as well. Danielle has set a $10,000 fundraising goal, with most going to lawyer fees, and the rest helping out with welcome packages. Donations toward the packages are also appreciated. Needed items include envelopes, pens, paper, markers, crayons, and stickers. Danielle has already kicked off the fundraising. “I have made some artistic stainless steel wall flowers I hope to sell, and all profit will go towards YAYAH,” she said. “Anja is also extremely crafty and will sell items to help support YAYAH as well.”
Children can also be encouraged to provide support for YAYAH, and Danielle has made an important observation with her own 2.5 year old son. “I’ve noticed when I ask my son to draw a picture, he’ll scribble a few lines on a page and then run off and play with something else, but when I tell him it’s for someone, he gets excited and will cover the whole page with all different colours and tell me exactly what he is drawing,” said Danielle. “Kids love to have a purpose for their drawings.” There is potential for children to learn from the experience as well, particularly when it comes to writing and mailing letters.
To help out YAYAH, you can get in touch via email at [email protected].