Finding people to lean on and having hope in the face of long odds were the themes of the 10th Annual Charity Classic and Fashion Show held at Affinity Place Saturday afternoon. The luncheon was in support of the Broken Arrow Youth Ranch located in south-central Saskatchewan.

"I'm thrilled with the whole event [and] just the support that we have. As I said at the end, it takes a village to raise a child, and the Broken Arrow Youth Ranch family is huge and extends so far. Our students got to witness how many people care about them that they haven't even met yet. And so my heart was blessed today. This community and these people in Southeast Saskatchewan, they don't come any better," expressed Todd Moroz, CEO of Broken Arrow Youth Ranch. 

The event featured a fashion show with outfits donated by local businesses around southern Saskatchewan and guest speaker Carson Shields. He spoke about the importance of mental health, reaching out, and overcoming his challenges with a turbulent start early in his hockey career. In his talk, Shields shared how he was hazed in pursuit of his hockey dream, his brutish attitude on the ice, and his spiral with drugs and alcohol as a teenager. 

"We don't lay on the ice and tell the other team you're hurt - bottom line, right? You get up, you go through it and you push on. But, at the end of the day, I was just I was dying inside," he said to the crowd. 

After a bar fight that led to him being charged with assault with bodily harm, Shields said that became the catalyst to change his life and that he was on a path of redemption. He said that after seeking out help, he was able to turn his life around for the better. 

"By the grace of God, I was able to stay sober. There was bumps along the road and there was relapses for sure, but I was able to put one foot from the other and keep going. The other big thing too was I was able to reconnect with hockey, start coaching, start helping out and I was granted a conditional discharge on my assault. So, that meant that I didn't have any criminal record, which was huge."

After the event, Shields noted to DIscoverEstevan that he was eager to help the charity and to share his story. 

"The biggest thing that I see with the Broken Arrow support here is that they don't give up on people. For me, there's a ton of people that, you know, no matter what I was doing or how I was acting, they didn't give up on me - and that was the biggest thing. Whether it be on-ice antics or off-ice antics, you need a support system. These people are there for whoever that needs it." 

Moroz expressed the importance of mental health and reaching out to people you trust. 

"The truth is, every single one of us has a story and we can't change or heal what we don't acknowledge. We have to find safe places where we can get to those points where we can address those deep hurts that we all have. There is healing available and there is hope."

"I just want to encourage everybody to not give up [and] to look. There is hope and asking for help is not a sign of weakness - that's a sign of strength."

Alongside the luncheon and the fashion show at the event, "Willy" the goat was also in attendance as a raffle item. Participants could buy into the raffle for themselves or other people. The winner would then be presented the goat to either keep or to donate back to the ranch.