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Boxing helps Melissa get through difficult times

An opportunity for our ROP youth came up where they could attend a boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) class. The owner of the boxing club had heard about our program and took a real interest in the youth and offered to help us out. Usually a monthly membership costs $150.00, but the owner said that the youth could pay $40.00. $20 would go towards his rent, $10 would be donated to Covenant House and the other $10 would go to the youth if they attended all the classes in the month.

Melissa, a female youth in ROP has a wonderful passion for boxing and has been doing it for many years. I told her about this opportunity and she was very excited to get it back into her routine and to attend weekly classes. She explained to me that boxing has gotten her through some of the most difficult times in her life and that it really helps her when something stressful happens. She asked if I would attend with her for the first week. I reluctantly said yes as I was slightly terrified and felt totally out of my comfort zone.

We attended the class and it was such a good experience for me to see Melissa doing something that she really enjoys. I actually really enjoyed the class myself and the youth even took a little bit of time to give me some tips. She has such passion and really applied herself to the lesson. Following the lesson she was so grateful for the opportunity. She has attended all of the classes so far and is due to get her $10 for attendance for the week.

image of boxer

TELUS Vancouver Community Board – Supporting our Rights of Passage program in a big way

We have some exciting news to share: we have received $20,000 from the TELUS Vancouver Community Board for our Rights of Passage program!

In this program, youth learn how to live independently in their own “apartments” located in our facility. Here they receive life skills training, help learning how to cook, clean and develop a budget, educational assistance, and everything else they need to leave the streets behind them. This gift will make a tremendous difference in the lives of the youth in ROP!

A big thank you to everyone at TELUS for believing in our youth, and for helping us to find an answer to homelessness, one young person at a time.

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Students from Immaculate Conception School share what they learned

In June Immaculate Conception School students came in for a visit and tour of our Gift-in-Kind area after fundraising for us. They then had an opportunity to listen to Sister Nancy Brown speak so they could learn more about what we do and ask any questions they had about homeless youth.

After the visit the students sent us a book filled with their personal reflections. Here is one student’s thoughts on what she learned:

letter from student after field trip to covenant house

A young man we helped seven years ago stops by for a visit

I was doing an overnight shift at the Crisis Shelter recently when at about 1:30am two youths knocked on the front door. The person covering the desk informed me that a former resident was looking for me. I went to check who it was and immediately recognized a familiar face. I didn’t have a doubt who this youth was and I called out his name. He was surprised at my memory. I told him that I still remember him well. We talked about old times and shelter life in general and the youth workers and staff who were working here six or seven years ago when he last stayed. I told him that it was funny because I had thought of him a couple of days ago and it seems that luck was on our side that we got to see each other as I rarely do overnight shifts. We had a hearty laugh at the turn of events.

This youth came to us when he was only 16 from an underage safe house. He stayed with us two or three times and left without a trace when he was 17 or 18. He was a very well behaved young man and we soon discovered he could not read or write or count money. I saw the opportunity to teach him how to read. Whenever I was reading the paper and he was across the table, I would turn the paper towards him and asked him to say the bold-letter words syllable by syllable. Sometimes, I would seek him out and “harass” him to read with me. We would stop the drill when other youth came around. I also worked with him on his money and counting skills.

Well that was seven years ago and he is now 23. He works in Alberta and has a place of his own and has been clean since he left BC. He came to Vancouver to watch the fireworks over English Bay with a friend. The reason he stopped by tonight was to show his friend where he used to stay. He was teary-eyed, I noticed, as he recounted his stay with us. He told me that because of the staff at Covenant House, he is where he is right now and he sent his best regards to everyone.

image of youth reading

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