On this day I was working as an intake worker, undergoing the procedure of intaking a new youth to Shelter. My second intake was a first timer to Covenant House Vancouver. She sat down in the office hunched over, wide-eyed and clearly uncomfortable. She had severe anxiety from living on the street, and literally had nothing but the clothes on her back. She had lost all of her identification and was suffering from some pressing medical concerns. Luckily, someone had referred her to Covenant House.
It felt amazing to be the person to tell her that she was in a safe place, and that the staff were all here to help her. When reviewing the behaviour expectations of Covenant House, such as being respectful to staff, she looked at me surprised and said “you’re being so nice and helping me, why wouldn’t I be respectful?” The youth took a shower, had dinner, and got to relax and watch some television. At the end of my shift, I walked out of the shelter and the youth was standing out front. She gave me a huge smile and wave good-bye, behaviour that was already a drastic difference from the terrified girl I had intaken a few hours earlier. Days like this are the reason I’ve chosen to do this work, there is no better feeling than that of helping someone in need.