Jack comes to us every now and again and does not often stay long. He is very street entrenched, addicted to substances and has some mental health and developmental issues. These significant barriers make it very difficult for him to stay a long time in a structured setting such as ours.
He was so accustomed to keeping opposite hours, sleeping on the street or in “the bush” during the day, when it is safe, and staying awake at night. He does not like wearing shoes and often has to be prompted to put them on. He is generally very quiet, but friendly in our Crisis Shelter.
Staff have been working on building a relationship with him in hopes that he will stay longer and stabilize more. He seems to be doing well this stay, and has obviously benefitted from the relationship building he has done with the youth workers, including playing cards.
Recently one evening before bed there were a few youth up playing cards and talking with Andrea a youth worker and her teammate. A couple youth were joking around with Andrea, teasing her a bit as we often do, and one of these youth made a joke about how Andrea was being creepy for knowing the routines of some of the youth. This conversation was all in good fun of course, but as Andrea was getting everyone to head to bed, Jack said to her out loud in the space, “Andrea, you’re not creepy”. It was so sweet of him to speak up when he does not often do so, and to do it to make sure her feelings weren’t hurt by the youth’s joke. The other youth began joking around a bit more and Jack got a bit embarrassed, but Andrea thanked him sincerely for his kind words.
He does not say much, and we never know if he is going to make it back to us in one piece, but to experience these moments of sweet sincerity in him is truly one of the great gifts of this job.
So far Jack has stayed a week – which is a great success in and of itself! Our case manager has an initial meeting with his mental health/housing support worker next week and we begin the difficult process of securing him long term housing. We will continuing to build a trusting relationship with Jack and work with him as long as it takes so he can get the long term support he needs.
Has anyone ever said something to you that you just can’t get out of your mind?
That happened just recently when I met a young man named Evan.
Evan told me, “I’ve been bounced around and in and out of foster care since I was little. I’ve never called anyone Mom or Dad. Now I pretty much live where I can.” For the rest of the day I couldn’t get those words out of my mind:
“I’ve never called anyone Mom or Dad.”
Imagine a child growing up, never calling anyone Mom or Dad. Never having an adult like you in his life that he could trust and turn to.
Never having the safe haven of a mother’s arms. Or a Dad to look up to.
I’m so grateful that Evan found someone to trust when he found Covenant House.
Our Youth Workers welcomed Evan. They saw past his troubled outer shell. And they saw the good in him.
One night, Evan was in hospital having an extremely painful operation. He had no friends or family to come and take him home. A team of our Youth Workers went to St. Paul’s Hospital, collected Evan and took him back to his hotel in the Downtown Eastside. And together, they carried him up 9 flights of stairs to his room.
Evan was in tears by the time they arrived. But not just from pain. From the fact that – finally – somebody cared enough about him to help him. To carry him, and comfort him. Without strings. Without condition.
You send the donations that let our workers be there for Evan that night. You are the heart of Covenant House that keeps us alive.
Please take a moment today to support our Christmas Appeal, if you can. Your ongoing support helps us provide the unconditional love that kids like Evan have never had. And puts them on the road to a new life.
With sincere thanks,
Sister Nancy Brown, SC, OBC
If you can help please drop off here:
575 Drake Street
Access to the building is available through the parkade located at the back of the building during these hours.
We offer extended drop-off times for the month of December.
Monday – Friday:
10:00 – 6:00
Saturday – Sunday
9:00 – 4:00
Amy at 604-639-8937
December 3, 2013, marks GivingTuesday – a day for nonprofits worldwide to encourage charitable giving, volunteerism, and conscious consumerism to their communities.
What will YOU do for #GivingTuesday? Be sure to share what you do with the hash tag #GivingTuesday & #GivingTuesdayCa and check out www.givingtuesday.ca for more info.
A big thank you to all our supporters, donors and volunteers who GIVE so much for our young people!
Looking for ways to give back to Covenant House Vancouver click here.