Over the last couple months we have had many young ladies come to us for the first time. I think that as staff we sometimes take for granted the situation that our youth are in, forgetting how distressing and upsetting it is to come into a Crisis Program. Lola reminded me very quickly of that fact recently.
The youth who know us are comfortable here and know it is a safe space for them. Lola had never stayed in a Crisis Program before and had no idea what to expect. As soon as she entered our doors she was crying uncontrollably. We went into the intake office and she continued to cry saying how scared she was, not knowing what to expect.
Usually we do a full intake (take down all the pertinent information about a young person) before the youth enters our program but I asked her if maybe just looking at the space would alleviate some of her fears, so she can see it isn’t scary at all. This mini tour seemed to make a big difference as she was able to see that we were different from what she imagined from movies etc.. She got to speak with another youth who assured Lola that everything here is fine and there is nothing to be scared of.
It’s now been a week and a half since Lola came to us. It is amazing to see how comfortable she is here with youth and staff. She is attending all her appointments and working hard on getting healthy. It was a great lesson for me to be reminded that coming to a Crisis Program is a very intimidating and frightening thing. I am glad we are here to provide that opportunity to Lola, and youth like her, who do not have experience with shelters and need to be somewhere that feels safe.