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Our youth share Christmas memories while setting up our Christmas Tree

Last night we decided to put up the Christmas tree. Christmas can be such a difficult time for the youth we work with that we were unsure if the youth would want to get involved or not. Christmas can bring up a lot of painful memories for them. Everyone knows that Christmas is a time for family and friends but what if you don’t have any? It can be a lonely time for our youth.

The youth workers got all the decorations ready and quietly started decorating the tree. It was so heartwarming to see the youth come to join in one by one. At first everyone worked in contented silence and then the chatting began. The girls started telling stories about their different Christmas stories and what Christmas meant to them whether it is good memories or bad.

One young girl spoke about how she had never had any presents as a child. Her parents had addiction issues of their own and it was left to her to try to look after her younger sisters even though she was just a child herself. She spoke about how difficult it was to see her sisters go hungry. She spoke about how she always felt she must have done something really bad because Santa always brought gifts to the other kids at school but never came to her or her sisters.

She talked about how a school friend had given her a Christmas present of a book when she was 13. She said it brought tears to her eyes. Her friend said “Hey, it’s only a book!” and didn’t understand just how much it meant to her.  She was so thankful and grateful that someone cared enough to give her a gift and remember her at Christmas time. She still has that book! The other girls joined in with stories of their own. Some were uplifting, some heartbreakingly sad, some hilariously funny. It was such a special moment to share with these amazing young women, listening to them having the strength to share their special Christmas stories while putting up the Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree in Crisis Program 

Thank you to our Christmas Celebration donors!

Covenant House Vancouver is staffed by 140 full-time, part-time, and casual employees who provide 24 hours of care to over 1,300 homeless and at-risk youth each year. They work to provide them with street outreach, hot meals, clothing, shelter, counsel, life skills, educational and vocational assistance and housing support. Each year, they pour their heart and soul into every minute of their workday; building meaningful, genuine relationships with every single youth they work with, and providing them with love and support.

We recently held our Christmas Celebration to say thank you to all of our staff who help our young people. Covenant House Vancouver strives to keep our administration costs to a minimum and thus do not allot a significant amount of revenue for this party in our annual budget. As such, we rely on the generosity of our community to ensure that our staff feel appreciated, loved and supported. A big thank you to all of the organizations below that helped to make this night a success!

  • Ace High Barbers
  • Axis Hair Studio
  • Black and Blue
  • The Body Shop
  • Bufala
  • Café Artigiano
  • Coast Hotels Vancouver
  • Cookies by George
  • David’s Tea
  • Earls Whistler
  • Earnest Ice Cream
  • English Bay Bike Rentals
  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club
  • Harbour Dance
  • Hotel Blu
  • Hunter and Hare
  • The Little Flower Shop
  • Mink Chocolates
  • Nuba
  • Phoenix Bookstore
  • Pro Organics
  • Purdy’s
  • The Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver
  • Silpada
  • Soul Flower Jewelry
  • The Sutton Place Hotel
  • Sylvia’s Restaurant at the Sylvia Hotel
  • Urban Fare
  • Urban Tea Merchants
  • Vega
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Thank you to our Christmas Celebration donors!

Cheryl’s Christmas Surprise

We wanted to share a special story from last Christmas morning to help get everyone in the spirit:

It was Cheryl’s first Christmas at Covenant House. This was her third stay at our Crisis Program and she had lasted 2 ½ months during this current stay which was amazing since this youth often complained about various aspects of living in a structured environment. On Christmas  morning, Cheryl was unusually chipper. Especially after finding a surprise backpack labelled specifically for her outside her bedroom door, which contained various Christmas goodies and gift cards. Cheryl then greeted us with a “Merry Christmas”.

She politely but doubtfully asked if there was a pair of ear phones she could borrow since she had lost hers. As it turns out, Covenant House had a box of wrapped gifts for the youth waiting to be handed out; the gifts were MP3 Players with earphones! Cheryl was pleasantly surprised and she unwrapped the gift as though Santa knew what was on her wish list. She so excited, just like every kid at Christmas. Cheryl sat at a table in our common space with a permanent smile as she opened and examined the gift.

Cheryl was then directed to check under the Christmas tree where there was small gift bags with more treats. As the day went on, Cheryl laughed and joked with co-residents. In the afternoon, a youth worker escorted the youth to Robson Square for a Christmas skate. On the walk there, a youth worker overheard Cheryl telling her co-residents that this has been the best Christmas in the last three years. When Cheryl arrived at the ice rink, it was clear that ice skating was not her forte but she spent the entire time taking baby steps. Just like she has been taking baby steps with us at Covenant House!

Christmas tree image

 

We went very "Casual for Covenant House" yesterday

Casual Day is held in support of our ‘Give a Day, Build a Life’ Campaign.  Our goal is to cover all the costs involved with running Covenant House’s transitional living program – Rights of Passage – for the entire month of December.

Our staff take casual to the next level in pj's !

Our team goes casual for Covenant House in PJ's  

Today is GivingTuesday - A day dedicated to giving back!

Imagine a day dedicated to giving back … around the world, across Canada and in your own community! Just as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, GivingTuesday is the opening day of the giving season.

GivingTuesday is a Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. It is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others.What will YOU  do  for #GivingTuesday? Be sure to share what you do with the hash tag #GivingTuesdayCa and check out  givingtuesday.ca    for more info.

If you are looking for ways to give back to Covenant House Vancouver click  here. To donate to Covenant House Vancouver for GivingTuesday click here.

A big thank you to all our supporters, donors and volunteers who GIVE so much to our young people!

GivingTuesday 2015

 

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