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A simple outing turns into a memorable shared experience

As a Rights of Passage youth worker, I often go with youth into the neighbourhood for things like shopping, going to the bank or simply for coffee and a chat. I truly enjoy this part of my job, especially when doing something so ordinary that can result in a memorable shared experience. This was the case with Mike a few months ago when we had to get his passport pictures done. What started as a simple task of going to London Drugs to take passport pictures turned into a very funny and memorable time for Mike, myself and Kate, another Rights of Passage resident who came along with us.

This was Mike’s first passport picture taking experience. We were greeted by the photo department clerk who proceeded to get Mike posed and ready for a smileless official picture. This would be easier said than done. For the first two pictures, Mike was clearly struggling with not smiling and had the giggles. It did not help that Kate and myself were watching Mike behind the photo taker directly in Mike’s sightline. Once the giggles became contagious with us as well and after the two takes Kate and I had to hide in the store isles so that Mike could focus on his serious pose and not see us in the background. After the fourth take, Mike was relieved that the picture taking was done and so were we.

As we all proceeded to leave the store with the giggles, the clerk comes after us to inform Mike that the camera had not been set properly and that the pictures had to be taken all over again. Mike couldn’t believe that he had to go back into the serious pose again.

Three more takes later, including one by the photo lab technician who had to come assist the clerk due to some camera technical difficulties, Mike had his perfect serious pose photos. We were all relieved and couldn’t stop laughing about the whole ordeal. This was indeed a first experience for Mike, and a memorable one for all of us.  Who would have thought that getting a simple passport picture taken at Rights of Passage would be something to smile about?

clipart of person laughing

Show your love by sharing a recipe with our youth

It’s a joy learning to cook

So please share a recipe from your book.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner from you

appetizer, dessert, or fondue

When our youth cook they will think of you!

Please share a recipe and some words of encouragement with our youth. We are creating a cookbook for so when our youth head out on their own they will know they are supported and loved by their Covenant House family.

share a recipe share love campaign image 

Today is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day is observed every year by people around the world to raise awareness of the danger of drinking during pregnancy. September 9th signifies the 9th day of the 9th month of the year where the world will remember that during the 9 months of pregnancy, there is no safe amount or time to drink alcohol.

Covenant House Vancouver is no stranger to FAS/FASD as we have worked with many youth over the years that are affected by it. FASD is an umbrella term used to describe a number of birth defects caused by mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy, which can result in damage to a child’s central nervous system.

Some of the behavioural issues that affect those with FASD are immature or inappropriate behaviour, poor judgement, impulse control problems and memory deficits. As you can guess the transition from youth to independent adult can be especially difficult for those with FAS/FASD.

We are fortunate to have a strong team of mental health clinicians and youth workers that are able to recognized FASD and have the skills to work those young people affected by it.

To learn more about FASD/FAS click here and here.

fasd awareness day 

Lisa is working hard to make healthy changes

Currently we have a young, vulnerable female in house named Lisa. One night she did not come home for curfew and we were very worried about her. She showed up at the Shelter during the very early hours of the morning the next night with a police escort. Lisa had been drinking with her boyfriend and was very intoxicated and in rough shape. She was too intoxicated to bring back into the Shelter but we were able to get her into detox where she could safely sober up.

A day later she was sober and able to leave detox and return to the Crisis Shelter. Staff sat down and had a good long talk with her about her goals and how drinking wasn’t aligning with these goals. This was the very first time Lisa had identified that some people in her life may not be a good influence on her, and that she actually wanted to stay in the Shelter for activities and the support that Covenant House could offer her.

I really feel that Lisa has begun to turn the corner of self identifying what her needs are and asking for those needs to be met or at least heard for the first time since we have known her. My belief is that self-actualization can only be done when one feels safe and secure in their environment. I think that the relationships staff have built with Lisa has allowed her to do some reflection and start to make positive choices.

We at Covenant House would like to congratulate Lisa on her positive choices and for working hard to make healthy changes!

image about looking towards to the future

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