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Richmond Jewish Day School & Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy Come Together To Help Others

A fabulous group of Grade 6 & 7 students from Richmond Jewish Day School and Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy banded together to help out on the Downtown Eastside in February. Together, they were an outstanding display of two cultures working happily together as well as an inspiration for us all to reach out to help others. The students handed out food and clothing and had intimate conversations with people they met. They had a strong connection with one gentleman in particular, Fred Miller, who inspired them to be grateful for what they have, trust in their parents and work hard in school. Fred was touched by the kindness of these students and was overwhelmed by the love they showed him. He was also inspired by the love they had for each other and the way they had come together, despite their cultural differences, to show the world what is important.

Last week, Jessie Claudio, a teacher from Az-Zahraa, invited Covenant House to come and speak with her students. This spring, they had won an award for their random acts of kindness and were thinking about donating the $3,000 award to Covenant House Vancouver. When I arrived at the school on Monday, I was delighted to meet Fred Miller, who ended up being the inspiration behind all of this. Students got to speak with Fred and learn more about him. After a massive Group Hug (about 30 students + Fred) I got to speak about Covenant House and the incredible young people we serve.

This stellar group of students chose to donate their $3,000 award to Covenant House Vancouver as they wanted to pay it forward. They were over-the-moon about the opportunity to double their impact fighting homelessness by donating their award during The Conconi Covenant House Challenge!

When the group arrived to present Covenant House with their award, they also brought along gifts for Fred and boxes of shoes for our youth. In addition to their incredible donation, a member of the Shia Muslim Community matched the students’ donation and presented Covenant House with another gift of $3,000!

Covenant House Vancouver wants to send a huge thank you to all involved especially to the students for their kind hearts and generosity. One student from RJDS really summed up the specialness of the day: “I woke up this morning feeling good, knowing what we were about to do.”

Check out CBC's coverage of this wonderful story.

students presenting cheque to chv

presents for Fred from students

cheque from students to schv

There is still time for your gift to be matched!

Make a donation to Covenant House Vancouver before June 30th and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by The Robert L. Conconi Foundation!

With this matching gift challenge, you can help save twice as many of Vancouver’s homeless youth from the streets. I hope that you will seize this special opportunity.

As a self-made businessman, Bob attributes much of his success to his stable upbringing. He understands how vital we are to struggling kids who don’t have the kind of love, respect, and support that makes all the difference in the world.

Please donate today to help us meet our $150,000 goal by June 30th.

On behalf of the Conconi family and the next frightened kid who comes through our doors – Thank you!

matching gift challenge on now

Walter waltzes in for a visit!

Walter, our therapy dog, is still hard at work here at Covenant House Vancouver. Each day he assists Jesse, our Mental Health Clinician as he meets with our young people. Besides the general soothing effect a dog can have on someone who is stressed, therapy dogs provide a welcome distraction for people whose therapy session may be getting intense or uncomfortable. Walter also provides hugs and kisses something many of our youth have gone without their whole lives.

We hope you enjoy these pictures of Walter and that they brighten your day.

walter image

walter with his friends

picture of walter sleeping

walter our therapy dog out for a walk

Catherine works hard to learn a new routine

Many of the young people we see have trouble waking up early and Catherine was no exception. She recently got a new job, but this job required her to be at work by 7am. Unfortunately, she only managed to show up for one shift out of three.

Her employer asked her if she was really prepared to have this job. Catherine was able to negotiate with her boss to re-schedule her to evening shifts only but her boss still needed her to be able to cover some mornings as well. Her employer informed her that if she managed to get in the routine of waking up early, they would be happy to hire her again. Catherine decided that she was going to work hard on waking up early.

I chatted with Catherine about it and she was psyched on challenging herself. She usually wakes up at about 1 or 2pm.  She wanted to wake up and be ready for the day by 10am. I suggested she be reasonable with her expectations, but she thought that she could be up and ready by then. The next day, she was up and ready by 11am, but was embarrassed about it. I encouraged her and told her that that it was an excellent attempt. On a daily basis since then, she has kept discussing her progress with her wake ups.

Although this is just a simple task for you and I, it is very difficult for our youth. This simple goal of changing her routine is a challenge that she enjoys and I am more than happy to support her.

image of alarm clock