The Rights of Passage program received donated tickets to the Stanley Park Bright Lights/Stanley Park Christmas Train. I thought this would be a good opportunity to get out with some of the youth and relationship build as I recently made the switch from the Crisis Program to Rights of Passage, so I was quick to throw my hand up offering to take the lead on this outing.
Five youth came with me, which was more than I thought would come. On our walk to Stanley Park, there was non-stop laughter, conversations of all kinds were being had and everyone was taking part in them which was really awesome to see. A few of the youth made comments about how this would be their first time going to the ‘Bright Nights at Stanley Park’ and how excited they were to see them. When we got there, we walked around and looked at the lights before going on the train. It put an instant smile on my face seeing the youth so excited. To me, the smiles on their faces indicated that they had briefly forgotten about whatever was going on in their personal lives and they were just being kids for a little while. I know that Christmas can be a difficult time of year for some of the youth so being able to put a smile on their face around the holidays really warmed my heart.
On our way back I asked the youth if they wanted to stop for some hot chocolate – they all said yes without hesitation. Might as well end the evening with a large cup of sugar (Ha ha)! Walking back to Covenant House with our hot chocolates in hand, one of the youth who was walking next to me said, “I really needed that, thanks so much for taking us”. I simply smiled and replied, “Thank you for coming”. I don’t know if it was the smile on that youths face as she thanked me or the fact that I got to be part of all these youth being kids for just a little while that made me realize once again that I really do love what I do.
I’ve been a youth worker for a while now and I’ve realized that it really is the little things that matter. You may not think that the walk you went on with a youth, or that coffee you had with them is a big deal but to them it means so much more. You may not think the little things you do make a difference, but they do. I’m so proud to work for an organization like Covenant House Vancouver that allows me to do these little things that not only make the youth feel special but that provides me with fulfillment and also makes me realize time and time again how much I love my job.