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“Every interaction we have with the youth is important.”

I often get asked from people who don’t work at Covenant house “What is the most important work you do with youth”. My response is always anything and everything! We spend all day with the youth, interacting, talking, caring and supporting them. Not only are we getting to know the youth but they are getting to know us. They notice everything we do, the way we act, respond, talk, laugh everything, you never know when some action, gesture or word that is perceived as insignificant could have an impact on them.

Kathy was a young girl who came to Covenant House subsequent to her running away from home. Kathy’s childhood was one of instability, violence and degradation. She never experienced a nurturing living environment and was insulted and belittled daily. Her childhood consisted of bouncing between foster care homes then finally back to her family home. At a young age she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

While in our Crisis Program Kathy’s anxiety was explicit. We all as a team would encourage her to use her skills and what she has learnt in the past to help her overcome feelings of distress. On one occasion, we went on an outing to observe a parade. After a few minutes at the parade Kathy felt overwhelmed and became increasingly distressed, her whole body shaking and she had a fixed stare. We walked up a quieter street and sat on a bench side by side. I asked her to let me know what would support her at that moment. Nothing was said. There was complete silence between the both of us for nearly 10 minutes. After this Kathy initiated conversation and asked to walk along the outskirts of the parade where there were less people, which we did.

The next day Kathy came to me and thanked me for what I had done. I was confused and didn’t understand what she was referring to. She said “thanks for being there with me, it really helped”. Although I felt I had no part to play and Kathy had utilized her skills to overcome her anxiety, according to Kathy, by simply “being there” supported her to do this. So yes, every interaction we have with the youth is important, you never know what meaning it can have for them!  

 “Every interaction we have with the youth is important.”

Keeping homeless youth safe & cool in this extreme heat

When we think of homeless people and weather we generally worry about it being too cold not too hot but summer weather can have a negative impact on the homeless as well. Homeless people often lack places to get fresh water and areas to stay cool. At Covenant House Vancouver we prepare for the heat and make sure our youth that are living outside have proper supplies. We provide water bottles and water, sunscreen, cool clothing and remind them to take it easy and seek shade when it is hot.

If you want to help homeless youth this summer here are a few things we need:

Reusable water bottles
Bathing suites, flip flops and summer clothing

If you have questions about donating please contact or 604-639-8937 and to see a full list of needed items click  here.

Also when you are out and about this summer keep an eye on all people and check in with them if they are looking ill.  When we work together as a community we can all have a happy, fun and safe summer!

extreme heat - lets keep homeless youth safe

Community Dinner BBQ at ROP

Rights of Passage recently hosted it's August Community Dinner and it was barbeque themed. Each month ROP has a Community Dinner where youth and staff work together to prepare the meal. Current and past youth are invited as well as staff members, volunteers and other guests.

The BBQ featured hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, salmon burgers, a variety of salads, waffle bowl ice cream sundaes and a homemade cake!

Check out some photo's below including Youth Worker Mitch who was in charge of the grill. 

ROP Community Dinner BBQ Pictures 

Youth have a wonderful experience Mountain Biking in Whistler

I had the pleasure of taking 4 ROP youth up to Whistler for the day to do some Mountain Biking with Zero Ceiling. Our morning started at about 6:30am when I picked the youth up at Covenant House. To my surprise they were all awake when I got there.  A few of them were even down in the lobby waiting for me! They were so excited and it was so great to see them greet me with huge smiles on their faces when I got there.   

The drive up was full of laughs and good tunes! One of the youth sat in the front and played DJ while the 3 in the back sang at the top of their lungs. One of the youth that came along had never been to Whistler and had never seen the view along the sea to sky highway which I’m sure I can speak for everyone when I say it’s absolutely gorgeous.  I kept hearing her in the back of the car saying how beautiful the view is and how excited she is to see Whistler. It made me smile seeing her so excited because she really hadn’t had a break in a while. I was so happy she was able to come along on this trip because I know how much she needed it.   

The day went great!!!  The youth didn’t even want to break for lunch because they wanted to get as many runs in as possible. I kept reminding them to take a little break just to drink some water; they just wanted to keep going. I feel so fortunate to have witnessed these youth have opportunity to have a wonderful experience in Whistler. Seeing how excited they were all day really warmed my heart. They all thanked me multiple times throughout the day for taking them. On the way home we stopped at little viewpoints so the youth could take pictures which they expressed they really enjoyed. 

A big thank you to Zero Ceiling for the wonderful mountain biking in Whistler!

Picture of Whistler Zero Ceiling Mountain Biking Trip

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