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An invite to a Christmas Party is a chance to learn a new life skill

One recent Saturday evening, “Jacob” was preparing for his company’s Christmas party.  He said that he had not attended a Christmas party before and this would be his first. His eyes beamed with excitement because many of his co-workers were also going.  While he was excited for this party, Jacob is quite reserved and shy. He told me that the venue would be in this big classy hotel and he was worried that he might feel left-out so he brought along a friend as he had tickets for two to the party.

Jacob came out of his room wearing a striking navy blue dress shirt that matched his midnight blue pants and black shoes. There was one problem though - his dress shirt was badly crumpled and needed to be pressed. Jacob came to me and requested for an iron. I brought him the iron and the ironing board and watched him press his shirt from a distance. From where I was, I noticed that he looked awkward in holding the iron and in positioning his shirt on the ironing board. I went to see how he was doing and noticed that the other side of his shirt was wet. When asked about this, he smiled and said that he was squirting water way too much. He told me that he has never ironed his shirt before and I could see disappointment in his face.

Aha, what a profound moment to teach Jacob ironing 101! I took the iron and showed him how to press his shirt - from mounting the shirt on the board, to adjusting the heat of the iron, to proper body posture, we covered them all step by step. I proceeded to iron his shirt while having a conversation. At one point, he asked me how I learned to iron my shirt to which I replied that it was from my mother that I learned it. There was an awkward silence that followed. For a short moment, I was drawn to reflect the reason why I continue work here. To break the ice, I suggested to him that perhaps I could teach him how to iron his clothes as part of his life skills at ROP. The job was only three fourths done when I handed him the iron so he could finish the back of his shirt. When he was done, he took his shirt out of the ironing board beaming with joy in seeing his dry and well-pressed shirt. He thanked me and I complimented him for the job well-done for a first timer. 

Ironing image

Thanking our community partner Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

A very big thank you to Investors Group Financial Services Inc., in particular, Nathan Nowak, Sean Oliver, and Steve Nowak for sponsoring a special presentation for Covenant House Vancouver on October 27th at the Marine Drive Golf Club.  Guests met and heard from special speakers such as Sister Nancy Brown, on why youth are homeless, how Covenant House is addressing these issues and youth’s stories of what success and hope means to them.  Guests also learned about charitable giving and the different ways to donate.

As a great community partner, Investors Group Financial Services Inc. also donated $500 to help the many deserving homeless and at-risk youth in the Crisis Program at Covenant House Vancouver. 

Thank you to our amazing community partners and supporters for giving youth hope and a chance at a brighter future!

A very big thank you to Investors Group Financial Services Inc 

Triple Match Campaign still on

Two of our generous donors are so worried about our youth, they have each pledged to match  any donation  made  before  December 31st!  The $50,000 Matching Gift Challenge ends on December 31, 2016. What doesn’t get matched is lost money. So please contribute today. Your gift will be tripled!

Triple Match On Now - All donations matched by two donors.

Covenant House Volunteer Nominated For Outstanding Youth Philanthropist Award

In her first 16 years of life Jaiya Varshney has fundraised and volunteered for more organizations than most of us could ever hope to work with in a lifetime.  Jaiya first brought her energy and enthusiasm to Covenant House five years ago as a grade 8 student at West Point Grey Academy.  From then to now Jaiya has participated in Covenant House’s Thank-a-Thons – coming to our Drake Street building to call donors – simply to say thank you for their support.

As we got to know Jaiya over the years it became evident that she is a special young woman who has a passion for community service and a desire to give back to others.  This started at the ripe old age of 6 when Jaiya donated her own hair so kids enduring chemotherapy could have wigs.  Her interest in helping less fortunate peers grew from there as she focused her fundraising and volunteer efforts on causes including homeless youth helped by Covenant House.  This year Covenant House nominated Jaiya for the Outstanding Youth Philanthropist Award, one of several categories of awards given out by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  Nominees and award recipients were celebrated at National Philanthropy Day which happened on November 23rd.

Jaiya has a special gift for inspiring those around her with her passion to help those less fortunate in our world.  It goes without saying that Jaiya lives the literal meaning of philanthropy:  love of humanity.

Youth Philanthropy Awards

Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey

"Youth homelessness  continues to be a seemingly intractable problem in Canada. We believe there are solutions, and that means leveraging the best knowledge we have to do things differently.

The  Without a Home  study is the first pan-Canadian study of young people who experience homelessness. With 1,103 respondents from 47 different communities across 10 provinces and territories, this study’s sample size has enabled us to conduct detailed analyses and to draw important conclusions. 

In this report, we outline the need for a prevention-focused approach that prioritizes systems integration and Housing First for Youth (HF4Y). Our current systems tend to focus on the provision of supports downstream, when young people are much older. Rather than focusing on preventing the problem or reducing the negative outcomes of youth homelessness, we are more likely to wait for a major rupture or crisis, or when the problems facing the youth become much more acute. This report vividly demonstrates the suffering caused by this approach: housing precarity, violence, marginalization, health challenges, and social exclusion."  -  Taken from The Homeless  Hub  Stephen Gaetz;  Bill O'Grady;  Sean Kidd;  Kaitlin Schwan

 Click  cover to  view full report:

Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey

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