It had been 4 months since Carter stayed with us in Crisis Shelter. Carter left Vancouver for a while and went back home to try reconnect with family. While Carter was gone he called every 2 weeks or so to check in. Every time he called we would have conversations about his life, what he was doing and what he wanted to do. Sometimes our chats were more serious, sometimes not.
I remember one phone call; it was a special day for Carter, his 22nd birthday. He called, and when I heard his voice on the other end I knew it was him, and before he could say anything... I sang him a quick happy birthday, thanked him for calling and let him know that it was nice to hear from him. It had been a hard day in the Shelter and I shared with Carter that his phone call had really made my day much better. He answered, “well of course I was going to call on my birthday… you guys are more like family to me then my own family.”
We talked for a while, and during this conversation it became clear that Carter was changing. He sounded different, his words and thoughts different too, and although he still seemed to be “figuring things out” it was clear that he was changing. After this phone call, he stayed in touch… updating us on his life. He found a job working with his uncle, was working on re-connecting with family, and was doing quite well. He spoke about returning to Vancouver eventually... when he was ready... and spoke about what he wanted to do if he came back to Covenant House.
A few months later Carter showed up at the front desk at the Drake Shelter ready to do the work needed to become independent. Carter did really well in Shelter… his time away seemed to help him with finding more purpose in his life and all of us in Shelter are encouraged by his new found motivation and maturity. He secured a job doing stucco work, a passion of his, and he is determined to keep his job and save money to get his own place.
Carter has proven that sometimes, distance and time away, really does make a difference.