Donate Menu

Youth Christmas Party Video Tour!

Yesterday we held our annual Youth Christmas Party complete with fantastic food, decorations and presents (Christmas Backpacks). A huge thank you to all our donors, volunteers, supporters and staff that put on such an amazing party for our young people! Thank you to Savoury Chef who donated the Christmas meal for the party!

Merry Christmas to all our youth!

*Please note there are no pictures of our youth to respect their confidentiality, we took the video before the party started so our youth can just relax & enjoy *

Christmas Backpacks For Youth Ready To Go Thanks To Amazing Volunteers & Donors

Thanks to a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers, caring donors and hardworking staff the Christmas Backpacks are ready to go for Youth Christmas Party which is happening today.

Thank you to everyone who helps makes this very special program a success; tune in tomorrow for the picture’s and videos of the Christmas Party.

volunteers for christmas backpack program

volunteers for christmas backpack program

volunteers for christmas backpack program

volunteers for christmas backpack program

More Christmas Backpack video's here.

What gives you hope?

Watching the inspiration tree grow has inspired the weekend Pender team and its youth to start another project for the other side of the wall. After weeks of working, our sky of birds is finally up in the Pender dining hall. Since the interactive component has been working so well with the leaves, we've decided to try the same thing with birds. I've been incredibly lucky to work with such a talented and creative group of people and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

All artwork shown has created by Pender Shelter youth, staff, and volunteers.
wall of hope images

wall of hope large shot

what gives you hope

Christmas trivia brings positive fun to our youth

For many youth staying in Shelter, Christmas time can often be a struggle; not only are many coping with issues such as addiction or mental illness, but they are also trying to reconcile the fact they aren’t with family or have none.  At this time of year that absence can often be felt the most. As a result we strive even more so during this time of the year to support the youth and to make it as special and enjoyable as possible; to make a kind of home away from home where they can celebrate Christmas together with others.

With many youth on rest and recreation time on Saturday and Sunday, my weekend team and I at the Pender street Shelter endeavor to be creative and develop different positive activities for everyone to participate in during this free time. So, in November we decided to hold a monthly trivia contest as a way to get all of the youth in the shelter together, and engaged in something fun. For the month of December we thought we would hold a special Christmas themed trivia contest quizzing the youth on their knowledge of different holiday facts. When we announced on a Sunday it would be held after brunch, it did not take long until we were bombarded with questions like “Are we starting yet?” “When are we playing trivia?”

With all of the youth gathered around and very eagerly awaiting the start of the game, I prepared my best announcing voice and my teammates astutely stood by waiting to see which one of the youth’s fast flying arms would shoot up first to have the opportunity to answer the question. It did not take long before the game became very competitive, each youth anticipating the next question and fiercely competing to see who would get it right. Many times it was almost impossible for staff to figure out who had raised their hands first, and sometimes, just sometimes, the answers would slip out before they got their hands up. Both youth and staff thoroughly enjoyed themselves, but with only 25 questions, and a highly competitive and eager group, it did not take long for us to go right through them all.

While it is always enjoyable for staff to watch the youth participate in something positive and have fun, it is even more so to see it during this time of the year which we know is often a challenge for them. In the moments of excitement the youth can spend some time enjoying Christmas with those around them. Having only recently started as a youth worker in the Crisis Shelter, I have had the opportunity to witness both the difficult times youth can have at this time of the year, and the positive and enjoyable ones which can happen when we put in that little extra bit of effort to make It special for them. For me, seeing the youth persevere and overcome these challenges has been one of the most gratifying experiences yet.

image of christmas trivia

Volunteering at Christmas

If we had a dollar for all the calls we receive in November and December from people wanting to volunteer….we’d be happy!

So many people get into the Christmas spirit and one of the most popular ways to express the desire to give during this festive season is the offer to volunteer.  Covenant House relies on over 100 regular volunteers to support our programs and services to homeless and runaway youth.  Lawyers, hair dressers, teachers, retired professionals…people from all walks of life hold many important jobs at Covenant House from serving food, tutoring, recreational outing leader, donations processor….to name a few.

Like our paid staff, volunteers go through a rigorous screening process before they come on board, including an interview, reference and police check, and orientation.  This ensures the most suitable people are placed in the most appropriate position  which is very important given the vulnerability experienced by so many of youth are in (so many have experienced physical, sexual or verbal abuse).

At Christmas time, our regular volunteers want to be at Covenant House and our youth really appreciate the familiar faces they know and trust.  So while we appreciate calls asking if people can come and serve food and perform other duties over the holidays, we politely decline, reassuring people that all positions are filled and for this we are most grateful. 

If you are interested in becoming a regular volunteer at Covenant House, click here to learn more.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

volunteering image

Rocket Fuel