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John finally asked for help and begins to talk about his mental health

A youth that I’ve been working with for a couple of months lost his job on the weekend. While it’s never a happy thing to hear, sometimes it’s actually a blessing in disguise. John came to us from another province, where he had been living with his father.  While John was very friendly and likeable, he did not like to share much about himself, as he considers himself a very private person and thinks he should be able to take care of his problems on his own.  He did tell us he was in foster care when he was young, as he was abused emotionally and physically by his mother. We also knew that he had tried to commit suicide a few years ago.

Shortly after coming to us, John found a job in a restaurant. He worked hard at his job and clearly enjoyed it, but we could see that John was not sleeping well and seemed pretty down at times. Losing the job was quite a blow to John, but the subsequent conversation that happened with his worker led to John opening up to staff and realizing that he needed help.

John revealed that he has been struggling with depression for a long time and felt that this was the beginning of a bad period for him. He shared that the holiday season was a particularly hard time. Like many of our youth, John was sad to be without family at this time of year, but the holiday's also bring back many memories of family conflict. John, who for so many months, said he could deal with his issues on his own, finally asked for help and wanted to talk about his mental health. We were able to refer John to our Mental Health Team through Covenant House, to get the care he needs.  John is also now talking about finishing high school. He realizes he’ll have his whole life to work, but will be much more successful if he takes care of himself first.

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Mark Betteridge for Covenant House Vancouver & Sleep Out

On November 21st, executives, public figures and well-connected leaders in our community will sleep outside for one night in solidarity with those youth who may face many more cold, lonely nights until they find their way through the doors of Covenant House Vancouver.

Mark Betteridge is one of these dedicated people, as a former Board Chair of Covenant House Vancouver and as the Executive Director/CEO of Discovery Parks this is Mark’s second year sleeping out for Covenant House. In the below video Mark shares why he is sleeping out and why he feels helping homeless young people is so important.

To learn more about Sleep Out click here and to view Mark Betteridge’s personal Sleep Out Page click here.

Please note Chris Maksylewicz of Mad Hatter Productions produced this video at zero cost. Thank you!

"You guys are more like family to me then my own family."

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.

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Start making a difference in lives of our young people today with a CHV personal fundraising page!

Want to rally friends, family and coworkers to help end homelessness one young person at a time? Our personal fundraising page gives you tools to build your own web page, send emails, set fundraising goals, collect donations and acknowledge your supporters. You can set up an engaging page for yourself or a community group to track your fundraising progress, engage your community and share your events using social media. United with your friends and family you can make a huge difference in the lives of Vancouver’s street youth.

To learn more about our Personal Fundraising Page Program click here.

If you have any questions please feel free to call or email:

Mark Savard
Development Officer - Community Giving

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