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RBC and Covenant House – Teaming Up for Mental Health

Mental illness continues to be a major issue with homeless youth in Vancouver. Having a mental health issue makes it practically impossible for these youth to transition from life on the streets. For the past six years, Covenant House Vancouver has been helping our youth with mental health issues by providing in-house counseling and care from our mental health clinicians and partner psychiatrists. Holding these sessions in our facility has resulted in a tremendous improvement of the mental health of our youth.

Since 2009, RBC has supported this vital work, allowing us to help our youth stabilize and improve their mental health so they can begin the process of leaving the streets for good. This year, we were fortunate to receive $50,000 which will make a tremendous difference to our youth who struggle with mental illness. Through RBC Children’s Mental Health Project, RBC has provided more than $16 million to organizations dedicated to providing early intervention, increasing public awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness.  

Thank you to RBC Foundation for helping us to help our youth!

RBC and Covenant House – Teaming Up for Mental Health
Pic caption: From left to right: Mithun Bhindi, Branch Manager at RBC Royal Bank, Broadway & Granville Branch; Tristan Klassen, Associate Manager, Corporate, Foundation and Community Giving, Covenant House Vancouver; Francis Hung, Branch Manager at RBC Royal Bank, Hornby & Nelson Branch

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

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