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Family Affair Racing Team - Racing for Covenant House Youth

Pam Williams is part of a racing team that truly is a family affair.  Pam, her husband Bob and her mother all race with the help of their kids who are part of their pit crew.  This year Pam and her team members decided to fundraise for Covenant House (plus collect food donations) for the entire 2013 racing season!

Pam invited me out to opening weekend at Mission Raceway which I attended on Saturday.  As I made my way through the paddock (or pits) area it was clear that the racers were a tight-knit group; everyone was chatting and catching up with each other.  As I arrived at the Family Affair Racing Team paddock I was warmly greeted by Pam, her family and crew (including her three dogs!).  Pam had a promotional banner made to hang in front of their paddock as well as decals for their cars – all in the effort to fundraise for Covenant House.  Racing fans can drop by to learn more about the team and their cars plus make a donation to Covenant House on race days.

I know very little about car racing and all the levels, categories and associations that go with it – but I enjoyed a bit of a crash course with the help of Pam and Family Affair team member Jennifer.  Pam is a Formula Vee open wheel racer and I got a close-up look at what it takes to keep the cars in racing form!  I enjoyed the chance to watch Pam race in the open wheel portion of race day; Jennifer was my guide explaining various aspects of the race as they unfolded.

Covenant House is grateful to Pam and the Family Affair Racing Team for their hard work and dedication fundraising on our behalf.  I encourage everyone to check out the fun at Mission Raceway this season. 

For more information on Family Affair Racing Team check out their website.
pam williams in fv car

racing paddock

chv sign at racing paddock
And yes – if you haven’t noticed already – the acronym for Family Affair Racing Team is ‘F.A.R.T.’!

The right combination of embarrassed and loved!

One youth had a birthday while staying in Shelter. He has been staying at Covenant House Vancouver for several months and has been struggling with motivation lately. This youth is a really friendly, easy-going person and is the first to share a joke. Birthdays are emotional at the best of times but it can be especially difficult to spend a birthday in a homeless shelter and be reminded that you may not have any family or feel like anyone cares. Youth often ask for their birthday not to be mentioned for this reason. Staff need to be conscious of how a youth may react around their birthday and trust their instincts and the relationship they have built with a particular youth.

Even though this youth said he didn’t need a cake and not to worry about making a big deal about his birthday, he was greeted at the office with a very loud, obnoxious staff rendition of happy birthday and a card signed by everyone. He was also given some gift cards and birthday candy, in lieu of cake. This left him feeling just the right combination of embarrassed and loved! It is common for vulnerable youth not to be able to say thank you, however, this youth stated that he really appreciated what we had done for him and that the singing was great!

birthday wishes

Kindness for Friday

A lovely donor sent cards and small treats for our youth.

Here they are in Sister Nancy’s office waiting to be handed out; our thanks to this kind soul!

cards from donor

Happy Friday!

I feel honored to be able to be part of his world, one song at a time.

Recently, in the Crisis Shelter, there was music in the air. A young man, “Kevin”, had returned to the Shelter after a short stay in the hospital. Kevin struggles with severe mental health so this stay in the hospital was necessary to keep Kevin safe for a few days and stabilize him more on his medication.

For Kevin, the one constant and predictable thing in his life after many years of foster care and unhealthy relationships is his passion and devotion to music. So, it was no surprise that Kevin picked up a guitar and started playing within minutes of arriving to Covenant House.  Kevin has an extreme talent with guitar, winning several “shredding” contests in Vancouver due to his ability to move his fingers so fast and accurately. As he sat in the Shelter, with his unruly curls and pants above his ankles, white socks exposed, he played.

Watching him, he appeared to be in his own world. Song after song, melody after melody he tirelessly and effortlessly strummed like no one is watching. As he plays, I sat there, relishing in the ability to just be able to sit, if only for a few moments in between requests from other youth, and listen and enjoy Kevin’s talent. I think, what a gift he was given to be able to play a guitar with such talent and I smile, feeling honored to be able to be part of his world, one song at a time.

young man playing guitar image