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HSBC World Rugby Sevens – Auction supporting Covenant House closes February 26 at noon

Don’t miss out!  Tickets for this once in a lifetime event are 95% sold out, but you can still secure incredible seats and support Covenant House Vancouver at the same time!

Vancouver will host the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at BC Place on March 12th and 13th, 2016.  The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is one of the most dynamic global sporting events anywhere.  The Vancouver competition is part of the 2015-2016 World Series and doubles as an Olympic qualifier.

Our friends at Optimize Consulting have kindly donated 2 premium passes for both days of competition.  The passes are for the sold out Grosvenor Club Section, located in the centre of the stadium, on the south side above the 7s Reserved Seating Area.  The tickets are valued at $400, and 100% of auction proceeds will support Covenant House Vancouver!

Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to experience world class rugby and support Covenant House Vancouver!  Bid on these amazing seats  here

Image of rugby action

Numa our therapy dog turns 6!

Recently our therapy dog Numa turned 6 years old. She is such a favorite with our young people they decided to throw her a party complete with birthday hats and treats.

Happy Birthday Numa! Thank you for providing our youth with unconditional love and cuddles. 

Numa at her Birthday party

Numa our therapy dog at her birthday party 

Island Pacific School Shares Students’ Sleep Out Experience

On February 10th a group of grade 9 students at Island Pacific School braved the rain and cold sleeping outside overnight – the culmination of their work participating in Sleep Out: Student Edition.  These young people demonstrated profound and unwavering support of peers less fortunate than themselves; Covenant House is grateful to the students, staff and parents for their hard work and dedication to the youth seeking out Covenant House’s help every day.  I’m very happy to share Assistant Head of School Jennifer Henrichsen’s reflections as well as those of some of the participating students.

"Don't judge someone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes". The grade 9s at Island Pacific School have tried to do just that with part of their community service this year focused on youth homelessness.  After learning about the causes and realities for youth on the street they embarked on the action component. They raised an incredible $6,403 for Covenant House in their Sleep Out: Student Edition program - essentially our students would take the place of homeless youth for a night.  On Wednesday, we spent the afternoon volunteering at Covenant House then tried to 'walk a mile' in the shoes of a street kid.  Each student was given a toonie for dinner and walked in groups around Gastown and the Downtown East Side. Back on Bowen Island, we slept behind the school on thin mats and cardboard, talking around the fire of things we had seen and emotions felt.  As you can see from some of the excerpts below, taken from their reflections, this experience has opened their eyes and their hearts. A mile in their shoes can only create feelings of compassion and empathy:

  • What really upset me is knowing that life was maybe worse for kids -because of abuse - at ‘home’ and that the street was better or their only option.
  • Our society is really affected by homelessness, and, in most cases it doesn’t even spare a glance, never mind a handful of change. If everyone could do a single sleep out, I’m sure the world would be a different place.
  • Last night I was surrounded by friends. When it struck me that these people really are alone in life it really impacted my thoughts. Now I will think of them with more respect for what they have to face on their own every day.
  • I think this experience with Covenant House will make me look differently at someone on the street. I can look at them knowing that they could have a bright future, even though they have had a bad past.

Thank you again to all the students for your dedication to the youth Covenant House serves.

For more information on Sleep Out: Student Edition please visit the website

Island Pacific School students sleeping out for homeless youth   

A late night conversation provides Paul with much needed support

At the start of my work week, it was passed on to the team that a youth, Paul, had not been sleeping very well and was getting up lots during the night.  As an overnight worker I had seen this pattern quite a bit with many youth. My experience with this, especially working with young men is that they would keep to themselves and not really want to talk about what was going on for them. 

Paul was no exception and kept his wall up when I tried to get to the root of the cause of his sleep issues.  He would be in the common space almost hourly reading or getting drinks. Although he didn’t want to talk to me about what was troubling him, I let him know that I was available if he changed his mind and checked in with him. On the second night of my shift rotation that week the pattern continued. I felt like he could do with some space so I didn’t approach him too much but acknowledged the fact he was up by giving him a smile. 

A couple of minutes later he approached the staff office and asked to speak with me. I invited him into the office and asked him what was going on for him. He spoke at length about his legal issues, girlfriend problems and also how he had physical pain from an altercation a few days previous. I didn’t speak much but instead empathized with his situation and helped him to break things down into smaller pieces to help him understand more. After about 40 minutes Paul stated that he felt much better and that he really appreciated the opportunity to speak to someone whom he felt actually listened to him.

He told me that he found it hard to talk about things while staying in the Crisis Program as he did not want to seem weak in front of the other youth. He stated he thought he would be able to sleep better now. I commended Paul for his courage to speak to someone and assured him that staff would always be available. I asked him if there was anything else he needed. He stated that he thought an extra pillow would be helpful as his head was still sore from the altercation. When I gave him the extra pillow he seemed so grateful for the small gesture. It was this interaction that helped me to realize that somethings the smallest things can have a huge effect as Paul’s sleeping problems seemed to cease after this night.

Sleeping boy image

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