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#GetLoud for Mental Health Week

The mental well-being of all Canadians is important. Mental Health Week is a time for the  Canadian Mental Health Association  (CMHA) and it's supporters to raise awareness about the mental health issues of Canadians. Every year, they choose a group to focus on – to highlight the particular concerns of that group.

This year, they want everyone to Get Loud about the mental health of men and boys.

Learn more, get involved and get great info on improving your mental health here

Mental Health Week

Exit 29 - Buy, Sell and Give!

Exit 29 is an online designer consignment shop that offers people the opportunity to buy secondhand fashions, accessories and housewares at a fraction of the cost and from a carefully curated collection of items. People are also welcome to sell their new or gently used items on the site while being given the option to donate part or all of their profits to a charity including Covenant House Vancouver.

Learn more about Exit 29 and how you can give back while you shop here

Exit 29 image

Covenant House International President Kevin Ryan visits CHV!

Once a year, Covenant House holds “Renewal”, a day when staff from across the agency (youth workers, fundraisers, cooks and custodians etc.) can recommit to our mission and renew our passion.  This year our Renewal committee invited Covenant House International President Kevin Ryan to attend.  Kevin flew in from New York the night before Renewal and out the night of (he had a meeting with President Obama the next day!).

 In addition to interacting with each other, we were blessed to hear from Kevin (an exceptionally charismatic and articulate speaker) who chronicled his journey walking along side our youth which began years ago when he was first out of law school and working as a legal advocate for Covenant House in New York.  Kevin shared his belief that Covenant House is not doing “charity work” per se but rather we are leading a movement of justice for young people.  He juxtaposed this against what so many human service charities struggle with - donor expectations as they relate to outcomes. What is your success rate?  How many kids did you get off the street?  These are questions for which donors want answers and understandably so.   

 For perspective, Kevin told the story of a young woman, “Rosa”, whom he met while in Nicaragua (Covenant House in Latin America is “Casa Alianza”).  When he first met Rosa, she was 14 but looked 20; a victim of sexual trafficking and addicted to sniffing glue.  Two years after first meeting Rosa, Kevin went back to Nicaragua and while doing outreach with our staff there, he saw Rosa again, this time 16 years old and looking 40. 

 On this visit, Kevin was accompanied by a donor and Kevin wondered to himself if he would be asked about the expected “outcome” of Rosa – her situation seemed so bleak:  Rosa was bleeding in the street, and drug addled, barely able to make eye contact as the outreach worker and Kevin spoke to her.  As the staff applied anti-lice treatment to her hair, Kevin recalled that her eyes briefly came to life, responding to what was probably the first non-violent, non-sexual human touch she had felt in a long time.  

 Kevin reflected on this situation, noting how “hopeless” Rosa seemed and wondered aloud what most people do - “what is the point?” of walking the streets whether in Nicaragua or Vancouver, tending to those young people who are so alone and suffering.  It is unlikely that Rosa will ever rise out of her situation, but Kevin argues that providing her with love, in the moment, is enough.  Visiting our youth in their DTES (Downtown Eastside) SRO (single room occupancy) hotel, bringing them socks, food and keeping them company is enough – that is the outcome in some circumstances (street outreach is just one of 3 core services Covenant House provides in addition to a residential Crisis Program and a long-term Transitional Living Program). 

Kevin asked the Outreach Worker in Nicaragua why Covenant House is there, walking the streets, providing aid to the seemingly “hopeless” cases and he responded perfectly when he said: “because we can and we must”. 

 Kevin Ryan

Nordstrom Announces Beneficiaries for Pacific Centre Store Opening Gala in September

SEATTLE (April 29, 2015) — Nordstrom, Inc., a leading fashion retailer based in the U.S., announced today that it will celebrate the opening of its Pacific Centre flagship store in Vancouver with a gala on Wednesday, September 16, 2015. The event will benefit BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation, Covenant House Vancouver and Vancouver Art Gallery. Nordstrom Pacific Centre officially opens on Friday, September 18, 2015 at 10 a.m.

Gala attendees will be among the first to preview the new 230,000 square-foot store, while enjoying cocktails, dinner, desserts, live entertainment, fashion presentations and the opportunity to shop. Nordstrom will underwrite the event and 100 percent of tickets sales will directly benefit the selected organizations and their important community programs. Tickets for the gala will go on sale on June 24, 2015.

“Vancouver is fortunate to have such an exceptionally supportive community. We’re proud to be partnering with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, BC Women’s Hospital Foundation, Covenant House Vancouver and the Vancouver Art Gallery on our signature opening event,” said Chris Wanlass, Nordstrom Pacific Centre store manager. “We invite everyone to join us for our opening party and together we can support the community and celebrate fashion all in one evening.”

BC Children’s Hospital is the province’s only full-service acute-care hospital dedicated to serving close to one million children living in BC and the Yukon. All children who are seriously ill or injured are referred to Children’s Hospital and are either treated at the hospital in Vancouver or, in consultation with Children’s specialists, in their home community. Last year, more than 84,000 children were treated at Children’s Hospital, making close to 230,000 visits. Only BC Children’s Hospital has the critical mass of expertise in pediatric subspecialties in clinical care and research required to treat young patients with complex medical conditions and serious injuries.

“With the opening of Nordstrom Pacific Centre, and as a beneficiary of the opening gala, BC Children’s Hospital will be better able to serve seriously ill or injured children and their families. This is great for our children, our communities and our province,” said Teri Nicholas, president & CEO, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre is the only facility in BC dedicated to meeting the provincial health care needs of women, newborn babies and their families. Averaging 7,000 births and 68,000 patients annually, BC Women’s is one of Canada’s biggest and busiest obstetrical centres. As the provincial experts in maternity care, BC Women’s specialists diagnose and care for the riskiest pregnancies and the ‘sickest of the sick’ newborn and premature babies. 1,400 of the sickest and smallest babies from around the province receive life saving care at BC Women’s Newborn ICU.   

“BC Women’s Hospital is thrilled to partner with Nordstrom and the other organizations who are benefitting from the gala in celebrating the opening of their new flagship store in Vancouver.  This unique partnership opportunity demonstrates Nordstrom’s commitment to bringing their culture of service to Vancouver by acknowledging the important role each participating charity plays in the community,” said Laurie Clarke, CEO, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation.

Covenant House Vancouver offers a 24-hour crisis program, a supportive transitional living program, street outreach, and a daily drop-in  for homeless, runaway and street involved youth aged 16-25.  Covenant House supports young people by providing a continuum of care that meets them where they are at, understanding that no two young people have the same needs. 

“Covenant House is honoured to be partnering with Nordstrom for their Gala Opening in Vancouver and we are so thrilled to have been chosen as one of four organizations to be highlighted for this extra special occasion,” said Krista Thompson, executive director, Covenant House Vancouver.

Founded in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery is recognized as one of the most respected and innovative visual arts institutions in Canada and is committed to strengthening ties between artists and diverse communities throughout the city, province and beyond. As the largest public art museum in Western Canada, the Gallery features the work of ground-breaking contemporary artists from around the world and presents historical art of international significance, is committed to exploring the art of Asia, and provides a global platform for British Columbia's dynamic artistic community, including the work of First Nations artists. Its growing collection represents the most comprehensive resource for art in British Columbia and is the principal repository for visual art produced in the region, as well as related works by other notable Canadian and international artists.

“The Vancouver Art Gallery is extremely grateful to be one of the beneficiaries of Nordstrom’s extraordinary opening gala. The proceeds will support and expand the dynamic range of educational programs for visitors at the Gallery, from exhibition tours led by experts, inspirational artist talks and lectures to cutting-edge performance and hands-on art-making workshops. Our programs create a place of conversation, learning and exchange inspired by the most compelling art of our times, and Nordstrom’s support will help the Vancouver Art Gallery to foster the development and growth of creative passions in our city,” said Vancouver Art Gallery Director Kathleen Bartels.

Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion specialty retailer based in the U.S. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 303 stores in 38 states and Canada. Customers are served at 116 Nordstrom stores in the U.S. and two in Canada; 177 Nordstrom Rack stores; two Jeffrey boutiques; and one clearance store. Additionally, customers are served online through, and HauteLook. The company also owns Trunk Club, a personalized clothing service serving customers online at and its five clubhouses. Nordstrom, Inc.'s common stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.



Kind-hearted stranger returns lost brunch money to ROP

"Last weekend, myself and two of our youth from Rights of Passage were on our way to the grocery store to get supplies to make Community Brunch.  I tucked the envelope containing our budget of $30 into my pocket and we started the short walk to the market.  Upon arriving, I reached into my pocket and realized the envelope was gone!  The youth and I quickly ran back the way we came, retracing our steps and looking in corners all the way back to Covenant House.  Unfortunately, we did not find the envelope but we grabbed my debit card and Community Brunch was back on!  Our youth were humble about the situation and hoped that the money was picked up by someone who needed it more than they did (there were a number of people we saw sleeping on the streets and pan handling while we walked to T&T in Chinatown) which made me smile at how giving our clients can be when they themselves can come from so little at times.

Fast forward to next weekend when I return for my shift and Chelsea (Manager of ROP) comes to hand me the budget for Brunch again and adds a second envelope.  Chelsea tells me that someone had found the money from last weekend and returned it to Covenant House!  How did they know where to bring it?  Well, the envelope we seal the money in is a Covenant House envelope with our emblem printed boldly in the corner and the only writing on this envelope was "Brunch Money".  The person who picked up the envelope may or may not have known what Covenant House is.  However, I would like to think that our organization is so well known to the community in our mission to serve youth that whoever this amazingly honest person is, they knew that the money was going towards something important and special to our clients and returned it so that this could happen for them!"  

-  Doreen , Youth Worker

image of envelope with money  

PS. Just this week another kind stranger found a backpack belonging to our youth that contained important papers and identification. They saw a Covenant House address on her envelops and brought the backpack to us. The youth was so happy and relieved to have their belongs returned to them. Thank you!

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