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Why do youth end up on the streets?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked at Covenant House Vancouver. There are many reasons why a young person may end up on the street but most of the time a young person flees to street believing it will be safer then where they currently are living. The list of hardships bestowed upon our youth read almost like a check-list of reasons why young people end up on the streets: 

1) physical, sexual and or/emotional abuse that leads to apprehension, then foster care;
2) re-abuse or lack of care once in foster care;
3) early exposure to drugs and/or alcohol;
4) interrupted education;
5) mental illness ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to bi-polar or schizophrenia. 

The list goes on but these 5 elements are all too common amongst the young people we serve.

Our continuum of care provides a wide range of services to help young people heal from past wounds and develop the skills necessary to make it on their own. Like all young people our youth want to be loved and cared for in a safe environment where they can grow and develop into independent adults. Thanks to the support of people like you Covenant House Vancouver is able to be a safe haven for our youth.

continuum of care graphic


We need your help to fill 275 Christmas Backpacks!

Each holiday season, we provide all of our young people with a Christmas backpack filled with new clothing, toiletries and small gifts. We hope that you will consider supporting our backpack program this Christmas and make the holidays special for our Covenant House youth.

Ways to donate to the Christmas Backpack Program:

1. Contribute to our costs

It costs us $120 to fill a backpack with gifts! Donate this amount to our campaign and help us purchase one whole backpack for a youth in need!

2. Purchase a completed backpack

Order a completed backpack online through our partnership with Army and Navy and have them ship it directly to us! 

3. Include us in your holiday shopping

Click here for our complete list of backpack items! Take it with you on your holiday shopping trip and then drop off items at 575 Drake Street. Please call Amy to arrange a time for drop off at 604-639-8937.

4. Donate any new items from our list

Any new items are welcome and very helpful. Pick one or more items from our list and bring them to 575 Drake Street. Our holiday helpers will be building backpacks from the donated items. Every bit helps and is truly appreciated!

For further details click here and if you have questions please contact:

Amy Cotton

christmas backpack

Over $6000 raised for Covenant House by Ride for Refuge Bikers

On October 4th, Covenant House Vancouver participated in the Ride for Refuge, a non-competitive bicycling fundraiser. Our team the Covenant House Cruisers trained hard and had a great ride with riders completing 25k and 50k races. We reached our team goal and raised over $6000.00 for Covenant House Vancouver!

Thanks to all the riders, supporters and donors for making the Ride for Refuge a huge success. 

ride for refuge team picture 

Carlos realizes his dreams

I had a really great connection with a youth when I was working as a youth worker in the Shelter. Months later that same youth moved to our Rights of Passage (ROP) program where I was now working as a residential advisor. We used to have conversations about the future and how life could be better. Those are hard questions for anyone, even if they have a more “normal” life.

I tried to be supportive of his world views and what he hoped to achieve. Our conversation got more into detail of the “what if” questions. I struggled between encouraging dreaming and “what if’s” and having a more action orientated approach. There were a few more conversations like this between us before Carlos moved out of Rights of Passage. Now my realization after the fact is this: Carlos was indeed paying attention to what he was dreaming about. In his mind these dreams were becoming a possibility for him. He was waiting for the time to make it happen.

I took time off from working at Covenant House and I was not in touch with any staff or anyone connected to this agency for a long while. When I returned as a casual worker I had taken an evening shift. I was in a staff meeting when I receive a page from front desk saying “Rafael to the front, there is a person that wants to talk to you”.

I quickly came to see what was going on. As soon as I got to the front desk I heard my name. It was Carlos who now lives in northern BC. He has a wife and 2 kids of his own. He said this: “I have been trying to make time and come here to talk to you. I want to tell you that what we talked about happened for me.” Carlos showed me his car key and said that he has his own house. It was a great moment for me and that I happen to be working that day. I came back a few hours later and staff told me that the same person made a surprise donation to Covenant House. I must say that the impression of that day resonates with my beliefs on caring for others. It is such a great pleasure to see changes in human beings.

Finally, I think that a person in the moment might struggle to meet his needs but in the end if a person persists, he will achieve his goals.

Thank you for letting me share this story.  - Rafael, Youth Worker

dream believe do repeat quote

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