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All is calm, all is bright...

It is a couple of days before Christmas and everywhere I look I see the joys of the season. I have become filled with Christmas spirit as we have true examples of the meaning of Christmas happening here in the crisis program. At a back table, Youth Worker Freeman is teaching Frank how to do shading on his drawings, a gift of art that Freeman has and openly shares with the youth. Another Youth Worker, Huamei, has her lap top open and an audience before her as she shares one of her favourite videos from “TED Talks”. A lively and humorous discussion ensues about the topic.

Yesterday the tension was high as it dawned on the youth that this would be a Christmas they would be spending in a crisis program. Something has shifted today and the youth are happily chatting with one another and at ease.  Everyone is calm, harmonious….peaceful.

all is calm all is bright image

 

Dedicated donors, volunteers & staff bring Christmas to our youth!

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. A big thank you to everyone who makes this special day possible, we could not do it without everyone’s support.

Check out pictures from our backpack packing day and shots of our Drop-In space ready to host our young people and bring them some Christmas joy. Our Christmas party includes a big Christmas feast with lots of goodies & treats and of course a Christmas Backpack for every single youth.

Merry Christmas to all our young people!

volunteers helping for Christmas backpacks 

Christmas youth backpacks 2014 

Christmas part 2014 

*Please note there are no pictures of our youth to respect their confidentiality, we take the pictures before the party started so our youth can just relax & enjoy *

RBC and Covenant House – Partnering for Mental Health

Covenant House Vancouver has been fortunate to receive $50,000 from RBC for our mental health services. Some homeless youth struggle with mental illness which makes it difficult for them to leave the streets behind them. In order to ensure that these youth receive the help that they need, we provide them with 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 initiative, allowing us to help our youth stabilize and improve their mental health so they can begin the process of leaving the streets for good. Through RBC Children's Mental Health Project, they have provided more than $20 million to organizations dedicated to providing early intervention, increasing public awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness.

RBC cheque presentation with Tristan  

Vancouver 5th Unit Girl Guides Give Joy

The 5th Unit Girl Guides of Vancouver brought joy and gifts for our Christmas Backpack Program. The girls recently dropped off much needed items as well as an amazing handmade card. The beautiful card will be displayed at our annual Youth Christmas Party happening next week.

A big thank you to the 5th Unit Vancouver Girl Guides!

card from girl guides 

card from girl guides 5th unit Vancouver 

card from girl guides 5th unit Vancouver 

Going above & beyond to support a young lady over the holidays

As the Christmas break approaches, some youth in particular begin to get anxious at the thought of their regular youth workers not being around for several days. One female youth has a very strong relationship with her workers and when they are not around, she has been known to get overwhelmed and struggle. To prepare for this upcoming separation, the youth workers had many conversations about this difficult time and about the reunion that would happen after Christmas.

When it came time for the staff to leave on the last day, they presented the youth with a thoughtfully prepared gift. It was a kind of advent calendar, but one door for every day that the youth would be separated from her regular youth workers. It had an inspirational quote inside that was relevant to the youth’s specific situation and the name of the part time staff that would be available to assist the youth. On the front of the doors were beautiful pictures of fairies which are the youth’s favorite things. This thoughtful piece of preventative work helped the youth to cope with the stress of Christmas and being separated and let her know that her workers were thinking of her even though they were away. It will help her to have a successful stay and enjoy her Christmas.

fairy advent calendar image
 

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