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