I suffer from severe depression and substance abuse issues and Covenant House helped me basically learn to function again. They were the parents I never had and helped, and I will be a better person in this world because of Covenant House.
I came to Covenant House after having been in foster care (a permanent ward of the government). I guess the best way to describe being a permanent ward is — the government has to take care of you because your parents wouldn't. So the government takes you away and they take care of you, and at 19 you have to take care of yourself.
Well, just cause I was 19 didn't mean I could handle not having all the life skills I needed. I was still dealing with the aftermath of everything I'd been through, then on top of that trying to take care of myself. I was really scared and didn't know what I would do, but then I found out about Rights of Passage and moved in.
That was almost two years ago. Soon, I'm going to graduate and move out on my own. I feel able to do this because of all the support given to me by the staff. I've had a lot of problems with depression and other mental illness. Having someone to talk to any time of the day or night has saved my life at times.
For the first time in my life I knew I could always count on seeing someone, even when I just want to be alone, if I needed someone there for me. With constant support, I've learned how to support myself.
I hope that other youth can benefit from Covenant House. I always feel lucky that I have a place to stay because there's never enough beds. I know too many of my friends that have had problems getting into shelters. However, if the second floor is opened up, then Covenant House could help that many more youth.
Rights of Passage was a good experience and gave me the tools I needed to achieve the level of success I have today!!!!
I have my red seal as a chef. I have my daughter for the summers and I'm expecting my second child with my new wife...
Without the staff at ROP Vancouver (Rob & Yvonne especially!!! love u guys) I don't think I would have achieved anywhere close to my current accomplishments, or be alive for that matter. I only hope that you can continue to help at-risk youth who are as hopeless as I was.
Having spent his early years bouncing in and out of foster care, Kevin turned to drugs and alcohol in his early teens to help him "forget," soon becoming a heroin addict. As a result, Kevin became tangled up in a web of criminal activity that, when combined with his addiction, prevented him from pursuing his lifelong dream of joining the army.
In order to join the army, one has to be free of substance addiction (clean) for one year. Despite several attempts and relapses, Kevin was determined to kick his heroin habit for good. Kevin went through a treatment program and when he finished he heard about our Rights of Passage program. He applied, and even though Kevin had no prior experience with Covenant House Vancouver, he took a chance on us and we took a chance on him.
Through the support of the Rights of Passage program, Kevin completed his high school education, kept a job and re-established a relationship with his parents. Kevin was unwavering in his dream and, after eight months with us, he had reached his one-year anniversary of being clean and was accepted into the army. Kevin came back to visit while on leave, looking especially dapper in his uniform, and expressed his gratitude to the staff at ROP for giving him a place to call home during a most vulnerable time in his life.
"I'm sorry it has taken me so long to let you know that I made it home all right. I'm happy to be home with my grandparents. I wanted to thank everyone who helped me out. I couldn't of done it without your help. I'm going to school again and hope to finish my grade 12 next year. It's hard work but I think I can handle it."
"I would like to thank all of the Covenant House staff for their concern for street youth and the young people that are in need of direction. When I was in need of a friend or people who cared, you were there for me and I really appreciate that sincerely."
"Hey guys! I just wanna say how thankful I am to be taken care of throughout this week. I really appreciate what all the staff have done with me, as well as the kids, they treated me with great respect, they made me feel welcome."
"I don't know if you'll remember me, but I stayed at Covenant House a few years ago. Like too many other youth, I too had a problem with cocaine and heroine and while with you, was dealing with trafficking charges—I just wanted to let you know that I've been clean for 4 years and own my own business. My business is very successful and I'm living very comfortably and in good spirit. I now have a beautiful 2 yr. old son who is as much a blessing as you were."
"At a time when I was being consumed by bad mistakes and judgment calls, you took me in and gave me the chance that I wasn't able to give myself. For that I am eternally grateful and forever in debt to you all. Your heart and desire to make a change in this world has helped so many of us tread through the most difficult times of our lives. You've shown us that we have the strength to conquer the world if we want it bad enough."