Past ROP youth gets in touch

One of our original Rights of Passage (ROP) residents contacted us by email
6 years after his stay with us:

"I’m in Toronto, doing very well, finishing a double Honors at York University in English and Creative Writing. ROP had a significant impact on my life in that vulnerable time was I was 19 and into all sorts of trouble. Looking at your website now almost brought me to tears – strong memories, I guess."

After receiving an email like that, we got in touch with Mark and he agreed to be interviewed:

How did you find yourself at Covenant House?
(summarized from a telephone interview)

I moved out to Vancouver to get far away from Ontario – I had a bad highschool experience either dropping out or getting kicked out and I hated it. So I hitch-hiked out to Vancouver, stayed with a cousin for a while, then got a job at a supermarket but I was still living in a hostel and was floundering. I met someone who was applying to ROP and so I applied too.

What were your first impressions of ROP?

I felt like I would get a fresh start at ROP; it was very different, very strange from what I was used to. The other residents were great – unique in their own ways and I could relate to all of them in some way. There was a lot of caring and talk of community. I got my first adult hug at ROP from one of the other residents and I tell this story all the time: we had become friends and one day he just walked up and hugged me and I said "what are you doing?" and he said "giving you a hug". That blew me away.

How long did you stay at ROP?


One of our original Rights of Passage (ROP) residents contacted us by email
6 years after his stay with us:

"I’m in Toronto, doing very well, finishing a double Honors at York University in English and Creative Writing. ROP had a significant impact on my life in that vulnerable time was I was 19 and into all sorts of trouble. Looking at your website now almost brought me to tears – strong memories, I guess."

After receiving an email like that, we got in touch with Mark and he agreed to be interviewed:

How did you find yourself at Covenant House?
(summarized from a telephone interview)

I moved out to Vancouver to get far away from Ontario – I had a bad highschool experience either dropping out or getting kicked out and I hated it. So I hitch-hiked out to Vancouver, stayed with a cousin for a while, then got a job at a supermarket but I was still living in a hostel and was floundering. I met someone who was applying to ROP and so I applied too.

What were your first impressions of ROP?

I felt like I would get a fresh start at ROP; it was very different, very strange from what I was used to. The other residents were great – unique in their own ways and I could relate to all of them in some way. There was a lot of caring and talk of community. I got my first adult hug at ROP from one of the other residents and I tell this story all the time: we had become friends and one day he just walked up and hugged me and I said "what are you doing?" and he said "giving you a hug". That blew me away.

How long did you stay at ROP?

I stayed at ROP for 1 year; I kept my job. It was the first time in my life I had structure. The ROP staff challenged you to do more and to keep to the structure and I felt that the staff were proud of us.

What did Covenant House help you with?

Being at ROP was a really amazing transition phase; it allowed me to start living as an adult, doing my own cooking, looking after my own place, yet I got support at the same time which was great in case you slipped or if you needed a kick in the butt. I was a teenager that messed up then had to make the leap to be an adult. The staff at ROP encouraged me – taught me about community and commitments. I stayed for a year and matured a lot, got stable.

ROP taught me to trust people for the first time; it opened my eyes and I began to have confidence in myself; I stopped feeling ashamed and lost the feeling that I had to keep running away.

Editors’ note:

Mark is finishing his second last year of a degree at York University. He got in touch looking for a reference to support his application to volunteer at Covenant House Toronto where he hopes to teach theatre as a way to help young people get to know themselves and deal with challenges. He believes he could be a good male role model, something he didn’t have growing up.