Never too old for the comfort of a teddy bear

In support of our ’30 days for 30 nights Campaign’ (which aims to raise enough money to fund our crisis shelter for the month of December), our youth workers take turns writing stories about life in the shelter. We then present these stories to the donor(s) who sponsored that day of the month. The story below was presented to BC Housing’s Community Connections program (THANK YOU!) representing one of the three days in the month of the December sponsored by them:

When “Angel” arrived today, you could tell right away that she had been living the street life for quite a while. I sensed that I would have to tread lightly if I hoped to earn her trust, as she seemed very resistant to staff. I am here for 12 hours a day, so I have the privilege of slowly building a relationship with this fragile, vulnerable young woman. It is heart-wrenching to listen to her story about watching her mom using heroin from the time she was 8 years old, and then losing her to an overdose. Angel seems to struggle daily between maintaining the tough street-wise veneer versus the fragile young woman who seeks unconditional love and acceptance.

Daily, I have placed small items on her bed, choosing a favorite colour that I learned about after listening to her chatting about ‘girl stuff’ with a fellow co-resident. She loves pink and she wished she had a stuffed animal that she could hug when she was missing her mom and feeling anxious and lonely. I came across a teddy bear that I have been waiting for the right time to share with her.

In support of our ’30 days for 30 nights Campaign’ (which aims to raise enough money to fund our crisis shelter for the month of December), our youth workers take turns writing stories about life in the shelter. We then present these stories to the donor(s) who sponsored that day of the month. The story below was presented to BC Housing’s Community Connections program (THANK YOU!) representing one of the three days in the month of the December sponsored by them:

When “Angel” arrived today, you could tell right away that she had been living the street life for quite a while. I sensed that I would have to tread lightly if I hoped to earn her trust, as she seemed very resistant to staff. I am here for 12 hours a day, so I have the privilege of slowly building a relationship with this fragile, vulnerable young woman. It is heart-wrenching to listen to her story about watching her mom using heroin from the time she was 8 years old, and then losing her to an overdose. Angel seems to struggle daily between maintaining the tough street-wise veneer versus the fragile young woman who seeks unconditional love and acceptance.

Daily, I have placed small items on her bed, choosing a favorite colour that I learned about after listening to her chatting about ‘girl stuff’ with a fellow co-resident. She loves pink and she wished she had a stuffed animal that she could hug when she was missing her mom and feeling anxious and lonely. I came across a teddy bear that I have been waiting for the right time to share with her.

Today, Angel has decided that she needs to go back to stay with a friend. I placed the teddy bear in her room and she came out shortly afterwards clutching it with a smile I will never forget. She took her bubble bath, new clothes and her teddy bear with her and wanted to hug the staff before she left, thankful for all of the care and love she said she received from us.

Working with Angel and being given the opportunity to walk with her for a brief time in her journey has been an incredibly humbling experience for me ….I consider it to be an honour to be one of the few that she has allowed into her life. It is stories like Angel’s that make me love my job so much!