A youth feels a sense of ownership towards ensuring the sanctuary of CHV

We had a bit of a crisis in the drop-in.  Two female clients were having a conflict in the clothing room, so I separated the clients and spoke to them separately.  One was a long-term client who immediately apologized and agreed to stay away from the other girl.  The other was fairly new to us and, when she began threatening the first client, was asked to leave the Drop-In.  This young woman refused to leave and became increasingly loud and aggressive.

After several minutes of asking her to leave on her own, staff called the police.  When a police officer arrived, he spent almost three quarters of an hour listening to this young woman and trying to convince her to leave on her own rather than in handcuffs.  I was impressed with how patient this officer was with this angry and hostile young woman. 

When everything had calmed down, I spoke with the other woman involved.  She told me that her first instinct had been to get into a physical altercation with the other client, but she believed that Covenant House needed to be safe for everybody and trusted staff to deal with the situation appropriately.  It was a wonderful thing to hear her say, because I clearly remember working in the shelter the first time this young woman stayed with us, and at that time she certainly didn’t trust staff or feel a commitment to keeping Covenant House a place of sanctuary. 

We had a bit of a crisis in the drop-in.  Two female clients were having a conflict in the clothing room, so I separated the clients and spoke to them separately.  One was a long-term client who immediately apologized and agreed to stay away from the other girl.  The other was fairly new to us and, when she began threatening the first client, was asked to leave the Drop-In.  This young woman refused to leave and became increasingly loud and aggressive.

After several minutes of asking her to leave on her own, staff called the police.  When a police officer arrived, he spent almost three quarters of an hour listening to this young woman and trying to convince her to leave on her own rather than in handcuffs.  I was impressed with how patient this officer was with this angry and hostile young woman. 

When everything had calmed down, I spoke with the other woman involved.  She told me that her first instinct had been to get into a physical altercation with the other client, but she believed that Covenant House needed to be safe for everybody and trusted staff to deal with the situation appropriately.  It was a wonderful thing to hear her say, because I clearly remember working in the shelter the first time this young woman stayed with us, and at that time she certainly didn’t trust staff or feel a commitment to keeping Covenant House a place of sanctuary. 

As I recall, she was pretty hostile and intimidating herself.  She has grown with us, and now feels a sense of ownership towards ensuring the sanctuary of this place.  I’ve even heard her tell other clients to “chill out” when they’re getting angry or being disrespectful to staff.