We all can do a little and every step forward counts!

When I started volunteering at Covenant House I was allowed to choose to spend three hours a week on the shelter floor being with the kids where they “make contact” with their youth workers, play video games, send résumés and job applications, watch TV, and do research online. I felt keen to communicate with as many kids as would feel open to it, – just to show positive energy or pass on encouragement.

A small thing I thought might be beneficial was a Scrabble Dictionary since there was none, so I put a new dictionary on the shelf. I don’t always know how to help and to find little things that do gives me a lot of joy.  The first game, nobody wanted the dictionary.  Hmm.  I saw them playing a few more times, sometimes with the dictionary on the table.  Then I forgot about this for a few weeks until recently when someone said they wanted to challenge me to a game. I went to get the Scrabble board, and there was the dictionary-covered in dark thumbprints and looking satisfactorily scuffed and grubby.  I was so pleased!!!

When I started volunteering at Covenant House I was allowed to choose to spend three hours a week on the shelter floor being with the kids where they “make contact” with their youth workers, play video games, send résumés and job applications, watch TV, and do research online. I felt keen to communicate with as many kids as would feel open to it, – just to show positive energy or pass on encouragement.

A small thing I thought might be beneficial was a Scrabble Dictionary since there was none, so I put a new dictionary on the shelf. I don’t always know how to help and to find little things that do gives me a lot of joy.  The first game, nobody wanted the dictionary.  Hmm.  I saw them playing a few more times, sometimes with the dictionary on the table.  Then I forgot about this for a few weeks until recently when someone said they wanted to challenge me to a game. I went to get the Scrabble board, and there was the dictionary-covered in dark thumbprints and looking satisfactorily scuffed and grubby.  I was so pleased!!!

This was like a little lesson, one of very many that I have learned while volunteering at Covenant House.  Like the advances the young people make every day moving towards independence and interdependence, so the thumbprints were my encouragement to count my own small steps towards communicating with them.  I can’t rescue anybody, adopt them, take them home, tell them what they should do.  I can only be constantly alert on my shelter nights and listen, and note the small needs that I might be able to fill, the odd meaningful phrase, and trust also in the invisible energy of caring, and that just even turning up can count in the heart of a needy young person.  It seems so little when you know for example that one particular youth has been in 27 foster homes,  but we all can do a little, and every step forward, or thumbprint, counts.