Halloween fun brings our youth together

When I tell people the line of work I am in it is always met with comments of admiration, they acknowledge the challenges that can be attached to working with at risk youth. It is for sure challenging! When you have a number of youth from a variety of backgrounds and different experiences of adversity, all living in one communal spot it can be chaotic to say the least. It is so important to ensure that our space is always safe for the youth, that the youth feel welcomed and that it is an environment that can foster self-growth.  You always have to be 100% switched on and aware of everything that is going on for the youth and the impact this can have for everyone staying at Covenant House Vancouver. However, there are times when these multitudes of behaviors and experiences come together and produce a positive collective environment for everybody.

We always try and engage the youth in different activities or outings especially on the weekends. It’s Halloween time and the plan for the day was to decorate the Crisis Program and to carve pumpkins. But first we needed to buy the decorations. One of the youth in particular loved Halloween, decorating and carving pumpkins was a whole new experience for her. 

Steph was very eager to go shopping and pick her pumpkin and the decorations. However when it came to crunch time she was the only youth interested. Steph knew that at least another youth would have to accompany her to go with a staff (This is to protect both youth & staff). Steph looked slightly disheartened by this. I encouraged her to help me get more youth involved so we could do this, and she did! Steph made an announcement to the youth that were in our female Crisis Program. She opened up and told them how much she loved Halloween and how she was never afforded the opportunity to decorate or even carve a pumpkin and how she had been looking forward to this all week. It appeared that the youth were moved by Steph’s honesty and ALL agreed to partake in the activity. From shopping to decorating and carving the pumpkins all the youth came together and supported each other, the room was full of laughter and encouragement.

There was a real sense of community in house. Not only did this fulfill the simple wish of a very vulnerable young girl but also the house came together in a very positive way. When moments like these happen they make every difficult day or week worth it!

Pumpkin from youth