A magical New Years with the young people at Covenant House

When I started working at Covenant House Vancouver, I began working on the weekends and loved it because I got to spend lots of time with the youth and got to know them well. Later on during my time at Covenant House I moved to working night shifts and one thing I knew I would miss would be spending time with the youth on a regular basis. One night in particular I recall was New Year’s Eve. The team had arranged to take the youth down to the Waterfront for the fireworks show and to ring in the New Year in a special way.

One youth in particular “Jessa” was excited to go to the fireworks as she wanted to ring in the New Year with a friend she was meeting. As we arrived down towards the Waterfront we slowly made our way through the busy crowded streets and made our way to finding a perfect view. As we waited patiently for the time to get closer and closer we stood and enjoyed the free concert that was getting everyone excited as they eagerly awaited the final few minutes of singing and dancing before this amazing display was about to take place. Jessa was on the lookout for her friend who was coming to meet her until she received a text to say that she wasn’t able to make it. Jessa’s friend explained that the busses were delayed and she herself would be ringing in the New Year on the bus. Jessa’s friend said how sorry she was and hoped she would have fun anyway. I tried to comfort Jessa as she had looked forward to spending this special moment with a close friend and was very disappointed as she began to blame herself for this unfortunate event, stating “nothing good ever happens for me”. I tried to reassure her that we would have a lot of fun also and that she has friends among the group at Covenant House.

Suddenly there were loud bangs. The fireworks had started and all the youth jumped and cheered yelling Happy New Year and singing “Auld Lang Syne”. It was a truly magical moment because you often see youth have bad days and to be able to witness this one magical and special time for them, may it be putting bad memories behind or just hope for happier ones to come. It was such a feeling of joy to be able to do such a small thing and see so much happiness out of it.

On our return back to the shelter after the fireworks display, Jessa approached me and thanked me for bringing the youth to see the fireworks and how it meant so much to them. Jessa also explained that even though her friend didn’t make it she soon realized she had her own friends to appreciate the moment with. I was glad to see that Jessa didn’t let that be a set back and still enjoyed ringing in the New Year with people she could share it with. Jessa was a very insecure person and this had shown me that she learnt to overcome that, be more confident in herself and see that she had other people around her to share the time with. I had seen from her short time in our Crisis Program she had started to overcome her insecurities and learnt to cope with things that upset her or made her feel down. It was a big step for her in such a short time. I only can only imagine how much more she will achieve while staying with us at Covenant House. Here’s to brighter times in 2017! 

Happy New Years Fireworks!