Building trust with our youth is a key to help them move forwards

When Steve first arrived at Covenant House Vancouver, he was difficult to engage to say the least. My first interactions with Steve were met with swearing, yelling and threats. The Crisis Program staff were very patient and empathetic, understanding that Steve was new to the program, and probably wasn’t used to such a structured environment.

My co-workers and I saw this as an opportunity to provide support to Steve and to help get his medical issues looked at. My co-worker and I offered Steve an escort to connect with local community resources, so he could be more familiar about supports available to him. Over the course of the escort, Steve really opened up to us; telling us about how he came to be at Covenant House, and a little about his history. By the end of the afternoon, Steve was laughing and joking with staff, and even thanked staff for going out with him saying it was the “best afternoon”.

It’s not uncommon for youth to be hesitant to engage with staff when they first arrive at the Crisis Program. For many youth, Covenant House staff are some of the first adults in their lives that they’re able to rely upon and trust. An important part of our job is providing unconditional support and guidance for the youth. It’s only after the youth learn they can trust staff that our young people can engage in the program and move forwards toward more stability.

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