Early Risers

I was working the night shift at the Women’s Crisis Program when I noticed something very strange with the wake up schedule. Many of our youth had requested to be woken up at 4 o’clock in the morning. I had a good sense of the day-to-day schedule for these young women and it really didn’t make sense for any of them to be getting up so early.

But despite it leaving me a little baffled, I began to make my rounds, room by room, one by one, waking up all the youth that, for whatever reason, needed to be up by 4. By the end of “wake up time”, there were 8 youth out of their beds—foggy-eyed and groggy, but awake nonetheless.

To be fair, one of our youth, Marissa, did have a good reason to be up at such a strange time. She was getting up early to leave Covenant House and see her family again. It had been a very long time since she was last together with them and she was so excited. The bus ride would be a long one, and she had to be up early so that we could organize her bags and pack meals for the trip.

Marissa was the last to get out of bed and enter the common living room. And it was only then that I realized what all the early wake up requests were for. Everyone wanted to get up to say goodbye!

It was touching, because when Marissa first came to stay with us, she was very shy and timid. She found it difficult to talk to new people and make friends. But watching each young lady pass on their warm wishes and friendly goodbyes really proved how much Marissa had grown in her time with us.

I knew that at Covenant House we do all we can to foster a sense of community and friendship, but it can still be surprising to see it unfold right before your eyes—especially in the earliest hours of the morning.