It was in this moment that I realized that Jacklyn was starting to take the first steps in trusting me…

When we meet youth for the first time in the Crisis Program, they have often experienced many difficult things throughout their lives. Due to this, it can be a long road to building a trusting relationship and getting to know how to support them as individuals. What works best for each youth is unique to them, their needs, and their communication style.

When I met Jacklyn for the first time, I felt at a loss for how to get to know her in a way that worked best to make her feel comfortable.  Jacklyn was abrupt in her answers, and seemed quick to anger in our first interactions.  Through trial and error, I began to learn that Jacklyn had a specific way of interacting with the world. It became clear to me that this way of communication was something she had adapted over time to make sense of a world that for her had been chaotic and confusing.

I learned that Jacklyn had recently left the care of the government and was navigating the difficulties of the adult world with little support. The more I began to mirror Jacklyn’s direct and clear way of communication, using wording that made sense to her, the longer and more productive our conversations became. One day, Jacklyn asked me for support making an important phone call. As we waited for the call to go through, Jacklyn began to speak to me about how difficult phone calls were for her.

Jacklyn spoke of feeling unheard, and anxious. Jacklyn said that feeling unheard had been a part of her life with most professionals that were meant to be in a supportive role for her. Jacklyn then said that coming to Covenant House was the start of her feeling heard. Jacklyn said that feeling heard made her feel safe and she was thankful that staff at Covenant House Vancouver listened to her and honored her choices.  It was in this moment that I realized that Jacklyn was starting to take the first steps in trusting me, and that our work together was truly about to begin.

-Shared by Youth Worker, Kiera