“When you see a young person change over time it is the most powerful experience you can imagine.”

I work the night shift at Covenant House Vancouver in the female Crisis Program. I love my job and what I do. One of the biggest things I love about my job is seeing the difference the program can have on the young people we serve. Everybody has a different story; something that they are here to work through, it could be trauma, abuse, addiction or mental health issues to name a few. When you see a young person change over time it is the most powerful experience you can imagine.

When someone comes to Covenant House in the middle of the night, they are often looking for sanctuary. As a youth worker when you see someone at 2:00am a red flag goes off in your mind. More often than not, your gut reaction is correct and the young person in front of you needs your help immediately. A likely scenario is that is that they are fleeing abuse. One young person that sticks out in my mind is a young 22-year-old girl “Robyn”.

Robyn was brought to us by the police in the middle of the night. She came with only the clothes on her back. That night she did not give away much of her story at all. The police had only told us that she had fled an abusive partner. It was clear that she scared and nervous. As she sat before me, she didn’t make any eye contact at all and her voice could hardly be heard. When she settled into bed that night, I sighed with relief that she was safe.

Slowly throughout her stay, Robyn confided in our staff details of her past and what she had been through. Her past was a very tough one and I often wondered how she had the strength to make it this far. Over the next few weeks, the quiet girl that I had met in the middle of the night had totally transformed. It started with her making some friends and having a positive network of supports. While Robyn stayed with us, she got involved in a lot of different groups and activities. One day out of the blue, she decided to enroll herself into an art group. There was so much energy and brightness from her that it was contagious to anyone she was in contact with.

Before she left Covenant House Vancouver, Robyn had the opportunity to speak in front of a group of people about the issue of homelessness.  She spoke from her heart about her experience. Robyn received an award for her speech that she kept displayed in her room. She told me that it was a reminder of how far she had come while staying in the Crisis Program. I find it so hard to imagine Robyn the way she was when I first met her. She is now a confident an unforgettable young woman and it has been a real pleasure to have met and worked with her.

Shared by Youth Worker, Cora.