Mark was ready to take a positive step and get back on track

Mark was a resident in our Rights of Passage (ROP) program for two years and was consistent in meeting program expectations each month.  His Monday to Friday schedule consisted mainly of going to school, but he also had a part-time job.  He was determined to earn extra income doing construction work in the afternoons after school, and even devoted a few hours to working on Saturdays.

After Mark had lived with us for a while, I noticed that he became less enthusiastic about doing his chores, checking in with staff, or participating in ROP activities like Community Dinner. For several weeks, he was not meeting the weekly expectations. I and other staff had numerous conversations with him, but things did not improve.

Mark’s lukewarm attitude in the program was reflected in his room situation. His kitchen and washroom showed signs of neglect, and the floor of his room was scattered with clothes and other belongings.  If a resident does not meet the expectations for room cleanliness for two consecutive weeks, this becomes part of their life skills assignment for the next week.

I sat with Mark one day and arranged a time when I would help him organize his room. I let him know that I understood, and that it can be challenging for all of us to stay on top of our home situation when school and work take up so much time.  I saw willingness in his eyes, and I knew he was ready for a positive step to get back on track.

We devoted two hours to organizing his kitchen counter and cabinets, and I could tell that he was overwhelmed at how much stuff he had accumulated. I showed him a more efficient way to organize his pots, pans and cutlery. Mark was amazed at how we utilized the space. The next day, I showed him how to fold his shirts and pants, and organize them inside his clothing cabinet.  He continued folding the rest of his clothes, presenting each item to me with a smile.

Since that day, Mark has maintained the cleanliness and orderliness of his room. Slowly, I have seen improvement in his community participation as well. I am proud of Mark for pulling himself out of the slump he was in, and am grateful I could be there to support him when he was ready.

Shared by Jerry, Youth Worker