Some nights at Covenant House Vancouver are as peaceful and quiet as a night in any home. Others can be a relentless exercise in immediacy that see us managing crises both inside the Crisis Program and out. On one such night, after some intense conversations and interventions with our youth, I had to call an ambulance for someone living on the street who needed more help than we could provide.
He was well known and had been back to seek help many times because of the trust and familiarity we had established with him. Although we were doing all that we could to support him, it was becoming discouraging to notice that his situation did not seem to be improving. At the same time, within the Crisis Program it was a busy night with many youth needing support. By the end of it all, I could feel myself worn thin, contemplating whether I was truly making a difference or effecting any positive change at all.
In this frame of mind, and sometime after calling the ambulance, I stepped out of the building to ensure everything had been handled and that the youth had gone with the paramedics. Upon opening the door and stepping out, I startled someone passing by. Nobody else was around as it was very late, and I turned to re-enter the building after seeing that all was quiet.
That was when the man walking by spoke to me. “Hey, you know, I used to stay here when I was younger. You guys really helped me out. You’re doing really great and important work!” He turned and carried on down the street. I was surprised and taken aback.
As I returned to the Crisis Program to continue my shift, I noticed how meaningful it was for me to hear from someone who has been through Covenant House and come out on the other side. While the stress from that night had by no means been lifted entirely, I felt grateful for the coincidence. Although this interaction was brief and may seem small, it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. It was the reminder I needed that the youth staying with us will make it through, come out on the other side, and have better futures because of it.
Shared by Cara, Youth Worker at our Crisis Program