New Shoes for a New Life

There were a few of us together in the common area when one of my fellow youth workers entered with a bag full of stuff. I noticed immediately that one of the youth, Shaheen, stopped what she was doing and drew her attention to the bag – clearly waiting to see if something in there was for her.

She was in luck.

Soon after setting the bag down and riffling through its contents, my colleague turned to Shaheen and smiled, handing her a sturdy, grey shoe box. They were the new pair of work shoes that she had been waiting for.

Ever since Shaheen arrived at Covenant House Vancouver, she was always so ambitious, hopeful and positive. From the very beginning, it has been a pleasure watching her grow as a person and remain so committed to the goals she set out for herself – especially when it came to completing all the paperwork needed so she could get a work permit in Canada.

Even after obtaining her permit, she didn’t slow down one bit. Shaheen crafted her resume, applied to jobs, and eventually secured work with a local grocery store.

And now, here she was, beaming with joy as she opened up the sturdy, grey shoe box; riffled through the tissue paper and cardboard; and tried on each shoe – first the left, then the right.

They fit perfectly.

She turned to me, her smile absolutely contagious, and said, “I love my home country and I always will, but I’m just so thankful for how much support I’ve been given here in Canada. It hasn’t always been easy, but being here on my own…I always have extra help when I need it.”

Shaheen walked over and took my hand in gratitude, “And I owe everyone here at Covenant House so much! You kept telling me I could do anything. I didn’t believe it at first, but now I really do feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. For the first time, I’m full of confidence and excited for my new job and my new life!”

Looking back on that day, I can’t help but smile. Shaheen is still her ambitious, attentive and amazing self. Every day, she starts her morning with breakfast, changes into her work shoes, and then steps out into the world.

And I really, really do believe that there’s nothing she can’t do.