A couple of weeks ago a youth got a delivery from his family and he shared what was inside with me. In the parcel was a Raksha Bandhan (knot of protection) and some chocolates. He told me that it is customary to have your sister or cousin tie it on your wrist for Diwali. He wouldn’t be seeing his family this year so they sent it to him.
We then chatted more about Diwali that evening with a group of youth and he shared what happens for the celebration. I asked him if there was anyway he could celebrate here and he had said no, he wouldn’t be celebrating as he wasn’t with his family.
Next week Kadee, who works in Spiritual Care, came by with decorations and was explaining how to decorate the dinning area for Diwali. I went and asked this youth if he wanted to help us decorate but was not sure if he would.
It was quite funny when we went to his room to ask if he would help us decorate for Diwali. He was quite shocked and laughing saying, “you are decorating for Diwali”?
He seemed to get excited and then said, “yes, yes I want to help. I want to come with you guys. This is awesome”. He then came downstairs with us and took on the title of creative director for decorating the dining room.
He also talked to us about all the different traditions and things they do to celebrate. It was honestly a great experience for both him and us. He was so thankful at the end for being able to celebrate even if he could not be with family.
The dining room looked beautiful, our cooks prepared a delicious vegetarian meal and one staff member even purchased traditional deserts for all the youth to enjoy.
Shared by Ailbhe, Youth Worker at our Crisis Program