“Everyone in my life has made me feel like I am being judged. You never once made me feel like that.”

*Jennie came to us trying to separate herself from an abusive relationship. She was hoping to better cope with challenging mental health and substance use issues she had been facing for years. Since leaving foster care when she was young, Jennie had moved dozens of times in search of a stable place to stay. Jennie accessed the resources at Covenant House Vancouver during a time of need and stayed at our Crisis Program. She was immediately given food, a bed, and access to resources, activities and an in-house Social Worker.

Jennie and I built a strong relationship over the time she stayed with us and we had many powerful conversations. I will never forget seeing Jennie crying on the balcony. I went out to see what was happening. She told me her ex-boyfriend had gotten involved with some corrupt individuals who had threatened to hurt her. She was crying so hard she could barely breath and stated she was afraid. We worked on an ongoing strategy with Jennie to keep her safe.

Jennie had ups and downs while staying at Covenant House, working hard each day on her substance use and emotional health. Despite her struggles she stayed determined and maintained a full-time job and consistently attended a substance use support group and counselling.

Jennie eventually moved on from our Crisis Program, but she came by to say hi and check in. She stated she was doing well. She then thanked me for everything and looked up at me with tears in her eyes. Then said, “Everyone in my life has made me feel like I am being judged. You never once made me feel like that.”

Jennie had a huge impact on me as a Youth Worker, and this comment made me feel like I may have made a small impact on her as well. Many youth when they are ready, move on to other opportunities and programs within Covenant House and in the community.

Jennie was at a very difficult time in her life and was not ready to progress through the program. However, we did provide her a safe place to stay for a part of her life. Being in a judgement free, supportive environment is perhaps all Jennie needed at that point in her journey. And I’m proud to say we provided that for her.

Shared by Haylie, Youth Worker at our Crisis Program.

*Named changed for confidentiality