Witnessing a community come together is just one of the many reasons I love running the cooking class here at Covenant House Vancouver. For a few hours each week, the youth get a chance to build life skills and independence in the kitchen, while also forging new friendships along the way. I want every single person to feel included, so I always make a point to encourage the youth to guide each other, and to be patient when things don’t go as planned.
One day, a youth named Timmy approached me and asked if he could join in on this week’s cooking class. A rather shy and quiet individual, I was more than happy to welcome Timmy into the kitchen, hoping this would encourage him to open up to the other youth. Oftentimes, I notice that there are some folks who have more experience than others due to previous restaurant jobs. While Timmy didn’t seem to fall into that category, he seemed happy to be helping. At one point I noticed him falling slightly behind. Right as I was about to step in and help Timmy get back on track, Sean, another youth participant, jumped in to lend him a helping hand – patiently showing him the ropes and sharing useful tips and tricks along the way.
When I approached Sean after the class to thank him for reaching out to Timmy, he shared with me that he struggled a lot when he had first started working as a prep cook, “I know how it feels to struggle and not be offered help, even with others around.” He explained that he didn’t want Timmy to feel alone like he once did at his first cooking job. With Sean’s help Timmy was able to complete his task in class, and he told me that he was happy to have made a new friend in the process. The two of them have worked together since then. Sean’s simple act of empathy welcomed Timmy into our community – reminding me that sometimes, it really is the small things in life that can have the biggest impact.
Story shared by Daniella, a Youth Worker in our Crisis Program