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Staff Interview: Aroon – Working in a place of compassion, commitment and community

Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing colleague of mine, Aroon from our People & Culture department. Running with our spring theme of “Compassionate, Committed, Community”, I was curious about what these words meant to him in the context of our work here at Covenant House Vancouver:

Before we dive in, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to work at CHV?

Yeah, I’d love to share about my commitment to serving the youth in the community. It comes from a personal place. When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I joined a youth program in Burnaby that had a massive impact on my life. At that point, I was in need of somewhere to go, to be accepted, and to set and achieve certain goals.

The youth workers and staff that I came across helped me change my perspective on life. Just by being there for me, they had a positive impact. They are people that I still connect with to this day, and without their commitment to me I do not think I would be in the position that I am in today.

I also got to see the community help through various ways, such as donating us time and resources. I remember when people in the community donated us a big screen TV so we could watch sports and how wonderful a feeling that gave me.  Therefore, I can personally understand just how important an agency like Covenant House Vancouver is and how it can change lives and have an impact on the youth.

So Aroon, when you think of the words “compassion”, “commitment” and “community”, what are the things that come to mind for you here at CHV?

To me those words represent what we are here to do, what we enjoy doing, and something that we can only accomplish by working together.

The word “compassion” to me means something that we care about. It’s something that is close to our hearts, and almost turns into a purpose. Of course, our purpose at CHV is to “Serve all youth with absolute respect and unconditional love, to help youth experiencing homelessness, and to protect and safeguard all youth in need”. That purpose, and having that compassion about making a change, is what is important to me. It’s what I have seen as the focus of those that work at CHV.

These three words are very important to us. And I think we showcase them in our day-to-day work through all departments. As an agency, not only are we a community internally, but we work hand-in-hand with individuals and businesses in our larger community. All of those that share our compassion and commitment for the youth come together.

This can be in any capacity, including working for us, volunteering with us, or making any kind of donations. To tie it all in, when the community makes a commitment to something they are passionate about together; we can all make a change and a real difference.

What are the things that come to mind in the People & Culture department, and in your role specifically?

Working for CHV is something that I am very proud of. As a member of the People & Culture department, I know it is very important that our approach, practices, and programs reflects the same level of compassion and commitment we have for the agency and the youth.  Purpose and meaning are now more important than ever in the workplace. This is why we make a conscious effort to connect with our employees to ensure they feel like they belong and are a part of the CHV purpose and community. 

We connect with employees by speaking with them and seeking feedback whenever possible. This takes the form of employee engagement surveys, employee check-ins, all-team meetings, recognition programs, service awards, and much more. All these things help us better gauge and look for opportunities where we can improve and really make a difference.  I also try to achieve this by making myself available for questions and proactively speaking with managers to see how things are going in their departments and what we can do to improve. The People & Culture team is always available and open to feedback and new ideas. We are focused on continually improving. So if anyone has anything to share, they can reach out to me or anyone on the P&C team at any time.

All that being said, we are all here for the same reason. We share the same compassion and willingness to push the needle forward when it comes to the needs of our youth. Having that commitment is something that pushes us every day regardless of what capacity we work in. The youth that we help are a key to the future of our community. We want to have our focus on improving outcomes for young people.

What’s your dream CHV staff community? What steps are we taking to get there?

A dream staff community to me is firstly, all who share in our purpose and want to utilize their expertise to try and make a difference. In my time here, I have met some amazing people and we have a wonderful community already established. We want to see our staff engaged, motivated and LOVE working at CHV.

In my role, I want to help remove or change any barriers that are stopping our employees from feeling those things. As we grow, we are diligently working towards creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace for all. We also want to continue recognizing those who work hard and are dedicated to our agency. We want to establish ourselves as the best place to work within our sector. And want anyone who joins us to have an excellent employee experience from beginning to end. We want everyone to truly love working at Covenant House Vancouver.