Violet and I made a special connection after a night when I was working at the front desk. Now, I’ll admit, Violet* and I had started our relationship off a bit rocky. Violet had some very bad experiences with social services and other adults in her life, making it difficult for her to trust.
She had come in one night for some food and essentials, and not knowing who she was, I had asked her a few questions so I could find her in our client database. She had said she had been here earlier. She wasn’t in our system, but Violet had said she was told to come here for some things by our Outreach Team.
Somewhere along the way during this interaction, there seemed to be some confusion, and Violet was frustrated. I later found out that I had made Violet not feel welcomed.
A couple of weeks later, I was doing outreach when we saw Violet again. Violet began to talk about how someone at the front desk, she couldn’t remember who had not made her feel welcomed when she was told that she could go there for support.
It dawned on me that this was the same girl I had spoken to that night. My heart sank. I immediately stated that that was me and we had a heart-to-heart conversation. I asked her how I could mend the relationship, as my intention is always to help youth feel welcome at CHV. She shared that my speaking with her, and the apology set things right for her. After that, we got on like bees to honey!
After clearing the air, Violet was willing to open up with me about many things. This got me thinking that introducing her to our Community Support Services Social Worker would be a good idea. Because of our new bond, she was open to more support and being connected to other services.
She even agreed to go to Urgent Care with me which she would not have considered before because of past bad experiences with medical practitioners. She made a connection with another CSS Youth Worker, who brought her to get her eyes checked. Different folks working together got her connected to many services like the dentist, counselling, and a youth film program. Staff also collaborated with other organizations in the community to advocate for her and her partner to finally get housed. Allowing her partner to focus on their health, and Violet to have some weight lifted from her shoulders.
I think that Violet may still have connected with us, however, perhaps it would have been at a slower pace if we had not had that heart-to-heart conversation. Just speaking sincerely with Violet created change because she felt noticed and heard.
And with this connection to me and the rest of the team, I know Violet has a better sense of belonging, connection to community, and hope for her future, which is all she had wanted while living on the streets of Vancouver.
Shared by Danielle, Youth Worker for Community Support Services
*Name has been changed to respect youth’s privacy