We, at Covenant House Vancouver, serve all youth. In addition to the youth who come to us from around BC and Canada, we also have youth coming to Covenant House Vancouver from all other parts of the world. Youth arrive at our doors for all different reasons. From seeking safety from abuse to escape from human trafficking. Others are refugees, fleeing horrific situations in their home countries.
I first met Hope* during the year that she stayed at Covenant House Vancouver, while she waited for her hearing for her refugee status. Hope often told me during our conversations that she had aspirations of becoming a fashion designer, and couldn’t wait to receive her refugee status so that she could pursue her dream.
During the year that she waited for her hearing, Hope had done all the prep work that she needed to do to enroll in school. She now just needed her status. As the date of her hearing drew closer and closer, I noticed that Hope became more and more anxious. With a supportive nudge, I encouraged Hope to not wait for her hearing, but to start pursuing her dream now.
With some trepidation, Hope signed up for her first art class, which coincidentally started on the same day as her hearing.
The day of the hearing finally arrived. I was secretly nervous. What if she did not receive her status? Would she feel defeated? Would that affect her dream of becoming a fashion designer? Fortunately, those concerns were fleeting, as Hope was granted her refugee status.
I met up with Hope during my next shift. She wore a smile from ear to ear and produced a collection of fashion sketches that she was working on. I told her how amazing I thought they were, to which she replied, “I thought that with everything that I had been through in my life that I may have lost my ability to create art, but I am so glad that I took the leap!”
A few weeks later, Hope moved into our Rights of Passage Program. I ran into her about a month after that. With a gleam in her eyes, she told me that she had just bought her first sewing machine and since the last time that we had spoken, had completed two more art classes.
As we parted, she said with a smile, “I will always remember your encouragement and all the support I received at Covenant House Vancouver, when I do my first interview for Vogue.”
Shared by Amber, Youth Worker
*Name has been changed to respect youth’s privacy