The holidays are a time when many people reflect, celebrate and make resolutions. They are a time that can also enhance a person’s feelings of loneliness and can exacerbate their mental health challenges.
As the staff at CHV prepared for the holiday season, we pondered the question, “What does home mean to you?” We surveyed our staff to try to get a better understanding of what home might mean, in a big picture kind of way.
We would like to share our findings with you today.
What Does Home Mean to the Staff at CHV?
The survey consisted of 13 questions. Since people express themselves in different ways, we tried to vary the style of questions, in order to evoke and capture these varied expressions. Question styles took the form of ticking boxes, short answers, and the sharing images, links and music.
Whether people ticked a box, shared a link, or answered a question, collectively, the responses brought out some very distinct themes.
When replying to questions around the idea of what makes a home, the top answers were people and community.
When asked what gives a place a homey feel, the responses revolved around gatherings like holidays and birthdays.
On a more visceral level, responses around what makes you feel at home involved the feeling of being loved, a place where you felt safe, a place where you could recharge, a place of sanctuary, and a place where you felt that you belonged.
What Is the Big Picture?
The results of the survey suggest that home is not about the structure in which you reside. It’s more about the people and the environment that they create.
There were no prompts in the survey to give any indication to what the results would be used for. When comparing the results of the survey to the Purpose and Principles of Covenant House Vancouver, the similarities were analogous.
Covenant House Vancouver’s purpose 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.
The connections that youth make when staying at CHV can be life changing. Listen to Keyosha’s story that expresses how CHV can feel like home.
Celebrations, like birthdays and international holidays, really bolster the sense of community and strengthen relationships between youth, as well as support that sense of belonging and home. They are also a great way to learn about other cultures and communities.
Last, but not least, home is a place where you feel safe—a place of sanctuary where you can recharge and let your guard down.
We would like to thank the staff who have participated in our survey, and we would like to thank all of you who support the youth who come to Covenant House Vancouver. Your support helps youth feel like they’re home.