Spotlight on creator and artist Makia
No matter where you live, a large city, or even small town, chances are you have seen a young person who is experiencing homelessness. As individuals and as a society, it is important that we do everything we can to support all youth. Why? As a former Covenant House Vancouver (CHV) youth so eloquently stated, “Given the right environment, we are all capable of greatness.” The term greatness is subjective, so let’s use it in the sense of a person becoming their best self. We can’t predict how a youth’s story will end, but at this stage of their lives, their potential is close to limitless.
Let’s take a quick glimpse into the not-so-distant past. Ella Fitzgerald was born in 1917. Her dad left when she was only three. She initially did well in school and was taking piano lessons as well as singing at church. Her mother died unexpectedly when Ella was only 15. After a time of doing whatever it took to survive, Ella became a homeless youth.
However, Ella did not give up, and with some community support, Ella went on to become a jazz icon. She won 14 Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement, the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement, and the National Medal of Arts.
In February of 2019, Makia came to Vancouver, and she needed a safe place to stay. “That’s when CHV opened their doors for me. It felt like home.”
To Makia, CHV was a safe place where she was heard and appreciated. “CHV helped me with everything. They helped me get a job, get my ID, they helped me enroll in school and look into scholarships.”
“I felt like I was capable of doing anything,” shared Makia.
Makia believes that in order to help prevent youth from becoming homeless, the challenges that youth face need to be tackled at the youth level. She believes that CHV does this very well.
During her time at CHV, Makia’s confidence grew, and she began to believe in herself. “CHV built my confidence. I would look out the window every day and smile.”
Makia has an amazing view on life. She has embraced her journey and her challenges. “Right now, I’m working. I’m planning on going to music school. I’m a musician and I write music. I’m discovering who I am, and I am proud of that. I’m proud of this moment.”
“I am happy that I am able to creatively express myself through art and music. I feel like I am a part of art. It has always felt like it was a therapeutic way of self-expression.”
After her stay at CHV, Makia shared her passion for music and her gratitude for all that CHV did for her, by producing her first music video. “The video shows the struggle and the loneliness of those specifically dealing with homelessness.” Makia hired the videographer, found the locations and “found a special person to be in the video with me.”
The take-away message that Makia hopes the viewers will carry with them is to have understanding and compassion for those on a different journey than their own. “Sometimes, somethings are just unexplainable.”
Makia is inspired by the world. She believes that we can all learn from one another to create bigger possibilities.
Makia has a message for any young person who is hurting, struggling, or lost. “We are all purposeful and important. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When people are pushing you to be your best it’s because they see the best in you. Continue to push forward to achieve or maintain your happiness.”
Makia has grown as a person and as an artist. She used to feel like she was a failure when things didn’t work out for her. She’s realized that dealing with grief is a process, so she takes her time with each step of her healing and moves forward.
Destiny will choose
My voice will be heard
‘Cause I am the voice
– Lyrics from Covenant by Makia
Thank you, Makia, for sharing your passion, creativity and heart with the Covenant House community!