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“This feels so right. I look like me!”

I was in the Drop-In Centre one day when a youth that I didn’t know too well entered. She quickly made her way to a chair in the corner. She sat down without making eye contact or talking to anyone. Her arms were crossed and as she looked out the window, I could see she was fighting to hold back tears.

Zarinah* came into the Drop-In Centre about once a week or so. She was very polite, but often preferred to keep to herself as she grabbed a hot meal and ate it out on the patio. Today though, I could sense that something was up and that she needed someone to talk to. So, I sat in the chair next to her and asked if she was doing alright.

She turned to me with a look of sadness and hopelessness. She told me that, overnight, someone had stolen all her clothes.

I expressed my sorrow in hearing the news and said that we had a clothing room upstairs. If she wanted me to, I could grab some new clothes for her. Surprisingly though, she declined the offer. She told me that, because of her body type, it was always so difficult for her to find clothes that fit properly. Regardless, I told her that she should give me her sizes and that I would put in a special request for her. She liked that idea. Wiping away tears, she told me about the clothes that she used to have and what her sizes were.

Zarinah came in again the following week. She was taken aback when I suddenly greeted her with a pile of clothes to try on! She had the biggest smile on her face as she excitedly grabbed each item and tried it on. Suddenly, she paused as she put on a very specific pair of jeans. “How did you find this?” she asked, as she looked at herself in the mirror—now suddenly confident and poised. “This feels so right. I look like me!” She said it was the best fitting pair of jeans she ever had.

I was so happy to see her face light up and her whole body language shift, knowing that she didn’t have to struggle through finding new clothes to feel good in.

I helped her pack her clothes into a carrying case. We then grabbed some hot food from the kitchen and sat together outside on the patio. We ate lunch and chatted a bit more before she left with her new clothes and a newfound sense of confidence and hope.

I was so happy to be able to help Zarinah out, even in this small way.

Story shared by a Youth Worker in our Community Support Services program. *Youth’s name has been changed for privacy.