“The youth teach us that in our darkest times, what it means to overcome, to rise up, to persevere. We’re in a Covenant House community with them. We are their partners. They are our teachers. We are their teachers. We, together, have created something really beautiful. And that’s what it means to be the nearest and the dearest.”
– Kevin Ryan, President and CEO of Covenant House International
On June 21st, CHV staff and volunteers had their first glimpse of the finished building at 1280 Seymour. The event took place on National Indigenous Peoples Day, which coincides with the summer solstice.
CHV would like to acknowledge and extend our deepest gratitude to Arthur, Thelma, Felecia, and Natasha Stogan, from Musqueam First Nation, who led a ceremonial cedar brushing to spiritually cleanse our building before youth move in. Our work takes place on the traditional lands of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, and we are grateful for their ongoing partnership.
The evening began with heart-felt speeches from:
Chelsea Minhas, Director Clinical Services and Complex Care
“My hope is that this building fuels the fire in your soul [CHV staff and volunteers] to make a difference and that it provides the opportunities and spaces for you to do your best work. For you to engage with young people in meaningful ways. This work is not easy. And I hope that you find quiet moments to reflect and recharge in the special spots that we created just for you.”
Board member Wade Grant, Interim Chief of Staff, Musqueam Indian Band
“…there are so many people giving up their time to ensure that the lives of those that are homeless, that are at risk, are lifted up. And I say, it’s apropos that we’re here on National Indigenous Peoples Day, because, unfortunately, we make up less than 5% of the population in this country, but we make up almost 30% of those that seek out Covenant House services; something we need to obviously change. And I’ve seen that passion and the desire of the staff, the board of those that are in this room today that want to make that positive change…”
Krista Thompson, CEO Covenant House Vancouver
What excited me 16 years ago when I came here, remains true today. We have a vision of Covenant House at the centre of social change. We know that if we can show up in the right way at the right time in the arc of a young life, we can be part of healing, generational trauma, and poverty.
Kevin Ryan, President and CEO of Covenant House International
“You see what it means for young life to grow wings and to soar, and you all, you all make that possible. This building is beautiful. And it says to young people, yes you can. But… the real beauty is what will go on here with nurses and teachers and social workers and clinicians and volunteers and mentors and coaches, and everybody who inhabits this space wanting to give and receive unconditional love and absolute respect. That’s what this building will make possible.”
Following the speeches, guests were free to explore all of the spaces on self-guided tours.
Thank you to everyone who has rallied together and shown such relentless support for the youth that we serve. We could not do this work without you.