Supporting youth through an equity-based approach 

Every young person’s experience and life is unique. That is why we use a one-size-fits-one approach, tailored to the specific needs of each individual youth. This helps to ensure that precise support and care are made available at the right time for youth, based on their respective journeys and specific needs. 

Covenant House Vancouver has been supporting 14 youth through their spiritual observations and practices this past month, during Ramadan. For Muslims, Ramadan is the holiest month and involves fasting, spiritual growth, introspection, and prayers. During this time, Muslims devote themselves to their faith and nourish their souls by abstaining from drinking or eating, from dusk until dawn. This is also a time where they engage in charitable actions, perform good deeds, spend time with family and loved ones, and practice compassion and patience. 

Fasts are traditionally broken with family and friends by sharing meals together. This is known as iftar. Being that many of our youth are disconnected from their families, our staff at CHV have held weekly iftar gatherings where food is brought in, and youth gather, during communal and traditional fast-breaking meals. The photos are of the beautifully decorated space, where youth gather for iftar and break their fast, sharing a meal, comradery, and some quality time with each other. 
Youth are supported with their new eating and sleeping schedules, as well as tangible items they may need to practice their faith, such as prayer beads and prayer rugs. Youth workers have been working closely with Kadee, our Spiritual Care Counsellor, who ensures that the youth have what they need to practice Ramadan in a way that feels right and works for them. From our incredible kitchen and facilities staff to all the youth workers and Kadee, it has been a multi-team effort to ensure that all the proper supports are in place for the youth who want to observe Ramadan. 

We talked to Kadee about how she has been supporting the youth during Ramadan and here is what she had to say, “I am very passionate about supporting our youth’s spiritual needs, in general, but have a special place in my heart for our Muslim youth. So many are disconnected from their families and communities, and I want CHV to be a hospitable, affirming place for them during an otherwise difficult season.” 

At CHV, our aim is to help youth find meaning and purpose in their lives, beyond just the daily survival skills they are used to. Our frontline team makes sure that we welcome, support, and nurture youth of all faiths and traditions. Providing whole-person care allows us to relentlessly support young people as we work to end youth homelessness and human trafficking