Do you know where you will be sleeping tonight? For many of us, the answer is simple. “Yes, in my bed”. But imagine what it might feel like to have to answer this question with “No”. This is the reality for a staggering number of Canadians, including 500 to 1,100 youth living on Vancouver’s streets any given night.
Canadian youth, specifically those aged 16 to 24, are confronted daily with immense challenges and often overwhelming adversity. Coupled with unavoidable physiological changes, they navigate a world of peer pressure, bullying, addiction, mental illness, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, often at the hands of trusted caregivers. Driven by fear and a lack of security, many escape to city streets with hopes of freedom and safety, only to find themselves re-victimized, alone, and scared.
Since opening its doors in 1997, Covenant House has provided a beacon of hope for Vancouver youth exposed to the elements. Outreach workers find them where they are, from alleyways to park benches, then plant a seed of trust by offering basic necessities and unconditional friendship. From there, with the support of over 130 volunteers and 50,000 donors, Covenant House encourages roots of hope by offering homeless youth a safe space. They are then given a chance to become part of a community that cares for them, invests in them, and ultimately supports them in transforming their lives.
The impact of this incredible organization is beyond words. It is seen in the newfound smile of a youth given a second chance, in the glimmer of hope bursting from the eyes of a young person learning to trust again. It is also found in the dedicated efforts of staff, volunteers, and generous donors, year after year. In 2019, this communal effort produced inspiring results:
Now, more than ever, amidst a global health crisis and rising tensions, our homeless youth must not be forgotten. Let’s come together this summer, from wherever we are, to support Covenant House Vancouver’s vital programs and show our youth that they matter too.
What you can do to support the Sleep Out and ensure that youth know we care:
If you’re registered to Sleep Out, make the night memorable:
Thank you for making a difference.
Written By: Zoë Tomichich
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