A young man came into the shelter for the first time, wanting to stay with us but was torn because he knew someone who worked here as a cook he didn’t want her to know that he was here. He said that she was somebody that he used to really look up to and she took him under her wing at some point prior to working here and he was concerned about coming in.
At first he wouldn’t say why he didn’t want her to know he was here and staff wondered if there had been some trouble. However, he eventually told us that he was embarrassed; he didn’t want the cook to know that he was here because he felt that she would be disappointed in him. So we explained to him that when youth come to us, we enter into a Covenant which includes confidentiality; we respect everybody for whatever reason it is that they’re here, and accept them with unconditional love. And nothing leaves the walls of Covenant House.
He hummed and hawed about it for a little while and said, “You know what? I’m going to stay for a day and think about it”. He hesitated to stay because he didn’t want to bump into the cook so we arranged for her to work at our Pender building the next day (she was very understanding) it.
He came to the realization that he is comfortable being in the same environment with someone he was initially apprehensive about seeing. It was amazing to see this youth come in nervous and worried but yet still willing to ask for help and deciding to stay. So, I think it was a job well done on everybody’s part – the cook’s and the staff here and the youth as well.
Our kitchen staff are an important part of life at Covenant House, not only nurturing our young people with food but with their kind and gentle presence. Pictured below are (left to right): Andrzej, Robbie and Freeman.