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The Nightmare...

“I can’t sleep.”

Billy mutter as he slumped by the office door way and held his hands to his head. It was 3:00AM and all of the residents had gone to bed.  It was not unusual for residents to have trouble sleeping.

“What’s going on?” Bob, one of the overnight staff asked as he invited Billy into the office for a seat.

Billy sat down and took a deep breath and sighed out.  “I had a nightmare and it was so intense it woke me up.” He took a moment to gather himself. Bob acknowledged this and asked if Billy was OK. “I’m shaken up…I saw my mom in the dream and I had not seen her since I came to Canada.” Billy was later asked if he there was any support that was needed. “Can I go outside for a smoke?” To allow Billy to have a smoke would bend the structure and rule around smoking after-hours but staff agreed that he would be allowed. Billy stood up and walked towards the door and paused despite having his answer. He took a deep breath and asked, “Can someone go with me?”

Bruce, who was also with them, made quick eye-contact with Bob. “Of course,” Bruce stood up from his chair and the two proceeded to go outside. About twenty minutes later, Billy and Bruce returned into the office and sat down. Billy appeared less anxious and happier. He took a relieved breath and began talking about the relationship he had with his mother and how they were separated. Billy later returned to his room and thanked staff for helping him calm down.

In the Crisis Program at Covenant House, there are many residents that come through our doors. Some stay for a week, some stay for a month. Despite being one of our five principles, structure can be stressful to many of the youth who access services. Staff must to be mindful of the stress that can be associated with their new environment. As the residents become more comfortable, workers begin to learn more about their story and their pasts. When our youth workers interact with the residents and learn, it’s a good reminder that their past trauma can haunt them. Whenever we are able to be flexible to support a struggling youth, it contributes to the heart of what youth workers at Covenant House do: Build Relationships!

Image of young man sleeping

Big thanks to Two Men and A Truck Moving Company

Two Men and A Truck has been a unique supporter of Covenant House Vancouver and our Sleep Out Movement. Our sleepers spend one evening on the street in support of homeless youth with only a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag. It’s Two Men and a Truck that provide us with the much needed cardboard.

It may seem like a simple thing but it is incredibly helpful to us and gives us the peace of mind that will always have cardboard ready for our sleepers. It not only saves us money but also valuable time.

Big thank you to Two Men and A Truck Moving Company who not only support our Sleep Out events in Vancouver but as a company they support the Sleep Out Movement across North America!

Dan McIntyre, General Manager and Scott Wattum, Operations Manager of Two Men and a Truck
In the photo: Dan McIntyre, General Manager and Scott Wattum, Operations Manager.

Two Men and a Truck Moving Company Logo  

2nd Annual Sleep Out: Mothers Edition Raises over $171,000!

Last night, 51 local Mothers slept outside in solidarity with the hundreds of young people who call Vancouver’s streets home, to raise funds for Covenant House Vancouver’s Street Outreach Program.  A fundraising event, the Mothers raised over $171,000 for our young people.

The evening began with the participants getting to know each other. They then toured our female Crisis Program and observed a panel discussion with three youth and two youth workers who helped our sleepers learn more about youth homelessness. After getting ready for “bed”, the Sleepers headed outside with just a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag. Unlike previous Sleep Out events which are held in November and February, the weather was considerably milder,  however the rain came in hard about 3:00 am.

After waking up this morning (many didn’t get much sleep), the participants took part in a group reflection exercise, and were asked to use one word to describe their experience. The words commonly expressed were gratitude, vulnerable, blessed, love, resilience and family. 

One of the Moms has a son who has accessed our services in the past and she was grateful for the opportunity to get a glimpse into what it must be like for our young people. Another sleeper commented that she couldn’t imagine sleeping outside and then getting up in the morning to look for a job or go to school, which is the case for many of our youth.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all of the Moms who garnered support from their friends and family and braved a night outside to raise money and awareness for our young people. 

Sleep Out: Mothers Edition 2017 Group Shot
Photo By: Rory Coomey
 

Sleep Out: Mothers Edition is tonight!

Covenant House is proud to welcome 50 brave women who, united in the spirit of motherhood, are committing to spend tonight on the street to support programs for homeless youth in Vancouver.  It’s about showing a group of young people that they are worthy of unconditional love and absolute respect, and proving that we care enough about them to be uncomfortable for one night; to be vulnerable so they can be safe.

Every dollar raised through the Sleep Out: Mothers Edition will help our  Outreach Team   connect with youth who are living on the streets and in need of immediate care. To learn more about Sleep Out: Mothers Edition or to support a participant please visit  the Sleep Out: Mothers Edition   website.

Be sure to join in the discussion on social media using the hash tag #CHSleepOut. Participants will be live tweeting, instagramming and sharing on Facebook their firsthand experiences sleeping outside. You can follow Covenant House Vancouver on Twitter  @CovenantHouseBC, on Facebook at  Covenant House Vancouver   and on Instagram  @covenanthousebc.

Thanks to all our “Sleepers” and their supporters!

Sleep Out: Mothers Edition

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