A career that came full circle

Bruce Rivers, Executive Director of Covenant House Toronto

Over forty years ago, Bruce began his career as a youth worker with the Children’s Aid Society. He then worked his way up into leadership positions in both the non-profit and government sector. When he joined the Covenant House team, it felt like coming home:

“One of the things that’s been incredible about my current role is that it’s like going back to my roots as a youth worker.”

Every single day that Bruce walks in the doors of Covenant House, he is reminded of the difference the organization makes in the lives of young people. “That’s what this work is all about: helping youth strive for and reach their full potential.”

Covenant House highlights

Over the last eight years, Bruce has championed supported housing models that help youth move beyond crisis beds to longer term solutions. This has led to 57 apartments in the community (with a long-term goal of 100), and the development of the Avdell Home and the Rogers Home.

Another accomplishment has been Covenant House’s work to combat sex trafficking. By identifying and then acting on this urgent issue, Bruce has guided the development of an innovative anti-trafficking awareness program, as well as in-house shelter supports.

Bruce has always seen “teamwork as incredibly powerful and essential.” With this in mind, he has worked to strengthen government partnerships alongside honouring longstanding donors. Covenant House is even stronger now thanks to this diverse funding base.

Throughout all of these achievements, it is Bruce’s compassion that makes him a unique leader. Youth always feel cared for in his presence. And Bruce has led the way in understanding trauma, valuing each youth’s potential, and mentoring young people in the transition to independence. This approach has enhanced the model of care at Covenant House.

It takes a village

Bruce will leave behind a special connection with and appreciation for Covenant House’s many donors.

“I’ve learned a great deal from donors like you, and I respect you in a significant way: the supports you provide are real and life-changing. Every time I come to work I see this firsthand. We are building a community of support around these kids, and this would not happen without your generosity.”

Bruce is confident that the talented staff team and board leadership will continue to focus on accountability and measurement so that donors can see how their support is helping young people. The great thing about Covenant House, Bruce notes, is that “this mission touches both hearts and heads.”

Given his dedication to the youth we serve, this summer we won’t say good-bye to Bruce for good:

“I’ll continue to be a supporter of Covenant House and remain involved in the organization in different ways.”