Boy standing outside with a serious expression on his face.

When Adam moved from our crisis shelter to our CIBC Rights of Passage program, it had been two years since he last spoke in full sentences. He could communicate, but he wouldn’t say more than a word or two.

One day, his youth worker Genieve accompanied him on an appointment in the community. Like usual, he was quiet. Instead of asking him questions about himself, she tried something different.

"I asked Adam if he wanted to ask me anything to get to know me better," explained Genieve. "After some time, he asked me two questions. He wanted to know what age I was when I started talking and if there was ever a moment in my life that I stopped talking for a period of time.”

They connected over the fact that Genieve didn’t speak until she was four years old. By sharing a part of her private life with Adam, he began to open up.

Soon, he found his voice. Adam advocated for himself to extend his stay so he could finish high school at Covenant House. He excelled in computer science and was proud to share that he received an award for his marks. We held a celebration for his award and his high school graduation.

Adam also joined our mentorship program and gained a mentor who encouraged him to take care of his mind and body. They went to the gym together regularly. To this day, they stay in touch.

Since moving out, Adam lives on his own in the community and often connects with Genieve to let her know how he is doing. He’s thinking about pursuing a career in computer science or engineering. With his new voice and the positive relationships he has built, the future for Adam has so many possibilities.