These uncertain times have meant learning a whole new way to support youth. Everton, one of our Youth in Transition (YIT) and Housing workers, explains what this looks like in his day-to-day job.
The YIT and Housing program works with youth in the community who stayed at Covenant House and have transitioned to independence. Before the pandemic, Everton and his team would go on home visits, help youth move to their new apartments, meet in-person for monthly check-ins and organize activities in the community.
Now, all that has changed.
“We want to lead by example through social and physical distancing. By taking this measure, we hope our youth will use this approach to keep safe from the spread of COVID-19,” explains Everton.
Despite this shift, Everton remains committed to supporting youth during such a trying time.
Everton regularly connects with the youth he supports by email or phone. He gives them a safe space to ask questions about the pandemic. He also provides advice on employment and finances – whatever the young person needs to feel supported.
Before the pandemic, Everton regularly promoted physical fitness for the youth. He, along with other youth workers, held sports classes and took the youth to off-site fitness classes, obstacle races and field trips.
Everton knows that maintaining physical and mental health isn’t the easiest thing to do right now. However, he is determined to let youth know there are still options, even while practicing physical distancing. Here are some of his tips:
- Encouraging youth to go out for a walk, run or cycle, at a reasonable distance.
- Giving them access to free virtual fitness classes, hosted by One Academy.
- Practicing meditation and mindfulness.
- Sending YouTube videos of full-body workouts and yoga stretches.
“It all comes down to vital practices and self-discipline. These kinds of steps are key for maintaining physical and mental well-being,” Everton emphasizes.
By continuing to stay connected with youth, checking in with them and assuring them that Covenant House is there for them, Everton is hopeful that our youth will feel supported and cared for.