By Judah, youth worker at Covenant House Toronto

When I first met Trevor at the shelter, he struggled with his mental health and was having a hard time adjusting. His mother also had mental health issues, which sometimes caused the family to lose their housing. When they could not stay in a family shelter together, Trevor came to Covenant House. He was shy and withdrawn, mostly keeping to himself.

As a youth worker, it is all about fostering strong relationships with youth. With Trevor, this happened through music.

One afternoon, Trevor was sitting at the piano in the living space of our shelter, playing a few keys. I sat down and started teaching him an easy song. He was enthusiastic and motivated to learn. I knew I’d hit the right note.

Days later, I heard that Trevor was looking for me. He’d spent the entire weekend practicing the song and wanted me to listen to him play. As I sat with him at the piano, I could see how important this was to him. I could tell he felt good about his accomplishment.

I still think about how our connection was built over a song. These special moments are quick and unexpected, but the impact can be long-lasting for many of the young people who stay with us.