Day in the life of Kendra Sandy, a Youth In Transition (YIT) worker

Our Youth in Transition (YIT) program sets youth up for success and provides support to young people as they move from the shelter and transition to independent community living. The non-judgmental, individualized and intensive support is provided by specialized youth workers who help youth to identify and navigate any challenges in their lives as they learn to live on their own and make sure each young person knows they are not facing their challenges alone.  

Covenant House staff Kendra Sandy has spent seven years as a YIT worker, and now oversees the team. From her perspective, the job is about stepping in to help youth identify and work through any hurdles a young person may run into while learning to live on their own. Her goal, she says, is to build trusting relationships with youth so they feel confident and supported in paving their own path towards a brighter future.  

“I don’t want to be just another worker in a young person’s life, so I typically say that I’m a mentor, a friend,” said Kendra. “A major part of our job is to help young people take back control of their lives through the creation of positive structure.” 

Kendra’s typical day:  

  • 8:30am – Prepare for the day’s meetings. 
  • 9am – Go to the grocery store with a youth and to help them make choices that support their health and their budget. 
  • 10:15am – Head out to visit another youth who just moved to a new area – take them on the tour of their neighbourhood so they know what resources are available to them. 
  • 12pm – Short break for lunch between visits. 
  • 12:15pm – Arrival at a youth’s apartment that is part of our “scattered site” housing program to do a unit check and see if there are any issues. “Checking the fridge is a good indicator of how things are going with a young person. If they have a lack of groceries, then it shows us that maybe this is somewhere we need to step in,” Kendra says.  
  • 2pm – Drive to the northern part of Toronto to help a youth get to know the community around their new apartment. “Some of the things that I tell a youth to look for when they move into a community are a grocery store, pharmacy, bank and what leisure activities they can do in that area.”  
  • 3:30 pm - On to meet up with another youth – good conversation about their lives as they do their laundry at a local laundromat – help them with that routine. 
  • 5:00pm – “So now I’m in the office preparing for my day tomorrow. I have a meet and greet with a young person who is new to the YIT program.” 
  • 7pm – Meet a youth at a bus station to give them some supplies, then head home.  

Kendra believes that without the YIT program, a lot of youth would return to homelessness and the shelter system.  

“The support we provide through YIT is so important because without it, many youth would not be able to successfully adjust to independent living.”