Our drop-in centre is open seven days a week, and we offer housing support, one-to-one counselling, laundry, internet services, food and clothing bank, and showers. I like the fact that we offer immediacy right away to youth that come in and show the respect and love to youth each day.
The health care clinic provides barrier-free healthcare services to youth experiencing homelessness and survivors of sex trafficking. One of the really unique things about our clinic is that we don't require ID or health coverage. Our health care team of nurses, doctors and psychiatrists create an environment, an atmosphere that is warm and inviting to all the youth who access our services.
Our youth crisis shelter is a space that's available to any youth ages 16 to 24. We allow for a safe space for the youth coming in off the street that don't have anywhere else to go.
If you think about a living room in your own house, when you have a group of people in that atmosphere and in that room, you can't help but to maybe let those walls down a little bit and through organic conversations just to begin to trust and be able to trust the process that staff are here to help.
Staff are here to meet those needs that you have. Other youth are here to connect with you. And I think that's the magic of the Great Hall.
One of the first things we ask a young person when they arrive to Covenant House seeking our support is, “Are you hungry?” When a young person doesn't know when their next meal is going to be, it provides a lot of anxiety and it's also a financial burden for them.
Therefore, when we provide three structured meals a day at a scheduled time for them and is healthy and nutritious, it allows them to focus on other things – Finding housing, finding a job, going back to school.
The sanctuary embraces all spiritual, religious and cultural backgrounds. It serves to nourish the spirit to prayer, meditation, mindfulness, awareness, yoga, sacred readings, and silence and solitude.
Recognizing the spiritual dimension of the youth helps them in the process of meaning-making, building a framework of hope and strength, and awakening and nurturing the sense that each and every one of them is precious worthy of peace, love and joy, and healing in their life. Meeting youth where they are, I seek support and nurture them in their process of healing.
The Rights of Passage program is Covenant House’s on-site longer-term transitional housing program for 28 youth between the ages of 16 to 24. The youth here work on their mental health, education and employment goals.
The school really takes pride in supporting our youth, meeting their academic goals at their own pace. And part of that support is providing those important social skills that allows them to have personal growth and move on to be independent human beings when they leave our school program.
We try to equip youth with different skills that will help them in their job search process, whether it's them just looking for a job or how to write a resume. Then once they obtain jobs and connect with employers, we want to make sure that they know that our job isn't done, that we want to continue to make ourselves available to whatever needs they may have to continue to support them.