When a youth first comes to us, their journey towards a life with a future begins. On Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, consider a gift that changes the course of a young person’s life. Giving Tuesday is an invitation to Canadians to give a gift to a worthy cause. It follows the shopping frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
For Covenant House, Giving Tuesday will be a day just like any other. But here in this place, every day can be life-changing, especially if it’s a kid’s first. Your gift makes this change possible.
Life on the street is terrifying for kids. They dread that their next meal won’t come, the weather will turn, and they will be robbed, attacked or exploited. These daily fears are real and constant. Then there is the despair. They ask themselves, is this my life forever? Afraid, alone, forgotten? Kids come to us weary, their bodies aching from tension and their minds wracked with continuous panic.
If you are a kid on the street, you cannot find a way forward without seeking help. But who do you trust? When a kid is desperate and so many of the adults in their lives have betrayed them, they don’t come to our doors with trust and openness. We have to earn it and we work hard to do so.
Their first 24 hours at Covenant House are critical. Youth are welcomed at our intake desk. When a worker sits with them, they are asked if they are hungry, need medical attention or would like a hot shower. Their worries are carefully addressed and their questions are answered. Our intake area has a small kitchen, showers and a quiet place to relax before joining other youth in the shelter.
Once they have their basic needs met, youth will often start to open up to our staff and tell their stories. Our youth workers explain to them that they have opportunities to create a hopeful future, through education, job training or employment.
Imagine the powerful realization for these kids that felt abandoned and lost on the street—there is a place with people who really care about you. They will give you hot meals, a safe bed and clean clothes. And they help you map the path to a fulfilling life off the street. The chance for a better future that once seemed impossible, feels like it is within your reach.
One day at Covenant House is an extraordinary gift for a homeless young person looking for hope. A donation on Giving Tuesday may cover a day of meals or a fresh set of clothes, but it is so much more than that. It is the promise of a new beginning.