Many of our kids have never heard the words “I’m proud of you,” or “way to go” or had a pat on the back. But Karen McGavin, Covenant House community support services manager, is changing that with a simple wall in her office that has quickly become the “fridge door” for many youth.
The “wall” started when Karen repeatedly tried to get one of her youth to attend school. Her persistence would eventually pay off when, one day, he came to her office to show off his acceptance letter to university. But he had no one to frame it or hang it up. It was then that Karen decided she would display it on her office wall.
Now, when the youth visits, he smiles (and boasts a little) when he sees his framed letter.
Other kids noticed Karen’s wall and wanted their achievements – photos, pictures, certificates – displayed on it, too.
“Once kids find out about the ‘wall’, they seem eager to start working, or work even harder, towards their goals,” says Karen. “One youth, who is currently completing a certificate, keeps reminding me that, ‘it’s coming!’ because she wants it displayed on the ‘wall’. It’s a great motivation tool.”
Word about Karen’s wall has spread quickly among staff, who have also started displaying youths’ achievements on their office walls.
Karen hopes to eventually fill her entire wall with kids’ accomplishments so they know someone is proud of them and that they always have a “fridge door” where they can display their achievements.