Left in Pieces

Some words I have heard from the youth:

“I don’t really have anywhere else I can be myself but here”

“Why do you guys care about me so much? I’m not worth it.”

“This is the only place I feel safe.”

Having now been working for Youth Unlimited for 8 months, I can honestly say it is the most difficult and yet most rewarding place I have ever been a part of. You are challenged - emotionally, physically, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually. You are confided in, questions are posed to you from youth and staff that leave you examining your entire life (thank you Danny), and your whole world can be turned upside down as things that have been hidden for so long inside you finally begin to rise to the surface. Working with youth and hearing their stories can leave you raw. Some months you don’t see any progress and then out of nowhere, youth you have been praying for and seen people pour into finally begin to open up in ways you would have never hoped for or imagined.

The people you work…

Family - Large & Small

Happy New Year Friends and Family!

I hope the holidays have treated you all well and you were able to enter into the new year surrounded by loved ones and ready for whatever 2019 will bring you.

For my small family, we enjoyed our Christmas season with family, friends and a quick trip to the island to visit some dear friends of ours. Roland is in full toddler mode and we are having a blast with his constant new discoveries and words and find ourselves laughing with him everyday with his big personality. For Kirstie, she is heading into a couple months of schooling to complete her emergency specialty program. This will be the first time in our relationship that we wont have shift work in our lives! Pretty exciting for us as we’ll get to experience a different normal.

For my bigger family with our teens here in Langley, Christmas season can be a tough time because unlike a lot you reading this, family isn’t always the best or safest place for them. I think especially of a young friend …

Worthy of Love

Working in a team can be tough yet so rewarding. With Youth Unlimited, you are working alongside staff who have the same passion and goals in mind - that is to love youth, see the best in their lives and introduce them to Jesus. It is very rare that we get to see stories fully through with youth; often small parts of their lives fall through the cracks. As a team ,we debrief after our Wednesday programs. We talk about the night and share any highlights and low moments from the evening. Just before Christmas, a couple of us put together the pieces of a beautiful story that came about throughout that particular evening. If it wasn’t’ for us sitting down after to look back at the night, we would have never seen the story come to life that brought many of us to tears.

This story is about a girl named Holly (name has been changed). She has been going through a lot of mental health issues as well as expressing to us multiple times the lack of love and friends she has. She comes regularly t…

There's No Place Like Home

Perhaps Dorothy said it best when she clicked her ruby red heels together and said, “There is no place like home.”  In the real world though, there are no magic shoes that can whisk someone back to a place of comfort and safety. For many of the youth I meet, their house is not a home.  Not really.  As I’m writing this I am thinking about some of the situations I’ve been in the front row for. 

•   The girl who was sexually assaulted by her adoptive father
•   The young man who frequently called the ambulance for his
mother after her overdoses
•   The youth whose first memories were a parent screaming hateful word at them.

Because of you, we are able to be present in these messy situations and be the family these youth have never experienced.  A young person I worked with years ago recently sent me a message for my birthday:

“[What you did as a youth worker] meant the world to lonely 16-year old me.  It always reminded me that no matter how alone I felt, I always had people who loved m…

Happy New Year!

September is a Youth Worker’s new year. With schools starting back up, programs to plan and launch, and relationships to rekindle after the summer months- it has been a busy time. Let me share with you a little of what my new year in Langley looks like!

The new year has brought lots of change to our team structure and programs. To ensure that I am experiencing and learning all that I can in my apprenticeship year, I am going to be working for the rest of the year at R.E Mountain Secondary School and will be supervised by Derian, who has been doing youth work for almost 20 years and also played a huge role in my Lifeteams year. I can’t wait to get connected at Mountain and to watch and learn from Derian!

To ensure that relationships are stewarded well with students and that I have adequate time to complete the credentialing process, my apprenticeship has been extended to the end of this school year (June 2019). At this time I am still discerning where I am to be next, but am excited t…

With All My Heart...

As many of you know, Youth Unlimited partners with local schools in the area they are working in order to provide extra support for students. One of the benefits of being partnered with schools is that we get to be there during school hours and sometimes have the opportunity to do presentations in classes.

One of the presentations that we have the opportunity to do, that we are often asked to come back and present year after year, is a presentation about choices we make in our everyday lives. We give students the opportunity to answer questions anonymously by writing their answer on a sheet of paper. We show a few different video clips throughout the presentation while they write down their answers, then collect all of their answers into a container and share them with the class.

What is your biggest problem you are facing today?

Every youth answers this question in a different way.

“I don’t know what to do about my faith. One of my parents is Christian and the other is Catholic. I a…

A Look Into Summer

“Wait you still work in the summer?” That is a question I get a lot. At times, I wish we did have summer vacation like those that work in the schools. However, I get the opportunity to meet kids whenever and wherever because of their freedom from school! To name a few things from this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to ride the rides at playland till I felt sick, thrift and find a cool dinosaur ladle for an excited youth and visit the local pool with some girls trying to escape the heat! The thing I love about summer, although it can be difficult at times, is the change in scenery and pace we get to do things. The end of the school year brings excitement and a need for change. Summer so often comes at just the right time.

One of my favourite things we get to participate in is Gatorshades. You might have heard about it before as this is my 4th summer being a part of it. To give a brief summary, Gatorshades is a program held at Walnut Grove Secondary School (WGSS) during the summer fo…