Friends and Family
I want to express my sincere thanks to all of you. It is amazing to see my community come around me in support over these last two months.
This Christmas time was a different one for Kirstie and I as it was our first without my Mom. Although new and difficult territory for us, we are able to venture through it together. We are doing well and still very much adjusting. It is true what they say about holidays being a harder time without a loved one. Your support of myself and my family is still so greatly appreciated - thank you. Over this past while I have been able to be a part of some great things. It usually takes time to build up trust with teenagers, and since September I have been doing just that. As a reward, I am beginning to see openness and vulnerability.
For example, I had one girl open up to me while at the youth care workers room at Walnut Grove Secondary School. Prior to this, she was incredibly reserved and quiet, to the point where I was sure social anxieties contributed to her not being able to talk at all. We were able to talk and connect about her family, school, and life. As we were drawing on a white board together she went on to say, “this is the most fun I’m going to have all day”. This struck me in a few different ways. The first was that I was glad to have been able to bring a smile and joy to someone who had been having a rough week. Secondly, I realized that her comment was a loaded statement, knowing that school and home were places she couldn’t necessarily be herself.
At our after school art club, Art Addicts, I’ve had a number of great conversations with our youth. I have been getting to know them over the last few months and some are beginning to share their stories with me. I find myself equally heart broken and blown away at their strength. One student briefly opened up to me, sharing that Christmas is not a good time for him because he has to spend it with a family who disagrees with his choices and lifestyle. He would rather spend it working as much as possible. Having a space that fosters deeper growth and communication is such a blessing for us. It is a safe environment where we are able to practically intercede on their behalf. In this case, interceding looks as simple as being able to take him out for a meal to connect and give a glimpse about the positive aspects of the holiday season.
This is all the tip of the iceberg. By being involved at WGSS I am able to work alongside the counseling staff, be a part of a behavioral boys safety group, and connect with new faces every lunch hour.
Working with the team at Langley Youth Unlimited allows me to be where the students are at - in their schools, out for lunches with them, at the movies. This affords me opportunities to invest positively in their lives. There’s a lot of hurt and pain in our youth, but also great joy in being able to see them make positive decisions and changes in their lives.
That’s all for now, thanks for journeying with me.
- Jon Pue