Jon's November Update
|Lighting candles to represent our struggles at Spiritual Life|
“Hey, can we talk? I knew you’d be here and my teacher said it was okay if I came to see you.”
I heard this just the other day while at Walnut Grove Secondary School. As I thought back on it, I realized a few things. Firstly, I have been fully accepted into this school by the staff and teachers.
Secondly, it tells me that my time invested and my continual presence is paying off.
With spending full days at the school, I figured I’d have time to book some fundraising appointments, work and plan our Spiritual Life program, or prep tasks for our Lifeteams interns and so on, but this has not been the case! I am seldom in my room for more than ten minutes before I’m met by either a student dropping in to talk, a counsellor wanting to connect me with a student having a hard time, or a principal needing extra support with an extremely difficult student. I’m blown away by the acceptance I have experienced from the students and the staff and I trust that the best is still yet to come
Consistent time and presence there has opened up so many opportunities for me to invest further. I am finding that by providing emotional, relational, and practical support for students, teachers or staff are beginning to drop in to just quickly unload what is on their minds, and I have the opportunity to encourage them.
“Hey, thanks for listening to me”.
I hear that phrase daily at the school and it reminds me to stand beside those that may not have anyone else stand by them. To listen when parents won’t, or when friends are few. To help and to serve.
After school, these connections continue with students who are talking of suicide or contemplating self-harm and cutting. It can lead to deeper conversations about the root of these issues, and sometimes brings me to a place where I just get to be a friend for someone who has none. I am exactly where I need to be.
Working four days a week has me taking on a lot more responsibility. Besides my expanded time in the schools and my one on one times of mentoring and providing support, I have taken over direction of our Spiritual Life program. This happens on Wednesday evenings after Creative Life (our after school art program) and our Community Meal. It’s a time to talk about faith and larger issues while building a sense of community together. I have been so impressed by the level of conversations that have been reached or started here and am looking forward to pressing in further as we go on.
I have also begun supervising and teaching interns who are interested in community youth work through Youth Unlimited’s Lifeteams school. This has been an awesome challenge for me as it forces me to explain and teach the things I do naturally. Once I am fully credentialed through YFC, this will be something that I would love to continue doing in the years to come.
As of right now, I am at 80% time and need to make that push to working at 100% time. With all that I’m doing, I simply cannot fit it into 32 hours a week and continually find myself working 40+ hours. Come the New Year, I am hoping to make that final push to full time hours. To do that we need to bring in an additional $600 in monthly support. If you know people you can put me in contact with, please let me know. If you are on the fence about monthly support - let’s chat! Let me tell you more. Even if 10 of my monthly partners decided to increase, it could get me close to that mark.
On a personal side of things, Kirstie and I are doing well. Often times our schedules between random youth work hours and shift work can result in us missing each other at home. The time we get together we make count and have fun with each other, as well as with our friends and families. We are also very happy to announce that we are expecting a child come May 2017! We are both very excited and eager to welcome a new addition to our home and a child into this awesome and crazy life we have!
Finally, I just want to say that you all enable me to do this important and needed work. Thank you! And thank you for being a network of support for Kirstie and I - we truly value having you all in our corner.
- Jon Pue