H.D. Stafford

Sharing on love during Spiritual Life

  Since January I have been at H.D. Stafford Middle School in Langley. Three years ago I had the privilege of starting a weekly sports night at Stafford, and I have been driving for a hockey program for them on a weekly basis, therefore the territory was familiar. Nonetheless, it has been an adjustment moving from the high school into the middle school. The opportunities here are immense. They are asking me to reach out to my network in order to find people who want to run afterschool programs for the youth. Thus far I have been able to start a board games club. I will potentially be helping in classrooms or with the youth that are particularly vulnerable. As of right now I spend four days a week at Stafford during lunch period. In this time I bring a game or a fun activity and I use it as a bridge to conversations with students.  I have been able to connect with the students which are in the lunch program and many of them play on the PUCKS hockey team that I drive for. The staff are extremely welcoming and open to any ideas I have in order to facilitate positive connections for the youth. I’m excited about the new opportunities here and it allows me to intercede in the youth’s lives earlier on. Already in the four years I have volunteered and worked for Youth Unlimited I have seen the benefit of knowing the youth at a younger age. Though the adjustment at first very was difficult for me I have seen how I can be used more in a positive way in this community.

  This year the PUCKS program had some alterations. Normally I am involved in the program because there are girls on the team and they need assistance in the dressing room and so forth. But no girls ended up playing and I had a hard time finding my place in helping because I was just the bus driver. Mulling it over with my supervisor we debated my involvement in the program because he was helping as well. That was until all the hockey boys who are in the lunch program found out I would be hanging out at their school almost every day. Thanks to the connections I had made with all the boys through the hockey program I was able to meet more students that they were friends with. My transition into Stafford with the youth was made easy and I am able to grow deeper connections with the boys on the team. This week is our last week of PUCKS but they are already asking for our commitment next year. The great thing about PUCKS is it not only focuses on youth gaining skills in hockey but also skills in life through teamwork and determination. This year the majority of the team are refugees from Syria and Iraq. It’s awesome to be a part of how our country has welcomed those who are in need and having them participate in something so Canadian as hockey. Though sometimes they can just be rowdy twelve year old boys I am often reminded of the serious events these boys have lived through. Pucks on three, family on six!

- Rachel Tapp


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