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Showing posts from October, 2019

Carson

“I firmly believe that Youth Unlimited saved ____’s life this past year.”

The world can be a dark, sad and isolating place. This summer, our team felt the blow of a life lost too soon. A young man, (kid, really), sucked into peer pressure, wanting to fit in, and tragically losing his life to an overdose. A young man who had so much life ahead of him. A young man who walked the halls of Walnut Grove Secondary School. Who rubbed shoulders with our staff. He was seen, he was known, yet he felt…unseen…unknown.

This is the story for so many youth. They want desperately to fit in and cry out in different ways to be seen. For some that’s acting out, for others that’s threats, for others that’s bullying and for others, that’s becoming a ‘yes man’, agreeing to anything for the sake of just a bit of recognition.

In the wake of this tragedy, our team received an email from a parent who felt the blows of this event. Not necessarily because she personally knew the student who had died, but because…

A Radical Stance

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Recently, a young man passed away in North Langley. He was 14 years old and he died of a drug overdose brought on by peer pressure. If you’re reading this around Metro Vancouver, it is likely you may have come across this news story as a lot of people were talking about it. The last time I saw him was this past July walking down 88th, as he was prone to do in the area. I was with our Gator Shades students getting a snack on the last day of the program and it got me thinking about him and actually reminded me of how excited I was to connect with him again in September.

When I first met him I told him that I would never forget his name because he shared my father’s name. The school had connected me with him in hopes that we could build relationship and I could become a trusted person for him. From then on I would regularly see him, say hi, walk with him in circles around the hallways (he tended to do that during most class times), or sit and chat with him while he was in detention or w…

Why I Work With Youth

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Serving alongside Jon this summer
This summer marked a really interesting time for me in my ministry.  I had the honor of being recognized for fifteen years of service with Youth Unlimited. Sometimes I’m asked about why I continue to work with teenagers, and sometimes I ask myself the same question (like after having to have ACL replacement surgery after a youth event last August). The answer comes from the fact that I was once a hurting, broken teen myself.  I fought through depression, suicidal threats and many complications in relationships.  I would have lost that fight had I not come to a point of encountering Jesus.  In Jesus, I found someone who was willing to walk with me through all of the hard times, and who showed me how to love those who were lost, broken and hurting. Through loving others, I found healing.  Years later, through this work, I am motivated to bring a little bit of that hope and healing into the lives of all the broken and hurting young people that cross my p…

Goodbye Summer

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Fall is a season of changes, some we might be anxiously anticipating and others might have us resigned to their inevitability. You might still be in denial, trying to squeeze out some extra summer! Then there’s those fall fanatics: binging on pumpkin spice lattes, breaking out their cardigans and Halloween decorations. If you are really keen (or Costco) you are probably already thinking about Christmas season. For me, the fall season typically means two things: endless raking of leaves and a return to routine.

This year, the fall brings more changes than usual. I have chosen to step out of a leadership role at Youth Unlimited and reduce my work hours in order to pursue a Master’s degree in Counselling. I have a couple classes to finish before I start this 2-year journey in January. I have come to realize that counselling is one of the strongest aspects of my ministry, but it is also the part that I am the most limited by in my education and professional credentials.

You might be wond…

One Night Out

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As the summer comes to a close, and things shift gear into the fall season, I felt it would be good to send out another update and let you all know a few things that have been going on, as well as a quick update on the summer.

This summer was a wild ride of ups and downs. I had the opportunity to take youth to do a lot of different things and feel like I definitely had my fill of slurpees. From the waterslides to a baseball game, we experienced a lot. Although fun happened, many of my days were also filled with sitting in the park having all sorts of different discussions with youth. Some were about hope, some about anxiety, making hard choices, dealing with loss and grief, and some about finding resources for difficult situations coming up in their lives. A few conversations were around trying to find housing or a safe place to stay for the night. There was a lot of uncertainty and fear so I am happy I could provide them with a listening ear to ease some of their burden.

One evening …

Changing Seasons

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As we move into the fall, we move into a new phase for the Langley Youth Unlimited team. This past winter saw a significant decrease in our funding. This led to a shift in staffing hours and caused us to refocus. As we took into account staff hours and the finances available to our team, we felt it was necessary to take a step back from how we had been doing things.

What does this mean?

As we go into the fall, we will be turning our focus primarily to our work in two Langley schools, working to build relationships with staff and students. By working in the schools, we are meeting youth where they are and entering into their day to day lives. This consistent presence helps to build up trust as these youth see our staff on a regular basis.

The relationships that begin at the school often grow into time outside of the school. Although these hangouts can often appear surface level and like way too much fun, they are actually necessary building blocks for deeper connections. In working si…