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Showing posts from January, 2020

January Prayer Requests

pray for Derian as he enters into his Masters program with City Universitypraise God for the support we received, enabling us to fill 13 Christmas hampers for families in need throughout our communitypray for our community and school partnerships

Back To School

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Day 1: “I can’t believe I’m back in school!”
Day 2: “I can’t believe how much homework I have!!”
Day 3: “I can’t believe I’m enjoying the classes as much as I am!!!”
Day 4: “I can’t believe how busy the Skytrain is on a snow day!!!!!!!”
Yes, my Master’s program has FINALLY started. At least that’s the way I feel, given I made this decision almost a year ago. A year is a lot of time to ruminate on a decision. A year is a lot of time to second guess yourself. By the time I was actually sitting in class I was probably on the slightly unhealthy side of over prepared.
Yes, I am also still with Youth Unlimited. I am writing this letter as I sit in our room at Walnut Grove Secondary School. This sacred space is often filled with laughter and joy and almost as equally filled with stories of struggle and pain. Today I might play Uno and debate the latest Stars Wars film. Or I might share my lunch with a youth who did not have one and listen to the very real pain behind their self-deprecating jokes.…

Picture This

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You walk through the front doors of a school. The floors have been freshly waxed, the windows are clean, and there is light shining through the window. You walk into the office, greet the office staff, sign the visitors sign in and collect your visitor badge that is needed to wander the school halls or be in the school. The students are all in class so before the stampede of a thousand children fill the halls, you say a quick prayer as you hustle down to the room where a games hub is held.
The bell rings and students stop by to say hello, or come in to the room to play games for the lunch hour. You sit down in an uncomfortable blue school chair to lose at a game of UNO. As you are playing UNO, the youth decide that yellow is the preferred colour today and even though no one has any yellow cards, they continue to change it to yellow. They chant the word “yellow” throughout the entire lunch hour and you join in because it is better to be part of the annoying group than to be annoyed by …

Uno & Hot Chocolate

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I thought I was pretty good at handling loud volumes and high pitch until I was surrounded by 8 teens chanting the word ‘yellow’ for half of the lunch hour. Every Thursday, our team along with a local youth pastor, open the doors of a classroom at a local high school for students who want a place to hang out to play games. We have a Wii set up, air hockey, colouring books and the ever-competitive card game of Uno. I often find myself settled at the Uno table and this particular week a student would try to turn the odds in her favour by chanting yellow whenever someone played a ‘change colour’ card. By the end of the lunch hour, the whole table was chanting (screaming, really) the word ‘yellow’ and my ears were ringing for the rest of the day.
Perhaps one of the greatest values that the team at Youth Unlimited shares is consistency. This consistency, of
being present in the school on a regular basis, is what shows youth that we want to be a part of their lives. That we want to show up …

"I Just Tried To Kill Myself"

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It was two days before Christmas break and my young friend, Taylor, (who’s had a rough go over the last couple of years) texted me first thing in the morning asking if I was going to be at the school. “Yup,” I replied, “I’ll see you soon.”

He had a small gift for me - a Starbucks card. Because every time we’re together I’m drinking a coffee. I’m always so blown away when teens show their thankfulness. Not long after, a few other teens rolled into our room to get comfortable and spend their flex block there. Taylor began looking uncomfortable at one point and started to cry. I assumed that another person in the room had triggered some memory of an incident so I moved myself across the room and sat on the couch next to him. He looked at me and said;

“I just tried to kill myself 5 minutes ago”.

I calmly responded, saying, ‘Okay, can you tell me how?’ to which he showed me an empty bottle of painkillers.

This young person wrestles heavily with their identity and dysphoria. Over Christmas…

A Shift In Perspective

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Our team was recently invited to attend a community forum in which different Langley organizations came together to collaborate on the topic of Youth Health and Wellness. Prior to this meeting, a youth forum had been held in which students were asked where they saw gaps within the community. Gaps that were possibly leading to substance use and disconnected youth. During this community meeting it was shared that one of the questions that had been asked by youth to the greater community was, ‘Why can’t you be more like Youth Unlimited?’.
This question came as a bit of a shock to our team. Many of you know that this past season has been a difficult one. A significant cut to our funding has led to staffing changes, reduced hours and pauses in our programs. Instead of being able to dream and plan, we have found ourselves in a time of maintenance and re-evaluating where we pour our time and energy. As we were in a season of pause and discernment, this question gave us great encouragement and…