Adventure or Reality?
Our students have been loving Pokémon Club on Wednesdays!
The open sign of the coffee shop flips to closed. You open the door and take a step outside. The air is cold and damp as you walk through the dark parking lot. You can start to feel the familiar sensation of the cold nipping at your face; your cheeks and nose tingle. It starts to rain. The water seeps through your clothes while you try to find somewhere with an overhang or cover to stop for a moment. You can feel the moisture on your skin through all of the layers of clothing. The wind is unkind and unforgiving as it blows the small droplets of water into your eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. The pace of steps increase as the attempt at finding shelter from the weather becomes more of a need. The summer days have now passed, and with every gust of wind you are reminded of this; the cold does not let you forget.
After walking for a short while, you see somewhere that might serve as a temporary shelter…It can serve as a shelter for you. Turn to page 17. The option is too unsafe. Choose to keep walking. Turn to page 6.
So how does this story end? This hasn’t happened before and it wasn’t planned or expected, so what options do you really have? Do you couch surf for a few days, weeks, or months? Is there a shelter nearby? Is there a phone that you can find to call a trusted friend? What supportive people do you have in your life that you can call?
Unfortunately, this is not a choose your own adventure story. This is the reality for thousands of people in the province of British Columbia and across Canada. We have all experienced the cold and the very damp winters that come with living or visiting the Lower Mainland. Most of us are all too familiar with these feelings, and when we close our eyes and reminisce, I am sure some of us can even feel it even now as we think about it. Many of us are lucky enough to have a way out, a cozy spot, or a place to call home.
So what happened to J from last year? Last year around this time I told you about a young person that I was working with that was experiencing episodic homelessness. I wish I could tell you that we slapped a Band-Aid on the problem and it has been completely resolved, but unfortunately that is not the way life works. There is much more complexity to the situation, and there is still a long way to go. The thing is, I still get phones calls asking about safe places to stay. It is because of these ongoing situations that I am once again participating in a fundraiser where I sleep outside to fundraise money for my young friends and the resources that they need to be safe in times of uncertain situations. It looks a little different this year with the new protocols, but I will be sleeping outside to prevent youth homelessness on December 4, 2020. If you would like to participate in this event, or would like to make a donation please check out the info for YUNite Outside by visiting youthunlimited.com/yunite (or make a donation when eating at your favorite JRG restaurant).
Thank you so much for your ongoing support and prayers. Please keep J and my many other young friends in your prayers as the weather changes and they are put in undesirable situations.
- Amy Seiler