My Reasons Why
I am sleeping outside again this year to raise money to help prevent youth homelessness. And I know some of you are thinking, “How does one prevent youth homelessness?”
The answer to that question is, I don’t really know. I have been a full time community youth worker for 6 years, and before that I was part time and volunteering with youth in the community. The thing is, the system that we all follow isn’t really designed for vulnerable and lower income youth to get ahead. It can be very frustrating. The cost of living is outrageous for a youth in a minimum wage job and it is very difficult for people to apply for subsidies or bursaries. There are job share programs and educational programs but they can be difficult to motivate youth to go to and it can be hard to get them into these programs.
I do know it is complicated. I have tried many things to motivate youth to get ahead, but when you are starting at the bottom of a pit it can be hard to see the light and get to a place where you feel you are stable enough to begin the journey of healing.
The last few years I have sent you updates on a youth I have been working with for quite some time. The first year I was writing to you was the first week that I had to take them to a youth shelter after being kicked out of their home. The thing is, this youth has had to go through the ringer. There is no simple fix for their problems and there is no simple fix for their housing instability. I wish I could write to you and say “Yeah! It all worked out now! They are doing well and living a healthy and worry free life!” but I am not sure that will be the case for them for a long while still.
I have another youth that is a young adult; They have turned 19 this year and are currently living on their ex’s couch. I have a youth that was homeless and had found housing but I haven’t heard from in a year. I have a youth that was using substances and living on the street, but they have now stopped using substances and have some opportunities for a fresh start. And I had another young friend overdose and pass away two weeks ago.
So really, how does one prevent youth homelessness? People will say “studies show that if there is just one caring adult in the life of a vulnerable youth, they have a 70% chance of flourishing”, I do know the difference one person can make but in these circumstances I sure hope the studies are true. I have been here, and this last year has been hard but I know that there is hope. People do come out on the other side. People do get out of that pit, and make it to ground level to start their lives. I have seen it time and time again. It takes a lot of time and patience. Sometimes it feels like more time or patience than I have in me, but I know that I don’t have to do things alone.
So if you pray, please join me in praying for the youth, their families, and their situations. Please take a moment to be grateful for your warm bed at night, and the safety you experience. And if you want a new perspective on the challenges these youth face, please consider sleeping outside with me and the Langley team on November 19.
As always, I am really thankful to have you thinking of me/ praying for me and my youth. Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me through these difficult times. I am forever grateful for you and the support that you provide me. Thanks for all you do.
- Amy Seiler