The last year has been hard for Jay. He’s always balancing the uncertainty of his dad’s on and off addiction and with rent on the rise, the unsettling threat of eviction . Just before the holidays, his grandma passed away. They shared a special relationship. She was a rock of stability in his life.
Jay is one of our most regular attenders at The Vault Youth Centre, and he has the biggest heart of gold. If anyone has the potential to become a thriving servant leader, it's Jay.
When he lost his grandma, The Vault remained a stable and safe community for him, but he quickly started finding excuses to skip out on school. He could be found wandering the mall when he should have been in school. If he went to class, it wasn’t for the whole day. He had so much going on, he felt like school wasn’t important.
One of our volunteers told Jay “If your going to be here at The Vault, and help with events, we expect you to be at school.” With some nudging from the principal and help from his guidance counsellor, Jay can proudly proclaim he’s back at school.
I recently shared a conversation with him asking how school was going. “Good!” he said,
“I went to school from start to finish every day this week! I’m doing better, my next goal is three straight weeks, and I got 100% on my last math quiz!
” I told him how proud I was of him and that three weeks will be a breeze. I asked him to give me 5 words describing how he felt about his accomplishment.
“Good, awesome, great, excited… powerful”
In 9 years of working with youth I can’t recall a time a student has used the word ‘powerful’. Its a rare thing to face adversity and feel powerful. The Vault Youth Centre is only one piece of the puzzle. But I believe, that for our youth, it's an essential piece that gives them a fighting chance to cope with the stresses of life.