It is that time of year where we all make lists of back to school supplies and lists of tasks we need to complete so that our kids are ready for school. Most of our lists look like this:
- Lunch bag
- Pencil case
- Pens, pencils, coloured pencils
- School shoes and clothes
- Sign all medical and registration forms
- Register for bus route
Now imagine if your list also included:
- Figure out how to pay for transit
- Explain to the school that you don’t have a parent to sign your forms
- Find someone to pay for activity fees
- Find a place to live so that you have an address to actually put on the forms
- Hope nobody spots that your shoes are worn through and your clothes are just as worn out and don’t fit
That is what the list looks like for so many of our youth living on the street or moving around from couch to couch. Now add the stress that the second list also has attached to it and it certainly isn’t a recipe for success. The challenge is to succeed in spite of the odds being against you.
33 years ago, YWS was created by a caring and committed group of teachers and guidance counsellors who recognized the need for shelter for so many of the students they worked with. In one way, our foundations were built on education. We recognize the same thing those courageous people did, without support and stability the odds are stacked against your opportunity to be successful. This is why we at YWS work hard every day to provide the environment that can support the success of those persons who have no place to call home. Everyone deserves to have someone meet them as they come home, who asks how your day was, how school was today, for a safe place to do homework with the basic supplies needed to compete in today’s challenging and tech savvy education system.
As you work with your kids this August getting them ready to go back to school, enjoy every minute of it. Instill in your children an appreciation for what they have (and not just the material things). Instill an appreciation for a safe and supportive place to live. What an outstanding opportunity for you to sit with your kids and visit our website so that you can explore the opportunities that exist to support our residents in their quest to make their lives better. Show them that we can all make a difference in the lives of others. Even though our kids may not always listen to us, they most certainly always watch us. You have the chance to teach the first lesson of this school year.