YSM care managers are vital in establishing a connection with our community members and in creating the trust required to support them on their unique journey towards stability.
A care manager at YSM’s Evergreen Centre for Street-Involved Youth recently shared her experience with a young community member named Aisha*:
“I met with a young woman to support her with her housing needs. When I greeted her in the drop-in at Evergreen, you could visibly see she was in distress: the tears were flowing, her body was tense, she had a low voice, little to no eye contact, and she was fidgety.
When we sat down to complete her program intake, I asked her a series of questions, one of which made her break down, so we paused the intake. A few moments later, I asked her if I could give her a hug; she said yes. When I embraced her, the tears and pain she was trying to bury were released. She apologized, and I replied that there was no need to be sorry. Once she was able to catch her breath, we did a breathing exercise while I still embraced her. Shortly after, she was ready to continue the intake process.
During our meeting, she disclosed that she used to do counseling but unfortunately had to stop due to her current financial hardship. I informed her that if it’s something she’s interested in doing again, I would put in a referral for her to receive free counseling services at Evergreen, and she agreed. She also requested that, if possible, she receive support from a woman of color. I advised her that we do have black female counselors, and that I would request that she receive support from one of them. We also discussed the possibility of having to store her belongings, and I told her that if that was necessary, I could assist, as could a male co-worker who works in our Drop-In Centre.
Once we completed our meeting, we went up to Drop-In and had lunch together. While we were eating, she met Jason and the staff that I’d mentioned who could support her with a possible move. I was then able to introduce her to a counselor, and they were able to connect.”
Aisha’s story illustrates the beginning of a journey of resilience supported by YSM’s committed care managers and counselors.
Through the collaboration of so many dedicated staff, volunteers, and generous supporters like yourself, we can be here to continue helping youth like Aisha heal, get back on their feet, and learn how to soon thrive as they achieve their life goals.
*Name and photo changed to respect the privacy of the community member.
Feeling inspired? We’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to “the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . .
What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at ysm.ca/GIVE6IX.