Do you remember your first job?
That feeling you had when you received your first pay cheque?
I was recently reminded of that moment when I dropped Jen off at her home and she yelled out to her boyfriend, “Hey hon, I’m working now and I have money!” Jen had just finished helping serve at our new Café Connect for a Dessert Night. Jen is normally busy taking care of her child, however, she took some time away so that she could earn a little extra spending money. Having no previous work experience, she was thrilled to be able to serve at Café Connect with our staff whom she was already very familiar with. She received some training and then went straight to work.
I was so impressed to see her put her best effort into the job. I could see by her face she was feeling fulfilled in the work she was doing. The social label she was wearing was beginning to decrease as her pride in work increased. She was making money to provide for her own needs.
Several rewarding moments occurred during this opportunity. One was to see this young woman go from saying “I feel alone and really don’t have many friends that support me” to “I love this! When can I work again?” Another was to learn that she was working to save up enough money to buy a bus ticket so that she could visit family who lived out of town. She was taking the initiative to overcome a barrier in her life. But my favourite moment was when she saw her boyfriend and he wrapped his arms around her and said, “I’m so proud of you!”
How often had Jen heard those words . . . “I’m so proud of you!” ?
It probably wasn’t when she became pregnant as a young teen. Nor when she needed money for her basic needs. And probably not when she needed support because she was confused and fearful as she raised a child on her own. However, there has been a loving and safe community through YFC and Streetlight that has journeyed with Jen over these past 4 years. It was such a privilege to be present when she heard those words, “I’m so proud of you!”, and then to see her smile with a sense of satisfaction and purpose.
I hope this brings encouragement to you and your day as well. Together we are helping youth see their individual potential and discover hope!