A Place of CommunityOthers, Community
Contributed by: Inner Hope Youth Ministries
Written by Mark Ang, Boundless Coordinator
Community to me means family. It means supporting our youth when they are doing well, picking them up when they struggle, and participating in the things they’re interested in. Having grown up in East Vancouver, and having experienced similar challenges to our youth, has inspired me to pair each of our youth with someone who can care for them, support them, and be a good role model.
We have several youth who are at high risk this year – who are not getting the support they need from their parents. There are lots of reasons for this. Some have parents who act more like friends – who don’t tell them to go to school. Others have parents who are struggling with serious issues like violence or addiction.
As a result, I have been doing a lot of pickups to get the kids to school this fall. I’ve been keeping tabs on our youth: texting them, talking to teachers, and calling schools. I’m trying to figure out where our youth’s lives are at and what their motivation is. When I understand, then I can talk to them and help change their minds.
My goal for our youth is to encourage them to be open and able to talk about their challenges. My goal for the mentors is to equip them with the understanding they need to support each of our youth. Basically to become that supportive family to them.
Filling in the gaps for our youth is so important. For example, one of the youth, who is struggling the most this year, called me up the other day because he forgot the PIN for his bank card. So I picked him up from his friend’s house and we went to the bank to get that sorted. He was able to once again get a working bank account. With that he can get a job.
I am trying to equip our youth with the skills to succeed – not just to get by. Sometimes, this is just doing small things, but these are so important in the long run.