Hayden’s Story

Others, Leadership , Stories

Contributed by: Toronto City Mission

Hayden appears on the zoom screen and softly greets us.  She doesn’t seem anxious, but she also isn’t one to seek attention. Hayden has been part of TCM since she was in Grade 4 and she is now getting ready to enter her first year of high school. She is nervous about the transition.  When asked why she gave a small smile, she shared that she envisions high school like the stereotypes that she has seen on TV and in the movies (i.e. Mean Girls). Despite this, she is looking forward to learning more about herself in this new season and grateful that she has two other friends that are going to the same school with her.

Hayden immigrated to Canada from Jamaica when she was 8 years old. She traveled with her parents, younger sister and baby brother.  All three of the children are a part of TCM programs. Hayden first learned about TCM when a TCM Outreach Worker went to her school to share about the after school programs that were being offered.  Since then, she has participated in the after school programs, day camp in the summers, and for the past two years she has been a TLC youth leader.  Hayden loves the welcoming atmosphere, the opportunity to grow and learn about God while having fun at the same time. This is why she loves being a TLC. It means a lot to her to be able to be kind, show compassion and exercise patience to the younger children the way the staff have modeled for her, as well as being able to teach them about God.  

Hayden is thankful that her parents still have their jobs during this time of pandemic but she is well aware that not all families are as fortunate. As a young person, she is not blinded to the realities of those living in her community. Many of her neighbours are single parents who may have been laid off and are going through hard times. She is also mindful of the gang violence that happens, more often than it should, just further down the street from where she lives. She continues to hope for safety for her family and the families in her neighbourhood.

During quarantine, Hayden missed going to TCM and seeing the faces of the children, other TLCs, and staff.  People that were like family to her. Since being part of TCM she has had the chance to visit different places in the city, have fun and make friends, learn how to make pizza and then teach it to the children, and the wonderful experience of growing in her knowledge about God. She is thankful that TCM continued to stay connected with the families during COVID-19 because it would have been very sad if they didn’t.

Many youth, like Hayden, are able to become leaders in their community through opportunities given by you. Support us in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Virtual Race and help other youth become leaders in their own communities!


Originally posted on: http://www.torontocitymission.com/main-blog/haydens-story