Richie’s StoryOthers, Growth , Stories
Contributed by: Inner Hope Youth Ministries
I am from the Lil’wat Nation outside of Whistler, BC and grew up in Vancouver with my parents and 4 siblings. My family wasn’t very good at dealing with problems in healthy ways. When I was young, my mom sent me to a summer camp. I became friends with one of the counselors, and I noticed that he was able to deal with issues in a much healthier way than I saw in my family. This stuck with me. Fast forward to when I was a teenager. My family moved to East 45th, and many youth in my neighbourhood were part of the Inner Hope Boundless program. The Coordinator invited my sister to join. There wasn’t much else going on for young people in our neighbourhood, so I went too.
I’ve always been a natural leader with my siblings and peers, but I didn’t really have a place to lead people. Coming to Inner Hope and having a mentor taught me how to lead others in ways that would help them. Inner Hope also gave me opportunities to develop as a leader. I found out about the Camp Qwanoes Counselor in Training (CIT) program through Inner Hope. It reminded me of that summer at camp and the counselor who impacted me. I went through the CIT program and the Leader in Training (LIT) program, and then worked at Camp Qwanoes for 2 summers. I knew I wanted to go into youth ministry and put my leadership skills to good use.
No one in my family has ever attended Post Secondary school. My parents thought it was a waste of time, and that I should just find a trade. Inner Hope helped me find my gifts and passion for leadership, and helped me find the right programs to put me on that path. Last year, I did a one-year Bible School Program at Torch Bearers Holsby in Sweden, and in January I’m starting a 2-year diploma in Youth Ministry at Pacific Life Bible College (PLBC).
I’m the first person in my family to ever get a post secondary education. I’m also the first one to quit smoking. As someone who started in one place and ended up somewhere completely different, I know the kind of mentorship and support youth need as they break out of harmful cycles. This fall I’m interning at Inner Hope as a Youth Support Worker. I’m happy to continue to grow as a leader, and to use my gifts and experience to give back to this community.