Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: August 15 Silvia's Log
Thoughts on homeless youth - Saturday August 15th

The reflections that touched me the most when we were speaking with our guide at Covenant House, Los Angeles had to do with the emotional aspect of working with homeless youth. At first one can feel apprehensive about these strangers, and readily judge them by the stereotypical images we hold of drug addicts, gang members, runaways, of the abused.

BUT, the supervisor at Covenant House shared with us his own important discovery: each person at Covenant House is an individual with his or her own story and reasons for being on the street, has personal dreams, and is not just one more anonymous member of a group. Life is short and we all make mistakes, and they learn to rectify these and move ahead toward goals they set for themselves with the help of their case managers and through their own self-initiative. During the difficult, tense moments when staff and youth do not get along or approve of the other's decisions, one learns to not take things "too personally" and always remember the light at the end of the tunnel. They must work one day at a time. I want to share a poem about children, trusting that we can make a difference through our actions in our daily lives:

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.



Other dispatches from today:
What would you do if you were living on the streets? Finding a home at Covenant House.
Monica: Thoughts on making it in life.
Shawn: Covenant House Impressions

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