Safe and Loving spaces for youth

I was reminded again recently that not everyone in the North End of Winnipeg sees Inner City Youth Alive the way I do. Our team works hard every day to create safe and loving spaces for youth to be themselves, be listened to, learn about God and to have fun.

But not all of our interactions with youth go as smoothly as we’d like and sometimes those moments turn into some tough meetings with their caregivers. For instance, a parent arguing with a team member about an incident that happened at Drop-in, not having received all the facts from their eight-year-old. Or a grandparent upset about an upcoming event that includes youth who they feel aren’t safe to be around their grandchild. A volunteer forgetting a commitment that they made, resulting in disappointment and hurt. These are just a few of the many challenges that our staff face week after week.

Rationalizing can be difficult, apologies not always accepted and relationships are put on the line while we try to make amends. It’s easy to say that I’m right and they’re wrong, or convince myself that they’re projecting their anger from other difficulties on me, but that’s not always the case. We’re all broken people and make mistakes. Our team tries to learn from these times and attempts to move on, but it can be hard to not take it personally. Giving ourselves grace is challenging, especially when you’re being yelled at over the phone, but it needs to be done so we can move forward.

As I dove into the Gospels this past month, I reflected on the life of Jesus. He did everything right and was still rejected by those with whom he had built relationships. He had compassion, he did miracles and had patience beyond measure, but the crowds still chose to give him the most severe of punishments. When I consider Jesus’ work, I’m reminded that the task we’ve been given at ICYA isn’t going to be easy. There will be difficult moments, even when we think we’ve done everything right. Despite our best intentions, not everyone in the community will accept what we have to offer. As you pray for me and the rest of the ICYA team, ask God to give us courage and grace to face these challenges with boldness, understanding and compassion for everyone involved, including ourselves.

‘ve spent a great deal of time over the last few months interviewing and hiring staff for The Bridge Drop-in. Finding the right people who love our community, have a solid Christian faith and are eager to run programs and build relationships with young people can be tough. Our months of hard work and prayer are starting to pay off and I’m excited to have three new staff members lined up to start work in the coming weeks. Please pray for these individuals as they prepare to step into their new roles and for the rest of our team as we welcome them to our team!

We would like to thank all of you for your continued support and many prayers. These last few months wouldn’t have been possible without you!

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