FIVE YEAR MILESTONE
Picture Above: This photo is of our physical distanced staff meeting and being presented with my 5 year pin!!!
I recently hit a milestone of 5 years. This might not seem like much, but as I reflect, I'm honoured to have had these 5 years of serving the vulnerable youth of our city and world. I am proud of the work that has been done. I will be honest though – these 5 years have not always come easy, nor have I always seen the success stories. I have sometimes wanted to give up and have often felt unequipped for this work. After 5 years, I can honestly say the consistency of coming alongside others, standing with them and offering a listening ear, has been a gift and privilege. I wanted to write this newsletter as a reflection for YOU, my partners, of all the work you've been behind and how your partnership has brought us to this place. Without you this work is NOT possible!
HERE ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY LAST FIVE YEARS:
JUNE 2015 I began with Youth Unlimited as I started a partnership with a church and YU on the North Shore. We served the youth of North Vancouver in any way we could.
JULY 2015 I went on a trip to Mount Washington with an incredible group of youth who I ended up walking alongside very closely. This trip affirmed the beginning of this ministry, "Joy was drawn out of me, simply by receiving the gift of knowing and being with this group of youth."
NOVEMBER 2015 (and the year to follow) I co-led a cooking club in the local alternative school. This was a huge dream to cook together and then feast around a table in "family style".
JANUARY 2016 I co-led a mental health discussion with a core group of youth. We gathered weekly to discuss the "how are you?" question in depth. I remember one youth saying, "Thank you for being a support system for me."
MARCH 2016 Our team started a mobile RV drop-in space, we drove around the city and parked the RV in intentional spots to welcome youth who needed a space to be.
OCTOBER 2016 I co-led a girls group at my house for those transitioning from high school to college. We spent every Monday for a year digging into truth and faith.
JUNE 2017 I began transitioning my work and ministry to the city of Surrey with Young Families (I got engaged that March and my husband and I had started to pray together about where to plant our lives together).
JULY 2017 Myself and the Young Families team brought a group a families camping which was a great space to be together away from the city.
SEPTEMBER 2017 Launch the 2017 Thrive Program. This life skills program had already been running for 10 years and is the cornerstone program within Young Families. I joined the team that year, and co-led that year's Thrive.
JUNE 2018 7 incredible women graduated Thrive!
AUGUST 2018 Continued to serve (as I had for 8 years prior) at Anvil Island Daybreak Bible Summer Camp (Ages 16-19).
OCTOBER 2018 Launched our alumni Community Leadership Group for moms who had aged out or were alumni of Thrive.
SEPTEMBER 2019 Launched Thrive 2019 with 7 incredible women.
DECEMBER 2019 Our team and a huge group of volunteers hosted our annual Christmas dinner for all families that had ever been connected to Young Families Ministry. This event often draws over 200 people.
JANUARY 2020 Continued our weekly drop-in space. I remember one morning a mom said, "I come here and find refuge."
JUNE 2020 Thrive Graduation 2020! Because of Covid-19, we held a beautiful physically-distant picnic in the park.
JULY 2020 (to present) Connected with a local food bank to drop-off a box of fresh produce to 12-15 families each week.
These highlights do not mention the countless one-on-one's I have had the privilege of attending. It has often been a place where young people have shared anxieties, tears, joys, fears, and hopes, and I have been humbled to be someone they have trusted and leaned forward with.
THANK YOU often does not seem enough to express my gratitude for your support, but I do pray that as you read this letter, you are filled with joy and hope that the work that has been done and continues to be done is impacting young lives and making a difference. As we care for the vulnerable, I believe it is an expression of God's love and care for his people and world.
With deep gratitude,