“I’m truly amazed by the way youth overcome stressful situations and make healthy choices while dealing with life challenges,” says Alecia at Eva’s Place.
Alecia is Community Support Worker at Eva’s Place, the organization’s founding emergency shelter in the North York area of Toronto. Her work is critical to connecting youth at Eva’s with services in the community to assist them with everything from health to immigration to education needs. She also accompanies residents to appointments and important meetings, serving as a presence and support to ensure they get what they need.
Alecia has worked with youth for many years and intimately understands the difficulties homeless youth face. She herself faced family breakdown and homelessness at the young age of 15. “When I hear peoples’ stories, they remind me of myself,” she says. Alecia knows what it’s like to be in the foster care system, to not have much by way of family supports, and to push forward with education and life goals when everything seems stacked against you. “I like to motivate teens with my experiences,” she says. “I let them know that even though you may have had a traumatic experience, anything is possible.”
Alecia’s role is a key element of Eva’s “wraparound” approach to helping homeless youth find safety, stability, and a home in the long-term while their short-term needs for shelter and other necessities are taken care of. She is often thrilled by the results, specifically speaking about two young people who once lived at Eva’s Place. Staff supported them on a day-to-day basis, and donors helped them with various fees and expenses. One of them is now pursuing a career in nursing, and the other is in the trades and does photography. He has returned to Eva’s Place to do motivational presentations with current residents.
“Lots of people come back and talk about the great experience they’ve had here,” Alecia says. “It’s nice to see people doing so well.”
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