Nancy Abrams is Manager of Eva’s Family Reconnect Program and has been with the organization for fifteen years. She’s passionate as ever. “It is such a privilege to be, in many ways, invited into journeys with family and with youth.”
Based out of an office at Eva’s Place, an emergency shelter for youth, Nancy and her team provide youth and families with counselling support to build healthy relationships, prevent youth homelessness and reduce its negative impacts. They’ll meet with a family as soon as possible, often within 48 hours of a request, in order to help that family with a crisis where the young person wants to leave home eminently or the family feels they can’t keep that young person at home any longer. To reduce barriers to service, the team will travel out to meet families wherever is best for them – home, school, work, or another place in the community.
This work gives Family Reconnect team members a unique perspective. If Nancy could dispel a myth about youth homelessness, it would be the common assumption that a young person’s family should always be left in the past and that the best goal for youth is to become entirely independent.
“We want to introduce the possibility of improving relationship with the families,” says Nancy. While it’s not always possible, it can make a big difference. The reality is that good family connections, whatever forms they take, often drastically improve youth well-being, no matter what their living situations. That’s why reconnecting and building family communication is a big part of Eva’s work. Through Family Reconnect, homeless youth are sometimes reconnected with a range of family members like grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Sometimes they are supported to reconnect with chosen family members such as friends and neighbours.
Nancy’s proud of the Family Reconnect Program’s success and of Eva’s approach in general. She appreciates how the organization has stepped out and addressed critical issues such as harm reduction for youth and homelessness prevention. She expresses great thankfulness as she works with the dedicated, passionate, and compassionate staff of the program, Eva’s Place, the whole organization, and all our caring community partners. This work is so well-suited to her, given that she grew up in an active, community-minded family that always volunteered to help others. “It is so special to work with youth,” says Nancy, “and such an honour to work alongside families.”
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