It’s been a number of months since I’ve blogged. I’ve not posted anything since I finished my job in the overnight shelter, and started a new job working with children on the Downtown Eastside. It’s been a transition that’s not been easy, not been hard, just fairly neutral. Here are some things I’ve learned over the last three months at this job:
- I’m used to working with kids, and sometimes I feel that it comes as second nature to me. I find it easy to talk to kids, easy to play with them, easy to be them. My two years working at the Cridge centre prepared me very well for working on Vancouver’s DTES, and that’s a really beautiful thing.
- It’s easier to address behavioural challenges in kids then systemic challenges. I can deal with a kid having a temper tantrum, and I can even help bring the kid out of it. But I have no power over a kid’s poverty. What I do will not pull them out of poverty anytime soon. It might have a long term impact, but I doubt I’ll ever see it.
- Kids are kids. No matter where you go, kids just want to have fun, and be loved. Kids in Mongolia and Turkey were nearly indistinguishable from kids in Vancouver and Victoria in how they interacted with the world. No matter your background, kids share this common wonder and humanity, and that’s a beautiful thing that I long for.
- Kids on the DTES can be really scared. They live in an area with rampant drug use, and they know their sharps safety. But they don’t like what’s going on, and are powerless to stop it. Some I serve have lived on the streets, and most of my kids live in sub-par housing. They enjoy life, but they know that they live in a bitter reality.
- Kids on the DTES are loved. So many resources are being poured into this community, into their schools, and they have so many mentors leading them along. They have so many fun educational and social opportunities, that I wish I was one of them! They are loved and they know it, and that’s a beautiful thing.
My brief time serving the kids has so far confirmed that though messy, Vancouver’s Downtown East Side is the most beautiful place I know,