Providing youth with the support they need to thrive while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monique is a Child and Youth Worker at LOFT’s Beverley Lodge, a high support residential program for male teens who live in precarious housing conditions and lack the resources to meet their mental health or substance abuse challenges.
At Beverley Lodge, Monique helps her young clients as they prepare to live independently. She enjoys being an active part of their support system, teaching them basic life skills and offering emotional assistance and counselling. She also guides them through the process of applying for jobs, preparing for interviews, and crafting their resumés.
During the pandemic, Monique’s clients have faced challenges. It has been hard for them to maintain relationships and stay focused on school. “Our kids have to remain inside a lot due to COVID. They can’t go out, or spend time with their families and friends,” she explains. “They’re sad. You can see the loneliness inside of them.”
Education has been difficult. “Our clients need support,” Monique explains. “They don’t flourish with online school. Not being in the classroom means that their motivation is lost. It affects their grades and their progress. We have increased the level of care, particularly around schoolwork. We ensure that our clients are up-to-date and that they don’t fall behind,” she says. “Having the encouragement allows them to feel good about themselves.”
Discrimination is another challenge faced by her clients. “People have misconceptions,” Monique explains. “They think that our youth will never achieve anything, but our clients are very intelligent. If you take the time to know them, you will see that they are so much more than their diagnosis.”
When she’s not supporting Beverley Lodge’s clients, Monique enjoys spending time with her family. “Getting together, playing board games, having picnics and barbecues – that’s what I loved to do before the pandemic,” she says.
Monique’s dedication at work means time away from her family. “It’s been challenging for me. I’m a mom. I have a young child. Being away from home is hard, but supporting my clients can be extremely rewarding,” she says. “Everybody is unique in their own way. It all comes together like a puzzle, and it always works.”
LOFT’s Beverley Lodge program serves at-risk young men under 18 who are unable to live in their family home. Lodge residents live in a safe, supportive, structured environment with 24/7 staffing where they can acquire the skills they will need to function as responsible, self-reliant members of society.
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