April 18, 2022

Creating Community at the Holidays

Many of us come together in community to celebrate our religious holidays. At CHNJ, we continue creating community to better serve the youth who find us.

We are proud of the work we do to improve our services. An intangible part of our work is creating community among our youth. Mother Theresa, who once visited Covenant House remarked, “Your children’s greatest poverty is their aloneness”. So creating community, relationships, and trust can be transformative for our youth. Our youth often lack trust because they have been let down time and time again by parents, foster parents, schools, and more.

We have recently expanded our work at Raphael’s Life House by providing services from our Dove Learning Center (DLC). We’ve seen how that new learning space where youth engage with each other and staff is improving their resilience. Resiliency is a key skill to exit homelessness and can positively impact their learning experience.

Our newest member of the DLC team, Briana Shackleford-Rollins notes that “The new DLC space has really changed the energy within the house by providing a great space for our young moms to come together and share in their learning experiences.”

Creating Community in Asbury Park

We also plan on rolling out the DLC in Asbury Park. Although it has yet to arrive at Asbury Park formally, we’re already working hard to foster community there. We recently hosted a cookout so youth, staff, and supporters could come together, break bread, and enjoy time together. Kenny Greer, Associate Housing Director, said, “Simple experiences like cookouts, which many of us may take for granted, are meaningful experiences for our youth who often come from dysfunctional environments. The positive energy created by these experiences allows us to better connect with our youth to benefit from our services and help them transition to a positive living environment.”

Thanks to so many of you for being part of the Covenant House community and helping create community here to better serve our youth.

Youth at our recent cookout at our Asbury Park facility.