2023 Annual Report
YU’s long-term youth worker Calvin Williams walks with Trevor.
Trevor, 25, is a strong, caring and passionate young man, who is often called upon to share his expertise on how to best support struggling youth in Mission. His compassion and knowledge were forged through deep heartache, but also through the committed care he received from a faithful youth worker.
“It wasn’t a good environment for me anymore,” Trevor says. “My mother was a drug addict.” Foster care was the only real option for Trevor and his three younger siblings. He vividly remembers “getting ripped out of my mother’s arms,” knowing his life was about to completely change.
While most of Trevor’s life was marked by inconsistency, there was one constant: Calvin Williams. Calvin is Youth Unlimited’s Mission Area
Calvin brings Trevor (R) and another youth to an NHL Canucks hockey game prior to the pandemic.
Director, and a MY House youth worker. The two met at a community centre when Trevor was 10, and the connection continued through MY House, a furnished home where homeless youth are welcomed with access to food, showers, clothing, counselling, and life-changing relationships.
Dealt a challenging hand early on in life, Trevor battled mental health issues in a school system that didn’t know how to support him. When he was 14, Trevor learned he struggled with abandonment issues, PTSD, separation anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
“It scared the hell out of me,” he said. “I realized in that moment that I had a lot wrong with me.” While at the time, there wasn’t much the school could do, Calvin played a crucial role in his mental health journey. Trevor is pleased to see that much has since changed in the education system.
About a year ago, Trevor learned that his mother had given up a baby when she was just 16—Trevor had an older brother!
“I was just happy that I was meeting more family after losing touch with so many of them,” says Trevor, who was united with Aaron in 2020. “I’m trying to build a family back up; family is everything to me.” He often encourages his siblings to meet together, and has continued with virtual meetups throughout the pandemic.
The friendship Trevor and Calvin share has been a beautiful journey. “After all of these years, Calvin is the only support worker who has pretty much filled every role of counsellor and friend,” Trevor says admiringly. “But the ultimate role he’s filled is a father, and he still continues to help me out so much.”
Today, Trevor is frequently invited to speak on youth forums. He offers advice to non-profits on how to better support youth who have experienced personal or familial drug abuse.
Trevor helped produce this mural featuring the hope and strength of the young generation in Mission’s community.
I have a vivid childhood memory where I am sitting on the couch and extending my arms to receive a surprise gift from my parents. I’m sure they explained everything to me in the days leading up to this moment, but it never connected until that morning. The gift I was about to receive would forever expand my limited understanding of what a family is.
In the weeks preceding this moment I never noticed anything different about the way my mom looked, so when I received this gift I felt both extreme joy and confusion. Slowly the gift was lowered into my outstretched arms and for the first time I looked into the eyes of my newborn baby sister.
I didn’t understand adoption at the time, I just accepted that our family was now bigger and I got to be an older brother. A photo capturing this moment is evidence of the pride I felt that day.
As I have developed relationships with many people who were adopted (including my wife Sherri) I have come to understand adoption as a profoundly difficult, painful and beautiful experience. At Youth Unlimited we are privileged to hear these stories and enter into the heartbreak and mess. We don’t always have the answers for the big questions youth have about their situation, but we do know they all deserve love and belonging. Every young person deserves to be part of a family.
At Youth Unlimited, family means having someone to love you unconditionally. Family goes beyond bloodlines, last names or obligations. It is not a passive birthright, but a choice to love and accept someone where they are at. This is how we see our relationship to the Creator. We have all experienced God’s unconditional love and familial embrace, and we can’t help but share this same love with young people and their families. It was Jesus who called us to love God with all our passion and intelligence and to love others as well as we love ourselves (paraphrase of Matthew 22:37).
So we make sure each young person knows they belong,
Thank you for promoting family through your prayer and financial support. You are making it possible for young people like Trevor, featured in this month’s Connections, to experience belonging.
With immense gratitude,
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