Staff Interview: Armoury Resource Centre Staff

Describe where the Armoury fits in YESS’ mission to walk beside youth on their journey towards healing.

The Armoury Resource Center (ARC) is a day time drop-in center, where youth come in to get their basic needs met like food and clothing. They also get a safe place to be during the day.

With a focus on youth-led guidance and support, the Youth Workers are ready to assist and guide youth in areas of their life that they are ready to work on and improve without judgement.

By helping youth navigate their own trauma and daily stresses, it helps our Youth Workers build long-lasting, meaningful relationships so that they can better assist our youth with trust, compassion, and acceptance.

The Armoury also assists in employment, therapy, medical needs, employment, education, and housing.

– Shiraz Khan, Supervisor, Armoury Resource Centre

In what ways has the COVID-19 crisis affected youth and staff in the Armoury?

During the COVID-19 pandemic it has put more hardship on youth as they cannot go about their daily routines, as so many establishments are closed to public. It has also halted their progress on getting goals met, which causes more mental health issues to arise.

In a way it has brought Youth Workers and youth together even more. The compliance of many more rules shows the appreciation the youth have for staff. Youth seeing staff show up to work daily, putting aside their fears and concerns shows the commitment and genuine compassion they have for helping our youth.

– Shiraz Khan, Supervisor, Armoury Resource Centre

The obvious way COVID-19 has affected staff has been our sanitization process. I think it is easy for staff (I know I am guilty) to become complacent when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing, so this whole pandemic was a good reminder how important it is to do during our work hours when the youth are present and after they leave. – Nicole Radke, Youth Worker

Overall, everyone is taking the changes in stride. There’s been less hustle and bustle because of the recommendations for those with homes to stay home – inadvertently leading to less communication between staff and those particular youth. It’s been difficult to access, promote, and connect youth with resources as many organizations have limited to no access during the COVID-19 crisis. – Jeremiah Leung, Resource Worker

As a staff member the COVID-19 crisis has made me realize how important services like this are for the vulnerable and how much staff are needed. I feel as a staff this situation has made me more courageous knowing that vulnerable youth need me to provide services during this time. I am able to set aside my fears and come to work everyday, it makes me feel good about myself. Youth also feel like they need more supports and we are here to provide the best way we can. – Patricia Bekkatla, Resource Worker

The COVID-19 crisis has been a very big eye opener for our staff and youth alike. It has shown the strength we have if we stand together as a whole. Our youth have adapted to the new policies and procedures and have shown their strength to overcome adversity as they always do. With COVID-19 on everyone’s minds YESS has taken the necessary precautions to keep our youth and staff team safe and secure while still providing necessary services to our youth. They have taken all the policy changes in stride and as a whole we staff and youth have come together and become a team. Staff at the Armory have been using our kindness and compassion to explain what is going on to the youth; with this it has been very important for us as a staff team to be open and honest with the youth and facing any fears and questions they may have. – Bree Spaan, Relief Worker

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