Working during Christmas Day- A joyful frontline experience.

Hello Frontliners,

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas today for those who are celebrating.

As I sit here in the comfort of my own home and with my family on Christmas Day, I reflect on the word “family” and “togetherness’ for the young people who might not have a home to go to.

For some young people, due to various reasons, are situated in a group home setting. For followers not aware of these settings, they are either a home or institutional environment that may mimic a family model lifestyle with treatment involved (depending on the young person). There are expectations, rules, goals, social and life skills to face. A group home opens 24/7 365 days a week with dedicated, passionate frontline workers working with each young person’s unique needs.

Anyways, I remember years ago when I use to work for the group home system, I would take the Christmas Shifts. Usually everything would be closed: banks, malls, recreation centres, or other entertainment. However, since myself nor my family celebrated Christmas, I always enjoyed working on this day with young people surrounding me.

Why?

Through the hustle and bustle throughout the rest of the year for staff and these young people, this was a day to sit as a family, eat together, and share moments from the year. The residence I use to work for would supply a turkey and other food donations would be pouring in from corporations that would allow the young people have the opportunity to have a Christmas dinner.

We would cook together, we would listen to Christmas music, we would talk about our families (if they wanted to of course), and we would have the opportunity to talk about our goals for the New Year. It was always light spirited during those Christmas shifts. It showed young people that being together is not conventional. We can make our own family; people who care about our wellbeing, want to spend quality time, and are not afraid to express their unconditional love; either verbally or spiritually.

Those were really cool moments…I felt like I really got the opportunity to know each young person- more in a deeper level. I think holidays do that, they trigger more intense memories in people: good, bad, sad, angry. It felt like another layer of skin was shedding; safe environment and safe staff to allow that process to happen.

To all the frontliners working today, thank you. Everyone deserves to be with caring, supportive, and loving people.

Thanks for reading,

Marleigh

P.S- Happy and Safe New Year! This will be my last blog until 2018 🙂

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