This blog post was written by Eileen Ingrim, Employment Retention Specialist at CHMO. Eileen works with youth living at CHMO and in the community who participate in the Employment Skills program. Her deep love and compassion for all youth shines through as she shares Myles’ story.
Myles came to CHMO in 2011, initially to work on his GED. He lived in the neighborhood near Covenant House and always wondered what we did here. As he attended, he began to realize that CHMO does more than just one thing.
Myles began asking about our employment program, which led him to our job classes. He excelled. He was very engaged and interested in expanding his sphere of influence. Myles graduated and was hired to be in our job training program, Garden Rangers. He worked with us for the full 6 months.
During that time, AmeriCorps came to give a presentation to our youth about summer work. Myles was very interested, applied and was accepted to attend their Colorado site. Myles had NEVER been out of St. Louis….but he was willing to go alone, and learn some new things. Myles learned that mountains are GIGANTIC! He learned that it is good to work with diverse groups. He experienced some rugged work: creating paths through mountains, fixing roads and working long days. It was a fulfilling experience. Due to family situations, Myles returned before completing, but he definitely carries that experience with him.
Having Myles return to Covenant House to give back is a beautiful full circle. Now that he is 26 years old, he definitely is in a different mindset. He is extremely humble, and while visiting, he was flooded with memories of what he was like as a youth and how he understands the street mindset. Myles eagerly met youth and commented on how his handshake has changed! Myles graduated from Eclipse Barber School is looking forward to returning to give haircuts and also share some motivation…some real talk.
Having Myles return and spend some time with me has been so rewarding. He reminded me of the value of what we do here at Covenant House and revived in me the classic truth that we really do plant seeds. DAILY. Growth DOES happen. His interaction has rekindled my passion and my energy. The main reason I am here is to impact this generation….and whether I see it or not, Myles inspired me to keep planting, keep loving and affirming, and to keep a joyful heart in the midst…because there is beauty right around the corner!