Covenant House Missouri is an open intake agency, which means we accept all youth at whatever place they are in toward their journeys to independence. Our principles – immediacy, sanctuary, communicating values, structure and choice – are meant to guide youth through their personal traumas and toward becoming healthy, independent adults.
The path to independence is not without its bumps. We teach youth that they are the best experts of their own lives, and they must decide when they are ready to make positive changes. Sometimes this doesn’t happen upon the first stay. For some youth, leaving and returning to CHMO is a part of their growth. Covenant House becomes a safe and trusting place where they eventually feel empowered to stay.
In the post below, Troy Miles, a dedicated staff member who served youth for years as a case manager, explains what brings back youth to Covenant House Missouri.
Opportunities from the streets are offered daily for youth who are homeless. Opportunities for employment, housing, education, among many others. The concern is that consistently these are inappropriate opportunities from those who traffic (sex and labor), those who charge a cost that is unthinkable (survival sex), and those who disguise manipulation as teaching to take away a youth’s willingness to trust.
When youth comes to Covenant House Missouri, they may have little to carry physically, but mentally and emotionally they are weighed down. Often times when they walk through our doors, it is hard to comprehend what a safe and caring opportunity looks like. So they leave and come back, and leave and come back, and leave and come back. They return because they start to understand that that trust, respect and love don’t have to cost anything. The staff focus on their growth, not their mistakes. Youth return because in their own words “I figured out that this was the best place for me. It took me a while, but I get it now.” This is what makes CHMO a place that makes youth who are homeless feel empowered to take steps toward independence.