The Doorway Approach
The Doorway community is a collection of engaged citizens striving to create a better society for young street-entrenched youth in Calgary, and we are grateful for Field Law joining our community! Thanks to the funding we received we were able to consistently support over 40 young people living on the street or in unstable circumstances.
In March 2020 we created a platform that allows young people to access support virtually or face to face as an immediate response to the pandemic. This allowed us to maintain contact with 80% of our pre-pandemic population, which is higher than the reported average of 50 to 60% in youth-serving organizations. Throughout lockdowns and pandemic responses/restrictions, we kept young people engaged in our process of thinking and planning their lives forward. There is significant value in keeping our young people in communication with people who know and understand them very well. Our relationship with them makes them more comfortable talking to us about mental health, addiction, domestic violence/abuse, etc. Having this history allows us to be mindful of potential risk factors. We have been committed to ensuring young people have access to a safe and calm space, hygiene supplies, food and internet/phone throughout the pandemic. We know these are all resources young people living in unstable circumstances need and value, and we also know these resources have been harder to access due to COVID-19.
The support we receive from our partners encourages young people to think through hundreds of goals and reflections, and they earn $15 for every goal that grows their self-esteem. As they create and work towards these goals, they begin to realize their thoughts have value and trust the path forward they chart for themselves. The funding we received from the Field Law Community Fund Program provided several of our young people with income, and for many, this is the first chance they have had to make money legally. Additionally, winning the Grand Prize affirmed that Calgarians see them as worthy and want to see them succeed, a priceless boost to their self-esteem.
Young people are pushing beyond their barriers and are navigating how to obtain or sustain housing, incomes, good health, positive routines and safe relationships during a pandemic. As they think through these plans and reflections, they are learning life-long skills like planning and problem-solving. These are skills they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Thank you, Field Law, for creating lasting change for these young people.