‘Every day I am inspired by the kindness of our young people.’
There are many words that can be used to describe the young people at Covenant House.
Strong. Brave. Hard-working. Smart. Funny.
Maurice Paul, program manager for transitional housing and our long-term Rights of Passage program at Covenant House Greater Washington, adds another word he feels describes our young people perfectly.
“Every day I am inspired by the kindness of our young people,” says Maurice. “We have young people in our transitional housing and long-term programs who have been through so much trauma. Some have mental health challenges, some have histories of abuse and neglect. And yet it never fails — when a new young person is admitted into one of our programs, our youth welcome them, mentor them, let them know that Covenant House is a safe, welcoming space.
“A smile, a welcome, an offer to carry whatever belongings a new young person brings to Covenant House when they first come through our doors. It happens all the time, and reinforces my belief in the goodness and kindness of our young people and the importance of our work together,” says Maurice.
Before joining our Covenant House team in August of 2021, Maurice was working with adults and children with intellectual disabilities. “When Covenant House came to me with an opportunity to open the first transitional housing program in Prince George’s County, I felt it was the chance to really make a difference in the lives of young people at a time in their lives when support can make such a meaningful impact. Right now we have six young people living in a facility that looks just like a family house, with support staff here 24/7. It is so important to be able to bridge the gap for young people who are working so hard towards independence but need guidance that all young people need from adults. Some just never had the support in their upbringing that so many of us take for granted. Here we get to walk with our young people on their individual journeys. How great is that?”
Maurice is driven to make a difference in the lives of young people, so when a new opportunity arose to manage our new long-term Rights of Passage housing program at Covenant House Greater Washington, he jumped at the chance.
“We have ten amazing young people living independently in their own apartments supported by our staff, it’s the next step towards complete independence,” says Maurice. “We help our young people find jobs, and then we put some of that money into an escrow account they can use when they leave the program. Although another thing I love about this job is that our young people never really leave the Cov family. We are always here for them, and they share with us their successes and challenges long after they’ve officially left the program.”
To Maurice, his work is more than a job. He is available at all times for any support our young people need, and he dispenses that support with enthusiasm, grace and kindness. “I believe this is really what I was meant to do,” he says. “Being a part of these young people’s lives is a true blessing.”