Me. I’m Zac Efron’s newest fan.
We’re heading to Tofino tomorrow and I will force Jacek to sit through 17 Again. Maybe some High School Musical. Putting my name on the list for advance tickets to whatever he’s releasing next. Because Zac Efron has just made a huge difference in the life of one young man.
Covenant House Vancouver works with homeless and at risk youth living on Vancouver streets. Through our continuum of care, Covenant House Vancouver exists for those young people for whom there is often no one else - young people who have either willingly fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse or those who have been forced from their homes.
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens walked by our building at Drake & Seymour in Vancouver the other day. A young man (we’ll call him James) who has been staying in our crisis shelter was standing outside. Zac said hello, and he stopped to talk. James loves movies. He dreams of being an actor. If he can turn it around, he’d like to pursue acting one day. And Zac took the time to chat and hear his story, very directly asking James why he was at Covenant House, and James answered honestly, sharing details about his experience on the street as Zac listened intently.
When their conversation came to an end, James was hoping for an autograph. Zac wasn’t carrying anything with him so they said goodbye and he left…only the next day, a package was delivered to James at Covenant House Vancouver and inside the package was a photo and on the photo Zac had written a personal message to James, with kindness and compassion, encouraging him to stick with his program at Covenant House, and signing Love, Zac.
You cannot imagine how excited James is. Yes, it was cool to meet a celebrity, yes it was cool to get his autograph, but it’s even cooler that Zac not only remembered his name, but kept thinking about him afterwards, thought about it enough to make sure James received his note.
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
One of the most common sentiments I’ve heard from our kids is that they “don’t want to feel invisible” anymore. It’s the lack of eye contact, it’s the way we look away from them, even when they’re not asking for anything, it’s the constant shunning that hurts the most.
Zac Efron stopped at a crisis shelter and showed a lot of respect to someone his own age at the opposite end of the life lottery. Never mind celebrities, not many civilians would bother to do the same.
Thank you Zac Efron.
Note: I was employed at Covenant House Vancouver from 2003 – 2006 as a Development Officer. I continue to volunteer and fundraise and donate, I am a youth mentor for the agency, and I am also the host of the 5th Annual Night of New Beginnings charity gala on November 26th as part of our “30 days for 30 nights” campaign to raise a month of support through the holiday season, often the most difficult time of year, for young people staying at our crisis shelter and our transitional housing program.
Click here for more information, to donate, and/or to attend our event next month.
File photo – Zac leaving the set in Vancouver last month from RADCLIFFE/DZILLA/Bauergriffinonline.com
Zac Efron is kind