Lest we forget: Residents of St. Anne’s Place gather to remember and give thanks for the sacrifices of Canadians who lost their lives in the struggle for peace and freedom. St. Anne’s Place is part of LOFT Community Services, serving low-income seniors who are experiencing mental health, addiction and physical health challenges, who are or have been homeless and require affordable and supportive housing.
“I have lived other places but Bradford House is home.” Kathy told me since she has lived at LOFT’s Bradford House, she has become calmer and better able to handle the stress in her life. “The social workers are here to help us. I have learned problem solving and coping skills. I’m very outgoing and I like to help people. I volunteer in the kitchen and in the administrative office. And now I have a special person in my life. As soon as I saw him, I knew I wanted him to be my boyfriend. We go for walks and have coffee together.” Kathy can’t say enough about Bradford House. “It’s a beautiful place and everybody here is my friend. Carolyn (Donaldson – Bradford House Program Director) is my best friend!” I asked Kathy to tell me what gives her hope. She replied that since he has lived at Bradford House, “I have learned how to trust. When you have kind of challenges I have had in my life, it is very hard to trust people. But I know that I can do what I can do to help other people. And that makes me happy. I love music, especially Country and Western and Pop. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help. I’ll do anything that will help other people.”
My name is Elizabeth Membreño and I was born in the Mesa Grande Refugee Camps in Honduras. During the Civil War, when I was very little, my family returned to their native lands located in the conflictive zone of Cabañas, El Salvador.
When I was 15 years old, I and some of my friends founded the youth organization called the Asociación Comité Contra El Sida, Cabañas (CoCoSI). There was no HIV education or prevention in our rural communities, and we saw that we had to do it ourselves. At that time there were no educational opportunities. My family did not believe that an education was important for their children. The only alternatives for us youth were to become mothers, housewives and work in the corn and bean fields. Continue reading “Elizabeth – PWRDF”
“I’ve been coming to The BRIDGE for over 8 years. I come for the fellowship, the openness, and the trust. In the beginning, I had a couple of relapses and shame kept me from asking for help. But I have learned that I can share my experiences with others who have been there and, hopefully, I will be able to help others as I have been helped over the years. I’ve got myself a two-bedroom apartment and I rent a room to other guys from The BRIDGE. I’ve reconnected with my family and friends. They know that I come here and they support me. They check in on me to see how I’m doing.”
When I asked Colin what difference Wilkinson Housing and Support Services makes to him, he didn’t hesitate for a moment. “It makes a huge difference because I have support. I was an only child and I relied on my parents, too much, I guess. My father was my best friend and we did everything together. I had a good job that I loved, working with a company that sold sports memorabilia. I was married and my wife’s extended family was very important to me. Her sister had three kids, the youngest was our ring bearer when we got married. He asked me during the ceremony, ‘when can I start calling you Uncle Colin?’ Continue reading “Colin – LOFT Community Services”