“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.”
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”
Joan Rose and her husband, Bobby, can’t say enough about the David Busby Centre. “They helped us find housing and they are always very kind to us,” says Rose. “I like to help out by folding clothes that are donated, and helping to clean up outside. It saves money for the town. Bobby is also proud of being associated with the Busby Centre and he wants the community to know that the centre is a good neighbour. Every day when he arrives at the centre, Bobby grabs his broom. “I keep the sidewalks clean.” Helping others comes naturally to Joan and Bobby. Joan has fond memories of her grandfather. “He was Native and he always helped homeless people. Every time I see a homeless person, I think of him.”
AURA (Anglican-United Refugee Alliance) works with parishes in the Diocese of Toronto to aid and support refugees through refugee sponsorship, settlement services, education, and other means. Ashur (not his real name) is just one of the many people who have been helped. Here is his story:
Ashur is a 7 year old boy from a town in south west Syria.
Ashur lived a quiet life, his father worked for the government and his mother worked for an international company. On the 6th March 2011 fifteen children were arrested and tortured for painting anti-authoritarian graffiti. The civic protests that followed their detention led to an outbreak of violence that would see a domestic uprising transform into a civil war.
As the civil war erupted Ashur’s father was murdered for being seen as part of the government by one side of the conflict. Ashur’s mother was threatened with death for working with foreign companies by the other side of the conflict.
Having no choice, Ashur and the remaining members of the family fled the only home they had ever known into the hostile countryside. Ashur made the 57 km journey on foot over the border with Jordan and eventually to the Zaatari refugee camp. Although safer, Ashur and his family now face the dangers of life in a temporary refugee camp and an uncertain future. Because of being directly targeted, Ashur and his family will never be able to go home.
“At age 17 I had my first psychotic break. I went ten years being schizophrenic and having psychotic breaks and was only diagnosed at 27. At age 39, they were looking for an institution to put me away for life because I was very disturbed and very sick and there was no way of reaching me. I was involved with a program at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Aurora, and one day people came from LOFT to tell us about their new housing program. I just asked and asked and asked, and I must have driven them crazy! I said ‘I’ve found my place!’ I just knew it was the right place for me. Continue reading “Patricia – LOFT Bradford House”