Photo courtesy of ShareLife

ShareLife's faces and partner agencies

  • March 13, 2016

Read the stories of the people helped by ShareLife donors.

A New Start for Brittany and Her Young Family

sl-brittany“I first came to Rose of Sharon as a pregnant 17-year-old mom thinking this would never happen to me,” explains Brittany, now with her five-year-old son Ethan and one- year-old daughter Sarah. “I was the only pregnant girl in my high school so, needless to say, there wasn’t much acceptance or peer support.”

Brittany and her children’s father, Jarrod, soon discovered that support for their new situation was limited. Jarrod enrolled in university in Waterloo, Ont., and Brittany and Ethan eventually joined him. This was after Brittany came to Rose of Sharon to enroll in the mother-baby programs designed to assist her and her new family in getting on their feet.

Everything from diapers, food, clothing, cooking classes, completion of high school courses, Ontario Works applications, resumé assistance and more was available to her. Within a year, she was able to use her newfound skills to adjust to her new life.

Last year, after her second child, Brittany returned to the Rose of Sharon and became involved in programs to her parenting skills.

With the help of Rose of Sharon, she has become a patient and understanding mother, capable of dealing with many of life’s trials as she raises her growing family.

A Safe Place for Tina
TinaTina joins other adult clients Gayle, Julie and Rose as they busily string beads and happily create other crafts in the day class at the St. Bernard’s location of Mary Centre. They, along with many others, are part of the Mary Centre adult education day program designed to develop emotional and intellectual stimulation skills.

Tina and the others in the program are encouraged to express themselves and be honest in their communications with peers and staff in order to build self-esteem and trust in one another. Staff provide a safe respite and encourage a family atmosphere for clients outside their own home, whether they live with parents, siblings or on their own.

“Mary Centre offers a safe place for special adults to feel secure and rebuild their lives again,” says Tracy Berman, executive director of Mary Centre.

“We have had the opportunity recently to take in two developmentally challenged homeless women at our Mary Centre St. Bernard’s location and help them regain the confidence and life skills to live again. This is but one example of the practical difference ShareLife makes in the lives of those in desperate situations.”

Learning to have Fun Together for the Best of Friends

SL-joelleMackenzie and Joelle are the best of friends and have fun together at Silent Voice summer camp. There they know it’s important to sign so they can more fully understand each other. The girls have attended hearing camps but prefer deaf camp because of the ease of communication and understanding. Originally from E.C. Drury, a school for the deaf in Milton, Ont., they enjoy playing basketball and baseball with their other school friends. At Silent Voice camp, they love to swim, jump on trampolines, make crafts and play soccer. Mike started as a summer camp counsellor at Silent Voice and became program director 10 years ago. The mandate at Silent Voice is to encourage all staff and children to sign using ASL (American Sign Language) to enhance communication amongst each other. The agency is grateful for the support it receives from the ShareLife campaign.

‘The support you provide as donors is vital because the children come from struggling back- grounds,” says Mike. “When they come to camp they feel privileged and are free and empowered to develop and be all that they can be.”

A New Desire for James to Help Others

sl-jamesThe DARE (Drug and Alcohol Recovery Enrichment) program at Good Shepherd Centre is a safe supportive place for men struggling with addiction to live while waiting for treatment.

Less than a year ago, James hit rock bottom, having lost his job, home and family because of alcohol abuse. He remembered the Good Shepherd Centre from a visit many years ago through a sponsor and arrived after spending a month in a sobriety program. James needed four months in the DARE program to really prepare himself before enrolling at CAMH.

“I primarily needed to develop selflessness,” says James. “The spiritual dimension at the Good Shepherd centre helped me find the inner strength to move forward. I’m now back volunteering here at the Centre. I’m sober, I’ve got a place to live and have taken early retirement. I’m here because of hope and now have the desire to help others.”

ShareLife's partner agencies

From eight funded agencies in 1976, in 2015 ShareLife helped 42 agencies and organizations provide services for more than 114,000 people. Here is a list of those agencies and grant recipients.

FAMILY SERVICES ($3,800,731)
Catholic Community Services of York Region: counselling and group services for people coping with personal and relationship challenges, as well as immigrant services.
Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County: professional counselling services and support, and education for youth, adults and seniors.
Catholic Family Services of Toronto: counselling for individuals, couples, families and groups; marriage preparation; and help for abused women and families.
Catholic Family Services of Peel-Dufferin: family counselling related to depression, anxiety, grief, marital difficulty, abuse, parent-child conflict, and cultural adjustment.
Catholic Family Services of Durham: counselling for individuals, couples and families with a particular focus on family violence and abused women and children.
Birthright International (Toronto): counselling and emotional support for women in unplanned pregnancies.
FertilityCare Toronto: fertility education, natural family planning and health services for women.
Natural Family Planning Association: programs and services related to teaching the Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning.

CHILDREN/YOUTH ($1,080,202)
Covenant House: services and support for homeless youth, and advocacy on behalf of at-risk, trafficked and homeless youth.
Camp Ozanam: a summer camping experience for underprivileged boys through St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Office of Catholic Youth: support and programs for parish youth ministers.
Sancta Maria House: residential and after care for teen girls and young women.

Centres d’Accueil Heritage: housing for seniors and community programs.
LA Centre for Active Living: day programs and services for people over 55.
Providence Healthcare: rehabilitation services, long-term care, palliative care and adult day programs for dementia sufferers.
Society of Sharing: services for lonely and frail seniors and adults with disabilities.

Rosalie Hall: counselling and support for pregnant youth, young parents and families.
Rose of Durham: programs to support young parents.
Rose of Sharon: support and education for prenatal and parenting young women.
Vita Centre: education and counselling for pregnant and parenting youth.

SPECIAL NEEDS ($1,032,407)
Mary Centre: residential and outreach services for adults with a developmental challenge and support for their families.
St. Michael’s Homes / Matt Talbot House: services for people suffering the effects of substance use and substance dependence.
Our Place Community of Hope: non-clinical support and services for people suffering from mental illness.
Saint Elizabeth Health Care: home health and community care, including nursing, rehabilitation, crisis and personal support services.
St. Bernadette’s Family Resource Center: support and programs for children, youth,and adults with developmental and/ or physical challenge.
Silent Voice Canada: community and family-based support for deaf children and adults in American Sign Language(ASL).
Street Haven at the Crossroads: meals, shelter and support for women in need due to poverty, domestic abuse, substance abuse, mental health issues and other challenges.

Catholic Cross-Cultural Services: multi-language settlement services for immigrants and refugees.
Office for Refugees: support and assistance to refugee applicants and to individuals and groups wishing to sponsor refugees.

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace: overseas development financial aid and services.
Pastoral Mission Fund: funding for overseas missionary sisters and priests.

St. Augustine’s Seminary of Toronto: education and formation for priesthood candidates.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto: social services, leadership and advocacy for member agencies.

Canadian Food for Children; Good Shepherd Refuge; DARE Program; Hospital Chaplaincy; New Beginnings; Redemptoris Mater Seminary; Right to Life Association of Toronto; Serra House/Vocations Office; The DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.

More in this category: « Where kids get to be kids

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