STREET HAVEN AT THE CROSSROADS

Mykola Velychko via Getty Images

I Am Living Proof There Can Be Hope After Trauma

To everyone around me, it looked like our family had it all. The truth was that I lived in a house that was filthy and piled high with debris and animal waste. I was 11years old when my father began to sexually abuse me. I had become accustomed to keeping so many secrets by then that I just added this one to the list. I hoped the abuse would stop. I was terrified and lonely. I am living proof that it takes a community to lift a person up. The day I left my abusive family home was the day I stepped into uncertainty and poverty.
Hemera Technologies via Getty Images

This Is How I'm Climbing Out Of Addiction

I'm one of those alcoholics who became an alcoholic from my first drink. My life truly went downhill from there. I made bad decisions, made myself a bad reputation and drank more to ease my depression. Having alienated myself from people to stop them from witnessing this mess I was, I started to drink alone. I would binge for days at a time. Enough drinks in me would get me into the beds of complete strangers. It would not be considered consensual in a legal sense with my state of intoxication, thinking back to it now. The guilt and shame overwhelmed me. I had to keep myself intoxicated to keep my depression and anxiety at bay.
Alamy

Holiday Shoebox Drive: Helping Those in Need

Driving home from dinner last fall, my sister-in-law Jessica told me about her mother's holiday shoebox drive. For many years, Veronica has been asking her friends in Montreal to fill a shoebox with small gift items, which she collects and delivers to a women's shelter. Jessica wanted to do the same thing in Toronto for the Red Door Family Shelter and I immediately offered to get involved.