Camp Ozanam (formerly Four Winds Boys’ Camp)
Jeff was a participant at Camp Ozanam, who arrived less than a week after watching his
friend be injured in an accident. Jeff woke up screaming one night at 3 a.m., and his
counselor and the Camp Director took him outside the cabin, where he began to cry. Jeff
told his counselor this story:
“My friend, brother and I were playing football and the ball went too close to the train
tracks with a train coming. My friend was sucked into the side of the train. It’s only been
four days and he’s in a place called ICU. My mom made me come to camp to keep my
mind off things, but I can’t think of anything else. Is he going to be able to walk again,
This year, with our ShareLife support, over 450 young men from across the Archdiocese
will receive a summer camp experience, one which many of us may take for granted, but
for them may be an opportunity that they would not normally have.
Camp Ozanam (formerly Four Winds Boys’ Camp)
As a child, many of us looked forward to summer camp, but not everyone has this
opportunity. Camp Ozanam makes it possible for young boys from across the
Archdiocese to enjoy something that others may take for granted. There are many stories
of the boys who come to the camp on a yearly basis. In our ShareLife video, the Camp
Director tells viewers of one such situation:
As the bus pulled in to the camp, the Director looked at one boy and said, “Let’s get your
luggage.” To which, the boy held up a bag of ketchup chips. That was all he had, as he
explained that his mother didn’t want to send him to camp so close to school and risk him
losing clothes he would need for the year. The staff got him something to wear – you
cannot be at a week-long camp with only the clothes on your back and a bag of chips.
Ask yourself, how would you handle this situation? What response would you give a boy
who tells you he has arrived with only the clothes on his back has come for a week of
swimming, canoeing, campfires, and fun times with over 200 boys? Over 60% of the
boys who attend the camp are from single parent families, 15% come from families
experiencing unemployment, and 24% are receiving some form of social assistance.
St. Michael’s Homes/Matt Talbot Houses
John appeared successful and happy, but he was sinking in a hidden state of alcoholism.
He went through a cycle, with bouts of drinking, followed by a resolve not to drink,
which failed. He lost his job and, subsequently, his family. His attendance at AA
meetings led him to St. Michael’s Homes/Matt Talbot Houses, and he was accepted as a
resident there. He got his life back in order. He has become involved once again with his
children, and says that without St. Michael’s Homes/Matt Talbot Houses and staff he
does not know where he would have ended up.
Catholic Family Services
Helen was a married mother, working full time as a medical technologist. On the outside,
things seemed normal, but she had a secret that she wouldn’t even admit to herself – she
was being abused physically and emotionally. Helen was referred by her parish Priest to
Catholic Family Services, a ShareLife agency, and in her words, “With my limited funds,
I would never have been able to afford the counseling I needed to be able to protect my
kids and myself without the help of Catholic Family Services and the funding provided
Through private and group counseling, she learned to keep clothes hidden in the car for
emergencies, to find safe homes, to call 911 when her ex-husband broke into the house in
the middle of the night, and how to handle being threatened, stalked, and deprived of
funds. Her children witnessed all of this, and you can only wonder how it affected them.
Imagine reading this sentence written by your child in a letter to Oprah Winfrey for one
of her shows: “Our parents were married for 16 years and had 6 kids before our mother
separated from our father. She had endured years of abuse as a result of his alcoholism
but had remained silent in order to ensure our love for our father. Payments for child
support ceased after a few months, which left our mother to feed, clothe and shelter her
kids, all between the ages of 3 and 13.”
Today, Helen volunteers with Catholic Family Services, supporting other women who
have gone through similar situations. She says, “It means so much to me now to be able
to reach out to other women and to be able, in some small way, to continue the work
being done by Catholic Family Services.”
Mary Centre operates a series of homes across the Greater Toronto Area, carrying out
programs to allow developmentally challenged adults live independently, and
encouraging integration into all areas of life. Joan is a resident at one of their homes who
contributes to the chores of the household. While our day-to-day worries may centre
around the needs of our families, our jobs and our children, Joan has a different set of
concerns that were equally important to her daily life. A Mary Centre newsletter profiled
Joan and mentioned that she and another resident look forward to Saturday mornings,
when they volunteer with a Meals on Wheels program.
70% of adults living with developmental disabilities are over the age of 50. Many are
outliving their parents, who are often the primary caregiver. Without places like Mary
Centre, who will offer the necessary love, care and compassion that these people, among
the most vulnerable, require? It’s inspiring to know that we are able to support programs
in a place like Mary Centre, and, as a Catholic community, we have a hand in helping
make this important service possible.
Good Shepherd Refuge
Have you wondered what it would be like to be homeless with addictions? To realize
that these addictions are killing you, and that you’ve hit rock bottom? For James, the
work of the Good Shepherd Centre and the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Enrichment
(DARE) program helped him to rebuild his life. In his 20s, he spiraled into a life of
addiction to drugs and alcohol. His marriage failed and he lost contact with his children.
He drank away an injury settlement, and moved in with his aunt, who asked him to leave
one week later.
James found the Good Shepherd Centre, and enrolled in their program, which is
supported by ShareLife funding. Providing him with a place to live and two months of
treatment, they also helped him to find affordable housing. He is now employed by a
staffing agency, and makes it a priority to return to the Centre on special occasions to, in
his words “give back to those who have given to me.”
The DARE program sent over 90 men to treatment in 2007, and 50 of these came back
for ongoing support. You may be wondering if you contributions helped; let me share a
quote from a client of the program
“If there is one thing you tell those kind people, tell them that their donations are life
saving. Without the DARE program, without the staff and Brothers, I might be dead in a
ditch. Tell them thank you for my sobriety. Thank you for saving my life.”
Sue was an immigrant mother who wanted to learn American Sign Language so she
could communicate with her son Joey, who was deaf. She contacted Silent Voice, a
ShareLife-funded agency, and started with their program The agency staff realized that
something was not right, though. Upon investigation, Sue explained that, although she
was a landed immigrant and Joey’s father was Canadian born, the four-year-old boy had
been labeled as a “burden on society,” a view supported by the family doctor, and was in
the process of being deported back to his birth country.
Our agency took steps to contact elected officials, arranged an assessment for Joey to
show that his only issue was his inability to hear, and gathered letters to support his
situation. The story ended well. Today, Joey is a Canadian citizen, attending a school for
the deaf during the year, and the camp program run by Silent Voice during the summer
Canadian Food for Children
Dr. Simone informed us that, with our ShareLife contribution, he is able to provide more
than 2 million meals to hungry children each year – now that’s an impact! The agency is
staffed entirely by volunteers, and two full truckloads per day are shipped to countries
around the world.
Loyola Arrupe Centre for Seniors
The residents of ShareLife funded Loyola Arrupe Seniors Centre are living proof that our
contributions make a difference. Rose, 69, says ShareLife’s support of Loyola Arrupe
programs helps her and other seniors enjoy a lifestyle they deserve.
“I love it here,” says Rose, whom moved to the Centre in the last few years. “There’s so
much to do in the building – we have a senior’s social once a week, exercise class,
computer rooms where we get computer lessons. We laugh and we joke and we play
cards. I find all the benefits great. You’re not alone. People are friendly. I find it very
beneficial because I feel I’m safe in the apartment. People are always around and if you
need anything they’re there to support you. It’s just great to be in a safe place with
people your own age.”
She says living there has enhanced her quality of life.
“I have a disability and I didn’t feel comfortable living alone in my house anymore.
After I saw (Loyola Arrupe), I knew this is where I wanted to be. I still have my
independence, but it’s comforting to know that if someone is always on staff. You’re not
alone. This place may not be here if it wasn’t for the support of people who donate to
About 12 years ago, Maggi knocked on the door at Street Have a ShareLife-funded
agency providing shelter, care and counseling for struggling women on the streets of
Toronto. Maggi had been clean for three years and getting her life together but she had a
relapse. She entered Street Haven’s Addiction Case Management program.
During her four years of therapy, Maggi grew increasingly stronger and eventually
started a peer support group, the Women’s Advisory Working Collective. In 2001, she
went back to school, studying Psychology, Theology and Counseling. It’s impressive
that Maggi attained her degree; it’s very impressive that she attained her Masters, but it’s
truly inspiring that in just four short years, she was on her way to earning her Ph.D.
Along the way, there were more hardships, but Maggi kept herself together and began her
own counseling practice.
Today, Maggi works as a Counselor in the very program that helped her get back on her
feet; Street Haven’s ACM program. Maggi’s success is a testament to her own strength
and determination, exemplifying the great work of Street Haven and the impact ShareLife
funding can have in the lives of those in need.
“I came to Our Place 21 years ago. I met people who replaced my family, who taught
kindness, who cared about me instead of focusing on the illness. I’ve met students,
Priests. I’ve laughed with friends. I’ve cried over the loss of 17 friends. I’ve cherished
every friendship. I always knew I had Our Place through everything, and they supported
me when my mother died and celebrated my accomplishments. Our Place is my place of
love and lasting friendships. I’ve gave back by volunteering as a DJ. The opportunity to
DJ taught me about sound equipment. I offer a shoulder when a friend needs me. Our
Place has changed me, and continues to open new social doors.”
Daniel, a member of Our Place.
Rose of Durham
As a pregnant, teenaged mom, Krysta was unmarried, confused and scared. She
desperately wanted to keep her child, but was unsure where to turn. Another mom-to-be
gave her the number for Rose of Durham, a ShareLife-funded agency That would have a
profound impact on Krysta, supporting and nurturing her through the pregnancy.
Nineteen, pregnant, and without a job, feeling defeated and depressed, Krysta, somehow
found the determination that she was going to make things work. Rose of Durham
provided so many positive experiences from couple counseling for Krysta and her
boyfriend, to pre-natal, nutrition and body image sessions. Each time Krysta visited “The
Rose” she was greeted with a smiling face. She left the group after eight weeks feeling
better about herself than she had in years.
After her daughter was born, Rose of Durham continued to support Krysta with regular
support group meeting, as well as cooking classes. They also provide correspondence
classes for young women looking to complete their education.
Krysta is currently enrolled as a student in Early Childhood Education. She is engaged to
her boyfriend and her parents continue to be supportive, babysitting when she had classes
and her fiancé is working. With the birth of her child, she has also seen her faith
renewed. As Krysta says, “The Rose has helped me learn to feel good about who I am
and what I do. I’ve learned to be proud of myself and have the confidence to be the best
mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend I can be.”