Community Advocacy Program
Providing the same support to others that she herself received
She had been in Canada for just three days.
That’s when “Ariel” first came to the Community Advocacy office. A Canadian citizen by birth, her family had moved from Canada to the United States when she was 2 years old and that is where she remained until legal issues saw her deported to Toronto.
Ariel had no siblings and both of her parents had died years ago and so she found herself stranded in a city she knew little about with no friends, contacts, and nothing more than the clothes on her back. When she arrived at CRC, she was homeless, accessing the shelter system, with no income or supports. The Community Advocates connected her with a CRC housing worker as well as helped her access Ontario Works. They also made her aware of the other programs CRC had to offer.
After her initial appointment, Ariel returned often to CRC, making use of the meals, showers, and clothing program. While she was receiving support to look for affordable housing and because she found the shelters in Toronto unsafe, she lived in a tent in the Don Valley as often as the weather permitted.
Despite her bleak situation, Ariel never lost her bubbly personality and optimistic attitude – however it was difficult for her to get ahead. How can someone move forward to get work or an education when they don’t know where they will sleep that night or what the next day will bring? And, even for someone who is a citizen with no language barriers, getting work without Canadian experience can be incredibly difficult.
Ariel learned of the CRC Community Action Training program and applied. She was accepted and went on to become one of the 14 graduates of the program in June 2016. While attending the 12-week workshop series, her perseverance and upbeat personality helped her to get an apartment at CRC’s 40 Oaks Housing Community. Now, almost a year since she arrived in Canada, she applied and has become a Community Advocate so she can provide the same support to others that she herself received.
By Justine Barone, Community Advocacy Coordinator