Today was Umbrella Day in Toronto. If you didn’t know this, don’t worry, neither did I.
I found out as I left the subway station and there was a pretty twentysomething girl holding a yellow bucket and an umbrella, collecting donations for Horizons for Youth.
If you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry about that either. Neither had I.
As I gave her my donation, I stopped to ask the young lady about the organization. Turns out, it operates a shelter and other programs for homeless youth, and has been doing so since 1994. Who knew?
You can probably guess what I did next… yup, good old Google.
Along with their 24-hour, 365-day-a-year shelter and services for homeless 16- to 24-year-olds, they also provide courses, workshops, counseling and a Life Skills Certification Program to help them get back on their feet.
Here’s one of their stories:
My name is Sam and I first came to Canada from the Caribbean in 2002. Since Canada has more opportunities than my home country, and my father was living in Toronto, my mother made the decision to send me here. Before coming to Canada at the age of 16, I hadn’t seen my father since I was a baby. He now lived with his new family, a family I did not know.
Since I was not provided with formal education opportunities in my country, my Canadian school placed me in a class for students with special needs. My father’s point of view was that since I was not smart, there was no point in continuing with school, and instead I should join the work force. This is when I decided to leave.
I left my father’s home and ended up at Horizons. Horizons helped me see that I AM SMART. They assisted me in returning to school, helped me find supportive housing, and are always there to support me.
Horizons is my Canadian family. I am still in school and doing great. I was so proud to bring the staff at Horizons my recent report card that was full of 80s and 90s. My Case Worker here even attended Parent Teacher night on behalf of my mother. This coming season I am starring in my school’s play. My Horizons family will be there in the front row, cheering me on.
Don’t you just love a happy ending? If you know of any, please share!