Annual Update 2019 – Letters from Marilyn and our Chair

2019 has been a powerful and impactful year for our Doorway community. We have witnessed young people wrestling with a myriad of issues, including addiction. We have listened to others who have escaped street culture, are going back to school, having and expecting babies and young parents proudly attending parenting classes.

The two things we are thrilled to have seen throughout 2019 is that young people remain engaged in life and an overwhelming spirit of hope! You will see these stories in our 2019 Annual Update. They show the ways your support and belief have impacted growth and hope within young people.

This is our job as community. Our young people need us to lead the way to meaning and purpose for building their lives forward. Community people offer the strong leadership so that youth can believe in themselves, trust in others and remain diligent to ‘keep showing up’ in pursuit of their goals.

Since the start of The Doorway community in 1988, people have walked strongly together in support and solidarity with young people. Community has supported youth in learning who they are, in understanding that autonomy delivers freedom and the responsibility to bring one’s best self to the life they have each been given.

There are not enough words for what I have learned in more than 30 years of daily conversations and engagement with young people. The honor of their trust is priceless. The adult worlds that have shaped them make up our society. They mirror in their lives who we are. How then, can we not think that if life is not working for them, that is about them and not about us?

The passion for young people came early in my life and has only strengthened over 33 years. As I transition my role to continue my support for them, The Doorway board has begun seeking a new leader to support the community of people who are The Doorway. Our new leader will be chosen for their embrace of our beliefs and practice, diligently honed over three decades of listening to young people.

30 years of participant writing (our Archives) is waiting to be explored in a qualitative research approach to storytelling. I will be working with community members and research advisers as we develop this rich store of learning. This past year we began working with a Calgary artist, Aron Hill, and have published Living Documents I, our first journal of youth voice. Living Documents 2 will be launched on November 3 at the Humainologie Gallery and we hope you will join us.

We also worked with our archives and an academic friend and sociologist, Jill Rosenbaum. to submit an article about The Doorway Approach to Child Care in Practice, a quarterly journal produced in Northern Ireland, which carries papers and targets international audiences. We are encouraged by its potential influence as international readers can be child welfare professionals and the future of our sectors; university students. Our proudest accomplishment in this paper is the inclusion of 40 youth voices, ending with a list of 10 of their Policy Recommendations.

This work will reference our newly designed WE database and continue to support Kaitlin’s leadership in implementing a more robust communication strategy to offer insight gained in this learning to the larger community. Our history and the voices of nearly 1,000 young people who have come before now will retell how they experienced our society over the years, and we will understand even more deeply that nothing much has changed for young people! AND together we can change that!

Thank you for your continued support.

M.D

Letter from Our Chair

The Doorway exists to ‘Make Change Possible’ and 2019 has been a year of compelling changes for the youth who have walked through our door. Another  change that is on the horizon is Marilyn Dyck will retire from the role of Executive Director after 33 years of service and focus her efforts on examining 30 years of archives from youth who have passed through The Doorway.

As a society and community we are indebted to Marilyn for her commitment to ensuring young people have had a place to go, and be heard when faced with the realities of living in street culture. As directors of this society we are entrusted as caretakers of not only Marilyn’s legacy, but also her vision for the future.

We are accountable to donors, staff, society members and volunteers in ensuring The Doorway’s process continues to thrive through this transition. Most of all, we are accountable to the young people who are The Doorway. These young people are making investments in the community and themselves every time they visit The Doorway and we will continue to offer the safe space, listening and support that we have for 33 years.

And this is what leads to success, a safe place where reflection and experience are key ingredients. The Doorway provides the time and space for young people to observe and practice the skills needed to participate in community as adults.

And this is what leads to success, a safe place where reflection and experience are key ingredients. The Doorway provides the time and space for young people to observe and practice the skills needed to participate in community as adults.

And this is what leads to success, a safe place where reflection and experience are key ingredients. The Doorway provides the time and space for young people to observe and practice the skills needed to participate in community as adults.

The Doorway is the Village where community has supported over 1,200 young people as they transition their lives away from the street.

Marilyn’s leadership over this process has always been defined by perseverance and grace and her belief in people and community has never wavered. She has built the place where we come together as community to raise up our most vulnerable young people.

In the spirit of celebration and our deepest appreciation, we thank you Marilyn and we thank you, our community, for your support.

Sincerely,

Andrew Hunter

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