Self-determination enables The Doorway to use a ‘help them, help themselves’ philosophy when supporting young people to move from street to mainstream culture. Read ‘I Can Now Problem Solve’ on The Doorway blog to hear one young persons journey back to hope and confidence.
My entire life so far was that of being dependent upon social services and I wanted nothing more than to be independent of it. I was at the end of my rope. I had no place to stay the night, no food, no work and, naturally, no hope. I happened to glance at the Street Survival Guide and noticed The Doorway. It offered help with housing, education and coping. I phoned and was told to come down. I didn’t want to journey into the unfamiliar from my comfortable downtown-core surroundings. For the first time in about a year I had somewhere to go, maybe even something to do.
It was sept.4 when I came to The Doorway for the first time. I was expecting help to just be given to me, (like other places) but found instead having to search inside myself for goals and ambitions. I remember it shocked me a little bit back into reality. I remember how terribly difficult it was contracting my first 8 steps. I hadn’t needed to make any decisions on my future in quite a while. My first 2 contracts were for food and to find myself shelter for the night. I left here with my first goal in a long time and it worked. That evening I ate and found a place to live. I returned the next following 3 days, contracted myself for legal purposes, hygiene, and health. I found this contracting helped almost immediately, boosting my confidence (such as clean laundry) and by giving me goals to ponder.
I can still remember my conditions radically changed that first month; it was like waking my conscience up from a 2-year dream. For ‘state-of-mind’ reasons, it’s easier not having goals and/or ambitions while living on the streets, dreams are just too easily broken down there. Only a couple weeks in The Doorway program, I could sense my ‘long-gone’ self-confidence returning as well as the feeling of some hope. By the start of the month I found a stable home and was at least aware of my state and surroundings. I came to Doorway staff openly with my problems. I was glad for the staff’s non-judgmental policies and the way they helped me to think and start problem solving for myself. Now I was excited, that there just may be possibilities.
I wanted to start learning, to start maturing and to leave downtown for good. I had a couple of my first goals. I contracted to learn the computer, learn to make resumes and to start looking for work. By the next couple of months I was contracting myself for more mature steps; such as adjusting my sleeping hours reasonably, searching for apprenticeships and looking for work programs. In only 3 months’ time I had moved out of the streets, found the odd work and witnessed my health drastically improve. I noticed myself starting to think things thru and problem solve.
By Feb I was still depending on the gov’t system and wanted nothing more than to be off support. I then got myself a job dry walling. I went off of government financial support and told them I didn’t need help anymore, so they closed my file. When I went to work we found that I wasn’t strong or tall enough for this type of work. Naturally, when I went back to welfare they told me they couldn’t aid me for various reasons. Well, normally I would’ve grown distraught and depressed but instead I problem solved it. Because my past contracts were ever building myself up slowly (like steps to stairs), this didn’t come as a shock to my system, I instead contracted myself for straight employment.
I’ve since been working, paying my rent and keeping myself from backsliding.’ Now it’s June. By the end of the month, I’ll be in my own place. Now I’m contracting myself to be reliable and to get even healthier. I find myself arising early every morning now with something to gain and a lot to lose. I no longer hang downtown or with unhealthy groups. I know soon I’ll be away from the system for good, I have confidence and hope and am always looking for ways to better my life with problem solving.
The Doorway has not only helped me financially but has helped me help myself and THAT is the only way our society can be cleaned up. There are many organizations that provide to youth who are homeless but none challenge, none of them consider the future as The Doorway is able to. Resumes, computer training, job leads, resources, financial, goals, housing, education, hygiene, planning, and drugs/alcohol, legal; these are just some of the issues that can be reviewed at The Doorway. And of course, PROBLEM SOLVING!