Andrew came to stay with us a few months ago. He is 21 years old and has been on his own for a long time. We had some concerns about Andrew’s drinking and his safety, so the decision was made to keep him at our Drake location (we have two Crisis Shelter locations Drake & Pender same program just housed in two buildings). Drake Shelter fit his needs better, mostly due to its size and accessibility to his already established mental health supports.
When I first started working with Andrew I noticed right away that he was very quiet and spoke very little. I also noticed that he seemed to process things a bit slower as well. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get to know Andrew but I knew that it would take time and effort on my part. So day after day I chatted with Andrew...and each day he chatted a bit more with me. Having a sense of humor with Andrew also helped and making fun of myself did too!
Andrew struggled the first few months with his addictions, but after some scary situations, he decided that he wanted to quit drinking and look for his own housing once he was more stable. He set his goal on applying for the Rights of Passage Program (ROP), our transitional living program aimed at supporting youth learn independence. As Andrew worked on staying sober, he also set himself a goal of finding a job. This proved to be difficult for him due to some of his mental health limitations…so he got connected a job training program for extra support. He was able to secure a placement in the program and committed himself day in and day out to attending and participating in all aspects of the program.
As Andrew continued with his success in his job training program, he began to ask me almost daily as to when I would write him a referral letter for ROP, a requirement for the program. I was upfront with him and advised that I would write him a letter once he had several weeks of sobriety under his belt. So when he did, I kept my end of the deal and wrote him his referral letter. In this letter I explained the progress and changes that Andrew had made towards his goals and recommended him without hesitation for the program.
Andrew was accepted into the ROP program and he was so happy, you could see it written all over his face. I attended his ROP transition meeting and Andrew moved into ROP soon after. I plan to attend a community dinner at ROP to visit with Andrew and I look forward to catching up with him and learning about his new goals.