Compassion, Creativity, Community

Volunteers

Seeds of Hope Foundation has a 12 year history of operating two resource centres and five other housing projects that work to stop the ‘Revolving Door’ of homelessness with individuals moving from the street to police arrest to hospitalization and back to the street.  Our main focus has been to create ‘centres of friendship’ that are safe places where individuals who are at a crossroads in their lives can support one another.  People can be at a crossroads in their lives for many reasons, including recovery from addiction or mental health challenges, unemployment or just unfortunate circumstances.

Volunteer Opportunities at 6 St. Joseph and Yellow Door

6 St Joseph House operates as an ‘open space learning centres’ where programs are offered at no charge – known as the ‘Yellow Door Learning Centre’.  Many of our facilitators are volunteers who themselves have struggled with mental illness. These people and others provide over 40 art & wellness courses at our learning centre at 6 St Joseph House. One participant at the ‘Gratitude workshop’ says, “I thank the Creator every day.” Another at the ta­ble, a man with a humble demeanour and slight build, quickly adds: “If we receive gratitude the right way, we can receive even more”.

Our 5 housing projects operate ‘off the grid’ from normal social housing projects making it possible for us to respond quickly to specific needs of individuals asking for help.

Our new ’First Step’ home builds on our existing work by developing a ‘best practices’ model for other communities. It is an effective peer-based model that is relatively low cost and can transition individuals who have become homeless due to mental health and/or addiction challenges. This model has enabled Seeds of Hope to be responsive to community needs and to operate without government funding.

This initiative will demonstrate how the benefits of a ‘community model’ can complement traditional ‘medical/institutional models’. This model has been pioneered by Seeds of Hope Foundation in its past projects and is expanding with Rotary support.  At our existing houses, residents take an active role in managing the houses and each person contributes to the operation of their house. As residents regain their health they will have the opportunity to connect with a wider community and participate in meals, life-skills programs & creative arts activities that are offered at our Seeds of Hope centres and through our ‘Passport to Health’ partnership with five other centres.

Our work builds on the research of John McKnight, a professor of Social Policy at Northwest­ern University in Chicago who is a frequent visitor to Toronto. McKnight centres his work on the search for ‘the genius of local communities’. … he says that there is a relentless struggle between system (institutional) ways and associational (community) ways, and “what we have seen in our time is the ascendance of systems over associations; and we see how the systems of service colonize your life and my life.”

Friendship, says McKnight, is really the key for people to make real change in their lives; and developing friendships and relation­ships is what grounds us to the com­munity and makes us feel accepted and belong..…it is important to remember that this is not another service world that we’re developing. What we are de­veloping are friendships and hospitality, and you’re not paid for those things. They come through connecting people with other people. And so these community initiatives keep paid staff down to a mini­mum.”

McKnight states: "we are only at the beginning of exploring the possibility of a new vision for community. It is a vision of regeneration. It is a vision of re-associating the exiled. It is a vision of centring our lives more in community.

If you would like to volunteer, or get some more information on how you can help, Please:

contact us

 

Seeds of Hope Foundation   

Registered Charity Number

13929 8830 RR 0001

www.seedsofhope.ca

Seeds of Hope Foundation

Kimberly Curry

416-923-8836
kcurry@6stjoseph.ca