A Message from the Executive Director
The past year was full of trials and challenges, but also brightened by wonderful stories of transformation. As our economic downturn continues, we know that many people are struggling financially. With this in mind, we are incredibly grateful for those of you who have continued to give. While the going is tough, we’re seeing more guests accessing our recovery programs and we need your help!
The economy is not the only challenge. Fentanyl has become a huge problem here in Calgary and at the Dream Centre, 80% of our guys in the tower have tried it. In response to these issues, we’re beginning to separate the youth into their own program so they can be monitored more carefully.
As we grow our programs and empower our guests to work towards recovery daily, we are motivated by the goal of seeing each of them return home to their families. I hope you know the huge part you play in making these reunions possible.
In honour of Family Day, please read through this newsletter and remember those families who are hoping to be reunited in 2017. As you read Alejandro’s story, please remember that, because of you, Alejandro now calls the Dream Centre his family and home.
My name is Alejandro and the Calgary Dream Centre saved my life.
I grew up in Mexico in an abusive home. I felt like I was worthless. I began to struggle with anger and depression when I was very young, and started drinking when I was 13 to hide from the pain.
I was kicked out when I was 17, and used drinking and partying to hide from my pain. I had no knowledge about how to deal with my depression. I went to a very dark place for the next few years, and began to do different drugs. I overdosed multiple times, and tried to commit suicide three times.
When I was 22, I moved to Canada to find a new life. However, my depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts followed me here. I felt angry that I couldn’t get my depression to go away so I did anything I could to stop myself from feeling—cocaine, alcohol, anything. Eventually, I ended up homeless. One day, I was busking on the street when I heard a voice tell me to knock on the door of an Anglican Church in Airdrie, and when I did a lady invited me in.
“I thank God everyday for leading me to the Dream Centre where my life was changed.” —Alejandro
I don’t know what she saw in me—my body was falling apart, my hair and beard had grown out really long, and I had rotten teeth—but she invited me in, fed me, and introduced me to her church. They let me play my guitar at worship on Sunday mornings and I have never felt so loved and accepted.
I began to think about my life and how things always seemed to be spiralling out of control. Addiction was not helping me, it just kept taking me to darker places. So when a friend told me about the Calgary Dream Centre and offered to drive me to Calgary, I accepted!
On March 12, 2016, I joined the Dream Centre’s Youth Addiction Recovery Program and my life was forever changed. This program taught me about the love of God while giving me knowledge about the disease of addiction. I realized I wasn’t alone and that there are other people who struggle with the same thing. I belonged here. There were times when recovery was rough because I was facing demons in my life, but it was good because I was learning how to forgive and deal with my emotions in a healthy way. The Dream Centre is a gift from heaven in my life. They have provided me with a place to live, nutritious meals, recovery, a job, but most of all the belief that I am worthy of a full life. I feel like a completely different person now, able to experience joy and peace, with no desire to do drugs. I feel completely healed. Last year I was at the end of my rope and today I have a bright future ahead of me.
I thank God everyday for leading me to the Dream Centre where my life was changed.
Let’s Hear it from Our Guys
In Centre B, some of the men have lived together for four years, creating a living situation that is much homier than its name. They are all at different stages of recovery, so those who’ve been sober for longer mentor and support the guys who are still new at it. To demonstrate the transformations that your gifts create, we’d like to introduce you to some of our guys.
“I went from a very bad situation to the Dream Centre and the Dream Centre saved me. This group especially has diversity, but we respect our differences and get along.”
-Les, guest for four years
“There is harmony in the house. If I hear Les out in the kitchen I’ll come out and spark up a conversation.”
-Michael, guest for four years
“Even in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve transitioned from being an isolated person to getting outside of my box. Everyone here makes that easy, helping my transition through being very friendly, welcoming, and respectful.”
-Tim, guest for less than three months
The guys will all go out to Tim Horton’s together and really help take care of each other day to day. “I have really bad arthritis and the guys are always good to help me get around and drive me places,” says Michael. “I truly believe we’re all brothers and friends.”
“I like the dynamic of the house because everyone is in a different place of wellness,” says Hermina, their case manager. “The guys are just great and we always have fun.”
We’re incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve received, for people like Les, Michael and Tim. Would you consider becoming a Partner of Change today, and giving monthly to provide ongoing support for programs like Living in Community?
Easter is Around the Corner
Easter is less than two months away and we’re already preparing for the festivities. In honour of the special day and everything it means, we’ll be hosting a meal for all of our guests and their families. Setting time aside to encourage one another is crucial to leading happy, healthy lives full of renewal and forward momentum. We look forward to sharing more details about our Easter celebration as the weeks unfold!
Please give generously in the spirit of hope and restoration, as we approach the Easter season.
Transform a life today
$150.00 supports a person
in recovery for 3 days