A Message from the Executive Director
As we anticipate the Christmas season here at the Calgary Dream Centre, we’re already preparing for our annual Christmas meal, to meet the increasing needs of the community during the cold winter months. Our desire is for the season to bring warmth and happiness to our guests—and renewed inspiration that’s needed to change lives.
We’ll be decorating the Dream Centre together with our guests, putting up a tree and hanging the ornaments sent in by generous donors like you to spread holiday wishes. It’s always amazing to see our guests achieve recovery and return to their families with a whole new, bright outlook. And at Christmas time, it’s especially wonderful to watch families reuniting.
Thank you for everything you’ve done to support recovery and life change in our community. As we rise to meet the needs that winter brings, I hope that you will continue to give generously. After all, Christmas is the time to reflect on the greatest gift we’ve ever received and the perfect time to share these blessings to people who are vulnerable and facing hardship this season.
May your Christmas season be filled with the love of friends and family and hope for a better tomorrow.
Darren and Holly’s Story
A Family Reunited
My name is Holly, and, because of the Calgary Dream Centre, I have my dad back this Christmas.
I had an amazing childhood and my dad was very involved in my life. He coached my sports teams and we had a very active, fun, positive relationship while I was growing up. Even when my parents split up, my dad was always a big part of my life.
When I was 14, I decided to move in with my dad, and began noticing that something wasn’t right. He always made sure I was cared for, but I was alone a lot. When I realized that he was abusing drugs, I had to grow up quickly.
I moved out and joined an outreach school when I was 16 so I could work to support myself. I felt very insecure. Gradually, my dad became less and less like himself. I couldn’t trust him anymore.
My dad became homeless when he was 45 years old. I stayed in contact with him and did whatever I could to help. I never doubted his love for me, but our relationship became more distant. I felt isolated and didn’t know how to talk about it with my friends because I was embarrassed.
Eventually, I invited my dad to come live with me, but unfortunately, his addiction was still in control. One day, he pawned every valuable item I owned. My heart sank when I found evidence that he’d been injecting drugs in my house. I managed to retrieve my belongings, but felt an impending sense of doom—like I could lose my father forever. My mom, stepdad, and I drove him to a detox center and I have never felt more lost.
In January 2016, my dad joined the Calgary Dream Centre’s Transitional Housing Program. Once I saw how the Dream Centre was changing him, we began going for coffee more regularly and I invited him to my home. We even went to a family reunion together. Eventually, he got a job at the Dream Centre working in the kitchen, and he grew in confidence, self-worth, and responsibility. For the first time ever, because of the Dream Centre, my dad told me he is totally done with drugs.
No other place has had the flexibility and specialization that my dad needed to grow and become who he is today. This past July, my dad invited me to the Dream Centre for the Stampede Breakfast, and it was there that I decided to give back in whatever way I could. I’ve started serving meals at the Dream Centre alongside my dad, and through our experiences serving together, it really feels like we’re building a strong relationship.
Today, my dad has his own apartment and we’re looking forward to spending Christmas there. My dad is going to put up his own tree. We’ll decorate it together, cook up a turkey dinner and exchange gifts. My dad is back, we’re closer than ever, and it’s all because of the Calgary Dream Centre!
A Donor Shares her Story
The Action of Kindness
On Christmas morning of 2014, I drove by the Calgary Dream Centre. I don’t know why I looked over, but I did, and I saw one person sitting in the dining hall. I found myself wondering what his life was like. That image of him stayed with me for a month—after all the busyness of Christmas wore away—and finally I decided I had to find out more about the Dream Centre.
I started out by becoming a monthly donor and then I booked a tour. I was so impressed. I love the graduations on Fridays, the high success rate, and the way the meals are served. That was the biggest thing for me—realizing that nobody was going to go hungry. From then on I sponsored the kitchen program.
I loved meeting the guests and the staff, and seeing the direct impact of my gifts. I’m glad to know that a place like this is available to help people who are struggling, who are on the street, and who have no place to go. I’ve seen so much success here with the men in recovery and I’m excited about the women’s program too. If you’re in a position where you can give back, giving to the Dream Centre is a wonderful opportunity. And signing up to give monthly is convenient. You never need to worry that you’ll forget to give! Who knows, one day any of us could be down and out and it’s good to know that places like this exist. It’s very important to me to always give back.
—Pam, monthly donor
Please give generously to support our Christmas meal, where families are reunited. We’d love for you to consider joining our Partners of Change program, and lending ongoing strength to our recovery programs by giving monthly.
Transform a Life
$50.00 supports 1 person