Walking by a homeless person can ruin 15-year-old Noah Hunt’s day. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to live on the street,” he said. “When I see someone struggling, it makes me feel awful.” Living in Toronto, it’s not unusual for him to encounter homelessness. Youth are especially heartbreaking because, as a teen, [...]
When Adam moved from our crisis shelter to the longer-term housing program, CIBC Rights of Passage, I was told it had been two years since he last spoke in full sentences. He wouldn’t say more than a word or two. One day, I accompanied him on an appointment in the community. Like usual, he was [...]
Omar remembers returning to Toronto and calling both his parents, every relative and even distant family friends. Nobody answered. He panicked and sank into despair, even considering ending his life. He had nowhere to go. He spent a long time thinking at a downtown subway station before finally realizing there was nothing left to do [...]
When Marissa was 16, her mother’s boyfriend tried to make a pass at her. Her mother did not want to believe her and feared any confrontation with him. After Marissa rejected him, he was determined to make her life difficult. She was trapped in her home for days unable to leave except to go to [...]
At just 13 years old, Shawn was recruited to an infamous street gang by his mother’s friends. For two years, they beat him to groom him for a life of violence. “They wanted to toughen me up. They wanted a soldier,” he explains.