“I didn’t know where to go when I left home, so I dialed the operator and she put me through to Covenant House,” Joe recalls. “I didn’t have anywhere to go, and I was very lucky that I found Covenant House.”
As a toddler, Joe had immigrated to Toronto with his family from the Philippines. His parents and their seven children lived in tight quarters while Joe’s dad struggled to support his family. The situation was often difficult and stressful, and child welfare authorities sometimes checked on the family.
When Joe arrived he stayed in our shelter, but he soon moved into our longer-term residence that we call Rights of Passage (ROP). “I got so much support from the staff there that I was eventually able to go back to school and graduate.”
“I got more attention there than I had ever gotten anywhere else. It was the first time I felt I was at home. I really grew up there,” Joe says.
When he left at 18, Joe got an apartment with some friends and continued his studies at York University.
Today, Joe has earned an Honours degree in biology and is finishing his Master’s. He’s applied to medical school and his goal is to work with the homeless.