Our Stories is constantly evolving …new stories to share … watch for an expanded library coming soon for your reading enjoyment.
Please meet Annette, a 17 year-old who four months ago, moved in with her boyfriend’s family in Bolton. A family of faith, they worship in Caledon and have told CCS that their faith is the main reason they have opened their home to Annette, ‘a child in need.’ They have concerns about this living arrangement, but with the support they receive from CCS weekly, they are committed to seeing things through until Annette can secure a place of her own.
Annette was asked to leave her parents’ house when she was only 15 and has lived as a “couch surfer” since. Although she did not complete high school, she plans to pursue a college education. Currently studies are not feasible because she struggles with mental health and addiction, primarily alcohol abuse. Her parents abused alcohol throughout her childhood and today Annette’s physical health is compromised, even suffering multiple miscarriages.
Annette’s recent completion of CCS’ Life for Youth employment training program is a source of pride and accomplishment. She has been holding down a job in the community for the past six months. Annette benefitted from her eligibility for CCS’ Transportation program to travel to and from her job placements. Annette maintains a close connection with CCS’ Counselling Program, meeting with her Counsellor every week to receive supportive counselling, referrals to community services and she is registered for the Santa Fund. She has also received financial support to purchase work clothes, a winter jacket and winter boots.
Annette is a very forgiving soul who is pleased with her emerging independence. She is working on improving her relationship with some family members and learning how to create boundaries with those who do not contribute positively to her life goals.
Please meet George, age 39, who has three children with his first marriage which lasted 11 years. Two years ago he remarried and he and his new wife have a 4 year-old son. The family moved to Caledon a few years ago and his wife, who does not speak English well, found a welcoming environment at CCS’ LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes.
George visits the Exchange daily, which gives him the social connection he craves, and once weekly he ‘shops’ at CCS’ Food Support Program to provide fresh, nourishing food for his family. Monthly George receives an Ontario Works cheque which does not fully cover rent and basic expenses. Following a devastating traffic accident in which he was badly injured and could no longer work in his trade as a carpenter, he filed for bankruptcy in 2017.
Today, with no means of transportation he is presently in a legal battle with his ex-wife who wants to deny him access to his three children and move across the country to live in British Columbia. CCS’ Transportation Program regularly transports him to court hearings in Brampton.
George registered his family for the first time for the Santa Fund which he hopes will create a warm and happy holiday for his wife and young son and his other children when they visit on Christmas Day. George is motivated to return to work but understands working in carpentry is no longer an option. With the help of his CCS’ Employment Specialist, he plans to register for the Second Career Training Program, to work in financial services. George is receiving support for his aspirations from his CCS Jobs Caledon Coach and his CCS Counselling and Care Coordinator at the Exchange, making life immeasurably better for his whole family.
Please meet Nan, a single parent with mental health and addiction challenges, who moved to Caledon in the Fall of 2016. She approached CCS for help after learning about the organization through Caledon library staff. Nan has three children, aged 14, 9 and 7 and her youngest has special needs due to complications during childbirth. She has little contact with her ex-spouse, but he does continue to pay monthly child support.
Nan is very involved with her children’s well-being and is doing a good job. The Peel Children’s Aid is involved with her family and works closely with CCS to support the family. Nan is on Ontario Works and while she wants to secure a full-time job, she understands that this will make her childcare very complicated. Her two eldest children are both enrolled in enriched school learning programs and Nan encourages their academic pursuits, while doing her best to secure all three children access to extra-curricular activities.
Nan’s parents live in another province, but she visits her sister a few hours away when she can afford gas for her car. Nan recently learned about the Santa Fund and has registered to shop for gifts for her children. With food provided by the Santa Fund, she hopes to host a meal for her sister’s family over the holidays.
Nan’s family also benefits from CCS’ Food Support program, the Kidz in Caledon program (funds summer camps and organized recreational activities) and relies on Club Caledon for family membership to the Caledon Health and Wellness Centre. Nan is in regular contact with her CCS Counsellor when she needs support or is faced with a shortage of resources. Her housing situation is stable thanks to a low-rent apartment that CCS helped her secure a year ago. She attends Exchange activities regularly with her children and volunteers a few times every month at the CCS main office, helping out with administrative work.
Please meet Sandra, a married mother of two children, a daughter aged 7 and a son aged 4. Sandra started using CCS services three years ago when her husband became disabled as a result of a workplace accident. She regularly uses CCS’ Food Support Program, the “Help with Heat” program offered throughout the winter months and occasionally the confidential counselling services.
This is the third year that Sandra has registered her family for the Santa Fund. Her children are aware that the community supports them over the holiday season and throughout the year and they happily give back where they can. The family frequently volunteers at the Exchange, helping sort donations and stocking the pantry shelves.
Sandra recently inquired about speech therapy for her daughter who has developed a stutter. The costs were beyond what she could afford but with the help of her CCS Counsellor to submit an application through CCS’ Community Resources division, she will now receive a monthly allowance, providing six months of speech therapy for her daughter. This is only possible because of an Education Fund that is directly supported by last year’s Santa Fund campaign.
Sandra is also working with her CCS’ Counsellor to set a realistic budget, based on the Ontario Disability Support Payment that her husband receives and the occasional money she earns through house cleaning. She also talks frequently with her CCS Counsellor about parenting. Both she and her husband grew up in families with very strict parents and both struggle with anger control problems when they face crises. Sandra used Jobs Caledon services to successfully find a job in the food services industry but unfortunately became unemployed again when the restaurant closed. She hopes to pursue training to become a Personal Support Worker and to be employed by CCS in this new role!
Please meet Allan, a 77 year old man who recently lost his wife of 53 years to Cancer. He has three children who all live in Ontario but rarely visit him. He speaks fondly about all his children and grandchildren and often reminisces about the days when they were young and he was a very active father in their extras-curricular activities.
Allan had a traumatic childhood Raised by an abusive alcoholic father, he left home when he was 17 and worked odd jobs until he met his wife at the age of 21. She was an extremely strong influence on his life and they became regular members of a faith community. When she passed away his loneliness took hold and he began to drink alcohol. Over the past number of months Allan has had flashbacks of traumatic experiences which are causing him significant distress. He sees his CCS Counsellor weekly to talk about his loneliness and she has connected him with activities at the senior centre and the Exchange. These activities allow him to develop new relationships with peers during a trying period of grief.
Allan is a CCS’ Transportation client, as he can no longer drive due to failing eyesight. He is losing his hearing now and CCS will use funds from the Santa Fund to help him purchase hearing aids. Once these hearing aids are in place, a plan is being developed to pick him up twice a week and have him volunteer in Evolve Lifestyle, one of CCS’ fundraising stores.
Allan is on a very limited income and was asked if he’d like to register for the Santa Fund to provide him with a holiday meal and the ability to shop for gifts for his children and grandchildren. Although he was reluctant to accept this support, his CCS Counsellor encouraged him to register for Santa Fund so he could enjoy the holiday season, his first without his wife.