Story of a Country Boy

I started out a young man in a small country town. Life was good, but early on things began to fall apart. My parents separated and home life began to crumble, a family member died, bullying happened a lot at school, to name but a few of my trials. I stated falling into depression. I began having trouble motivating myself, trouble getting up in the morning. I found it difficult to care about anything.

After a few years of life being hellish, a violent confrontation with my father ended up with me being placed at CHEO for a week in the mental health wing. This led to a new start at the YSB Young Men’s Emergency Shelter. After a few weeks of getting used to city life, getting used to the housing situation, I was able to get into the YSB Transitional Housing Program.

Things then began to fall into place. I was able to prove myself capable of being independent, I learnt life skills. I got off my medication and out of a depression that had been haunting me for 5 years. I started a new school program including in-class and in the field work experience. My grades skyrocketed from a 60% average to an 85% average, a 25% jump.

I was learning how to cook, how to take care of myself, how to be independent. I matured thanks to support of YSB staff. I have learned to do things without people holding my hand. Staff showed me options, encouraged me and I was able to succeed.

The stress in my life was less serious. I got to thinking more about my future and less about my immediate safety. The staff here are friendly but not my family, so I can take more risks and learn from mistakes, without causing rifts in my family.

Having stable housing means everything else is easier. I learned how to pay rent, learned to budget in an environment where making mistakes had less intense consequences. I had more freedom. I was not being bugged everyday, I could choose own path, which helped with motivation. If you get to choose what you want to do, there is a better chance that you will actually do it.

Right now I am moving into my own permanent one-bedroom apartment. I am continuing with my studies, doing the practical training part, everyday waking up at 5:30 a.m., getting to work at 8:00 a.m. and helping build a $300,000 home that a young family will one day live in. I come home and cook myself dinner. Then each day I do different things from homework, to connecting with staff, Ontario Works, family and friends. Then a little XBOX, and it’s off to bed.

When someone asks me how I am doing, I can actually say I am doing good, I am doing great. I guess I actually am a success story.