Dr. Phil RitchieSecond vice-chair

    Dr. Phil Ritchie is a psychologist who has worked at CHEO since 2008.  Prior to that, he was a psychologist with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board for 17 years.  Phil consults to the Ottawa Police Service tactical team negotiators and provides support to police following critical incidents.  He has consulted to the Department of National Defence, the City of Ottawa and Health Canada around critical incident preparedness, and has been involved in the response to a number of disasters including the crash of Swissair Flight 111, the OC Transpo shootings, the tsunami in Sri Lanka, and most recently, the OC Transpo/VIA train collision in Ottawa.

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    Milo's Story

    Every year when I was little, I’d think “this will be the year that everything will be okay”. And every year, I’d be crushed. By the time I was 18 I couldn’t take my dad’s drinking or my mom’s crying anymore, so I packed a knapsack with the warmest clothes I had and I left. It was freezing cold, and I was alone…but I was free.

    The next few months were rough and at times very scary. I spent nights in parks, doorways and even under bridges all with just an old sleeping bag a friend had given me. One night it was so cold that I walked until the sun came up, afraid that I would freeze to death if I slept.

    It took me awhile to get over the embarrassment to start asking people for money. But, it was swallow my pride or stay cold and hungry. After two weeks of doing this I learned about YSB. I didn’t know it then but, in that moment, my life changed for the better. I got connected to YSB’s Young Men’s Emergency Shelter and my first night in the shelter I slept 11 hours. I felt so safe and secure. I remember that moment clearly and I felt so hopeful I now have my own apartment in one of YSB’s long-term housing buildings, am attending college to become a graphic designer, and am working part-time to support myself.

    “For the first time I can remember, I’m really excited about my future. Growing up I just thought about getting by one day at a time.” I hope my story conveys just how life changing it was for me to be able to access YSB’s shelter during a really difficult time in my life. The team at YSB supported me every step of the way, and I’m grateful they were by my side. I hope you’ll consider taking the opportunity to transform the life of another young person like me today.

    Milo*

    *While Milo’s story is real his name has been changed to protect his privacy