Many years ago, Jesse sat at The Doorway feeling defeated and disappointed as he told us his story of first becoming homeless. He explained how when he first landed at a shelter, hardly an adult, he stayed a whole week before a staff engaged in a conversation with him. Jesse is not alone in this experience. We have heard the stories of other young people who have had similar experiences where in moments of crisis they have felt their livelihood was entirely up to them. While we encourage young people to set their own goals and determine their path, no one must do this alone without a sympathetic listener.
Our new Street Outreach Program strives to consider the fact we do not know how many days someone has been on the street. While we do not know their history or their current situation, we may be able to contribute to changing the trajectory of their day or even their life. We are committed to approaching every individual with the intension to check-in, listen and support them where they are at – directly on the streets. Out on the streets, just like at The Doorway, people have shared goals and are trying to get off the street. No person on the street should feel like their livelihood is entirely up to them, and we understand the long-term value of a conversation and a compassionate person.
We also understand the need and value of having easy access to survival supplies when living on the street therefore one aspect of our program is providing hygiene items and food. In a short one-week period we can hand out close to 35 care packs, tons of fresh fruit and lots of cold water.
In addition to providing support to people on the street we are aiming to increase awareness about The Doorway and grow the number of young people we see in our space in effort to provide them with an opportunity to build hope, confidence, and support toward a better future. You can help us in Making Change Possible both on the streets and at The Doorway by donating to our Street Outreach Program today. Donated dollars will be used to buy items such as fresh fruit, juice, water, granola bars, fruit cups and other nutritious snacks as well as deodorant, underwear, and other not commonly donated hygiene supplies. Beyond supplies, we would like to hire a dedicated Youth Outreach worker who will lead this project on a longer-term basis beyond our initial summer pilot project.
Participants have taught us success in getting off the streets is not just about changing where you sleep, it’s changing the way you think. We have seen one of the most powerful tools we can provide a young person with is acceptance for who they are, with a belief in who they can be. When provided with this and a few other things young people begin to see Change is Possible, something many have doubted for a long time. The Doorway believes no young person should have given up on their future before the age of 30.
The Doorway welcomes all young people (17-30 years old) who want to get off the street. We are a community here to listen without judgement. We give young people a safe space where they can tap into their innate wisdom and chart their own path forward. Change is possible.
The Doorway is here for young people and commits to them for a two-year period. During that time, they come through our doors, set goals and engage with community members. For 33 years, our proven process has been consistent and over one thousand young people, at an average success rate of 70%, have reached their goals to get off the street.
For every goal they set, they earn $15 and for many of them, this is the first chance they have had in life to make money legally. As young people continue to step through our door, set and track goals and build relationships with community members, amazing changes happen. They become more confident, hopeful and resilient. Most importantly, they start to believe in themselves and in their ability to get off the street and join mainstream community.
There are many ways to invest in The Doorway and make a lasting impact for young people!
Financial Contributions: The Doorway receives no ongoing government funding and completely relies on generous individual donors, foundations and corporate or community groups. These funds help with participant incentives and costs and transit tickets. The Doorway would not be possible without compassionate Calgarians devoted to instilling hope and creating lasting change for young people. Visit https://thedoorway.ca/donate/ to make change possible today.
Community Corner: Our Community Corner is where we provide everyday items like food, clothing, toiletries for our young people to maintain their health and appearance. Do you have young adult children who have clothing ready to be passed along? Are you interested in organizing a small clothing or backpack drive? We also need items for our Street Outreach. Check out Items in Need to see what our current needs are.
Community Volunteer: Are you a compassionate, non-judgmental listener? The Doorway needs you! Community members are asked to give 2-3 hours per week to listen, encourage and support young people in thinking through their goals. Interested community members are encouraged to e-mail a letter of interest and current resume.
Board of Directors: Do you have experience as a Director or Treasurer? Are you brand new but interested in learning the ropes? The Doorway values having a diverse Board of Directors with a variety of backgrounds and skill sets. The most valuable credential is your passion to provide a better future for young people in Calgary. We encouraged you to e-mail a letter of interest and current resume.