For Master’s student Adam, volunteering to offer counselling support to those at Homes First shelters wasn’t just way to give back, but also learn more about something very unknown to him; Toronto’s shelter system. Though unsure of what he might see or experience at the start, being part of the shelter system, even in volunteer capacity, opened his eyes to the experiences of residents, and the feeling of community in each space.
“It gave me a different understanding of what a shelter would look like.”
Joining Homes First in September of 2020, Adam wanted to put his theoretical knowledge into practice and offer a confidential, non-judgemental space where residents could talk one-on-one about what they were going through. Whether it was general anxiety or larger issues around addiction and loss, Adam became someone who lent a listening ear and counselling so residents could feel more confident about their next steps, or empowered about their situation.
Since starting with Homes First, Adam has put in over 40 hours of time with residents. While sessions were in person for a short time, his work with residents shifted to phone calls to make sure residents continued to have support.
For Adam, the most meaningful part of his time at Homes First is seeing the small changes in the residents he speaks with. He recalls one gentleman who, as a newcomer to Canada and was struggling with connecting to others. Over a 90-minute session, the residents left smiling and feeling more upbeat about his situation.
“For me it was a sign of what the program really entails. It’s being there, it’s offering support.”
As he continues the program via phone calls for now, Adam hopes to be back in the shelter when possible, to better support more residents.
Thank you Adam for your continued volunteerism and support of Homes First residents!