Daniel’s* perseverance and talent have seen him through a lot in his life. And it’s those gifts which have carried him through the past year, in helping him get back on his feet and create a plan to reach his goals.
Due to COVID, Daniel was jobless, food insecure and without kitchen equipment to prepare hot meals. Struggling, he reached out to his uncle who suggested YSM’s Evergreen for accessing food.
Hesitant to venture to a new place, Daniel did some research. His main concern was qualifying for meals. Liam, the receptionist at our Evergreen Centre, assured him anyone 25 years or younger could receive meals, no strings attached.
Liam was the first person Daniel saw when he entered Evergreen and received a warm “I’m glad you came!” to welcome him. Daniel’s tension disappeared with that instant connection.
“I’m a chef,” commented Daniel, “and the food offered was really good quality.” When Daniel had to isolate due to COVID, Evergreen staff would regularly deliver food to his home nearby. “They are providing dignity to people who can’t provide for themselves.”
It wasn’t just the food that kept Daniel coming back, it was the connections he was making among the Evergreen community and staff. Liam set up doctors’ appointments and guided him to Employment Services where Daniel met Arilaidy, an Employment Counsellor. Arilaidy helped Daniel design his resumé, understand shifts in the job market, secure Smart Serve training and called to check in on him every other day while he was in isolation.
Daniel recalls one of his favourite memories with Cheryl, Evergreen’s Drop-In Coordinator. They were looking for clothes for an upcoming job interview. Cheryl eagerly engaged in telling him what would suit him best – like friends shopping together. She also gave him a coat, toothbrush, socks and other essentials. “I felt showered with love,” reflected Daniel.
With YSM’s encouragement, Daniel is continuing his education to become a Kitchen Manager, and also plans to start counselling with YSM’s Mental Health team. He told staff, “It’s time in my life to give power to my own voice,” and remarked how YSM has been making such steps forward possible.
To donors, Daniel says, “I don’t know how you heard of YSM, but thank you for supporting it. It’s a different experience, completely different. It’s the one you want. You see it in any youth who come in. They look comfortable, they hate leaving. There are very friendly people around that wave at you, but don’t force you to be cheery. They waved every time I came and I thought it was weird, but nice. The moment I wanted to smile back they were there for it.”
*Name and image changed to protect privacy
Learn more about our Evergreen Centre for Street-involved Youth at ysm.ca/evergreen
For our 125th anniversary we’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to ‘the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . .
- Give 6 job interviews to youth looking for meaningful employment
- Give 6 professional outfits so community members can access clothing for interviews
- Give $6 a month to give youth like Daniel healthy meals while they work to improve their lives
- The possibilities are endless!
What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at ysm.ca/GIVE6IX.