Hope in Action

October 2021


Every day, your generosity allows Ray of Hope to care for vulnerable people — physically, mentally and spiritually. Your gifts ensure our Community Centre guests have at least one warm, nutritious meal a day. They help to support young people struggling with addictions, crime or unemployment. And they offer opportunities for friendship and fellowship to those who feel lost and alone.

So, this Thanksgiving, our heartfelt message to you is … “Thanks for giving!”

How you helped Mark “get ahead”

Mark* was in a dark place in his life.

After serving a jail sentence, he’d finally found employment and a place to live. He was desperate to see his young son again. But his negative communication patterns led to repeated arguments with the child’s mother and conflict with Family and Children’s Services (FCS).

Then, Mark joined a new program that you helped fund called Getting Ahead.

You provide practical support

Getting Ahead is part of the Bridges Out of Poverty framework that underlies all of the Community Centre programs you support.

The framework is designed to increase awareness of the unique challenges faced by people living in poverty. It helps staff develop policies that better meet clients’ needs. Programs based on the framework – like Getting Ahead – give participants practical support so they can become self-sufficient.

“We often see generations of families using our services,” says Sara McKnight, Services Co-ordinator Team Lead. “But our goal is not just to feed them forever. We want to help them change their lives.”

Your support for the Getting Ahead program allows participants like Mark to discover resources and community supports. Through group discussions, they reflect on their individual situations and share challenges. Then they develop specific action plans to overcome those challenges.

A distressed young man rubs his eyes while holding his phone
Mark’s struggle with negative communication patterns prevented him from doing what he wanted most — spending time with his young son.

You help guests make lasting change

Mark realized that, during difficult conversations, he was reacting instead of responding. He was used to an environment where those who yelled loudest got their needs met first.

Recognizing and changing that behaviour wasn’t easy. But with help from the program facilitators and his fellow participants, Mark learned to communicate his needs clearly and calmly. Your support for Getting Ahead made a difference for Mark.

It took time, but Mark was able to rebuild his relationships with his former partner and FCS. Through your support and his efforts, the thing he wanted most has come true — he now has shared custody of his son.

“Through programs like Getting Ahead, you help people like Mark make changes that last,” Sara says. “When they’re ready, we are here for them, 100%.”

You can make dreams come true

Your support of the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC) provides warm, nutritious meals to people in need. It also provides resources to help people like Mark cope with the challenges they face. By supporting the ROHCC, you helped Mark take practical steps to improve his life.

You can make dreams come true for more people like Mark.  Your donation today through our secure donation page ensures that the Getting Ahead program will continue to bring peace and well-being to the people we serve. Thank you for being a Ray of Hope in your community.

*Name has been changed

A summer of challenge and change

Youth Addictions Services says goodbye to Glynis Burkhalter and hello to a new home.


Between the departure of long-time program director Glynis Burkhalter and the continuing stresses of the pandemic, it’s been a summer of challenge and change for Ray of Hope’s Youth Addictions Services (YAS).

But there have been positives too – a successful transition to online counselling, new programming for parents and most recently, a move to a more spacious facility for the Residential program – initiatives all aimed at helping young people and their families cope with the wide-ranging effects of substance misuse.

Continuing a vision

In August, Glynis Burkhalter, YAS’s program director since 2006, left Ray of Hope to open a private psychotherapy practice.

“Glynis was hugely instrumental in getting the Youth Addictions program up and running and helping it reach the standards that we have now,” says case manager Don Plant. Although she is greatly missed, Don says, “she left a good team behind. Everyone is doing their best to continue the work Glynis started.”

The new location for Youth Addiction Services’ residential program features a garden where participants are learning to grow vegetables.

A new home for Residential

In mid-August, YAS’s Residential program moved from its longtime location near Victoria Park to a new, more spacious home in central Kitchener. The new location was formerly the site of Ray of Hope’s open security program, which closed in March.

“It was a long process to get the house packed up. On top of the move, we had construction happening at the new location because we had to put an accessible washroom and individual showers in,” Don says.

Once staff and participants arrived at the new location, though, it didn’t take long for them to start making the space their own, Don says. “You could see definite changes within a week. “

The young men in the program are enjoying the spacious layout at the new house. For one thing, they can now fit desks in their rooms — “It’s more like their own bedroom at home,” Don says. In addition, the property has a large patio area where the youth can play basketball and volleyball; they are also able to experience activities they may never have tried, like gardening.

“Between staffing changes, leadership changes and COVID, it sometimes seems like the changes are never-ending,” Don says. “But we’re still here, and we’re working hard to meet the needs of the young people who come to us for help.”

If you would like more information about how Youth Addictions Services can help a young person you care about, please email us and we will return your message as soon as possible.

Help a neighbour in need

When you give, you make life a little easier for vulnerable people in our community. Thank you!

The Marketplace food hamper program has put out a special call for these items:

  • Canned fruit
  • Cereal
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Canned meat – ham, chicken, turkey, salmon
  • Granola bars
  • Soup

If you can donate any of these items, please contact us at: info@rayofhope.net.

You can also provide meals for hungry people through our secure donation page.