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April 2024

Hope in Action

Happy Easter! During this season when we celebrate new life, we’re especially grateful for our generous donors. Your kindness helps people like Lexi, whose story is in this issue, experience hope, connection, and positive change. With God’s help, we’re changing lives together. Thank you!

The face of a young blonde woman emerges from behind a white mask

Finding freedom from substance use

Your support helps young people like Lexi regain health and hope

Two years ago, 14-year-old Lexi felt lost and alone, trapped in an addiction that was destroying her mental health. But today — thanks to a Ray of Hope program supported, in part, by caring donors like you — she’s learning healthier ways to cope.

The pandemic was one of the darkest times in Lexi’s short life. Unable to see her friends or participate in her usual activities, she started feeling more and more isolated, anxious and depressed. A friend suggested that smoking marijuana might help her feel better. Lexi discovered that pot helped her forget about her worries and feel more at ease. As time went on, she began smoking more frequently, using the drug to numb her emotions.

Before she knew it, Lexi was prioritizing smoking over her schoolwork and hobbies. She began avoiding family and friends and spent more time alone, focused on getting high. But the more she smoked, the less relaxed she felt. It seemed like her anxiety was getting worse, not better.

“I knew I had a problem, but I was ashamed for anyone to know how bad it was,” she says. “And I didn’t know how to stop.”

A threat to developing brains

“Because marijuana is legal in Canada, many people think it’s harmless,” says Don Plant, Ray of Hope’s Youth Support Services Program Manager. “That’s not true.”

Research shows that using marijuana regularly can affect memory and the ability to learn. It can even put users at higher risk for developing mental health issues like anxiety, depression and psychosis. And for youth, the risk is greater because their brains are still developing up to age 25. (See Is cannabis safe to use? Facts for youth aged 13–17 years)

A teenage girl smokes cannabis. Text reads The earlier teens start using cannabis the more harm it can do.

Finding support and strategies

Fortunately, one of Lexi’s teachers suggested she and her family connect with Youth Support Services, which offers professional therapy through a range of programs for young people who want to overcome substance use and other compulsive behaviour concerns.

Lexi joined the Day Treatment program. Five days a week, she’s part of a small group of teens who are each following their own tailor-made treatment plan. As part of her plan, Lexi participates in individual counselling and group therapy sessions. Academic programming ensures she doesn’t fall behind in school, while recreational activities like rock climbing allow her body to generate “feel-good” hormones to replace the artificial high that marijuana once provided.

“I’m learning better ways to cope with my anxiety, but that’s not all,” Lexi says. “I feel like the program is helping me make healthier decisions in all areas of my life school, friends, home everything.”

Your support allows young people like Lexi to find freedom from substance use. To help today, please use this secure donation form and direct your gift to Youth Addiction Services. Thank you for helping kids build healthier futures!

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Play golf, have fun, help kids

Join us on Monday, June 17 at Rebel Creek for the 2024 edition of the Ray of Hope Golf Classic, in support of Ray of Hope’s Youth Support Services.

Included in your ticket price:

  • lunch
  • dinner
  • 18 holes of golf
  • cart rental
  • a charitable receipt for $50 per ticket

You can sign up as a foursome, a twosome, or an individual. Tickets are $200 per person or $800 per foursome. Purchase your tickets today.

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See your impact — and our appreciation

With your support, we’re investing in people, inspiring hope and transforming lives! Please join us at our Spring Donor Appreciation Open House on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

When: Drop into the Community Centre any time between 3-6 p.m.

Where: 659 King Street East in Kitchener (entrance is off Stirling Lane)

A toddler sitts ona bench while eating a sandwich from a lunchbox

Help a neighbour in need

You can help make life a little easier for people in our community who are struggling with food insecurity and other challenges. Thank you!

We have a special need for these items:

  • Hygiene items – razors, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, deodorant, toilet paper, etc.
  • Food for Marketplace – school-safe snacks, canned beans, canned veggies, pasta sauce, canned fruit, cereals, baking items, etc.
  • Track pants and shirts – all sizes.

For more information, please contact us at



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