Steve is a full-time carpenter in town. He’s been a carpenter all of his life. He loves what he does and looks forward to going to work each day. It wasn’t always that way.
Steve has spent much of his life struggling with addiction, homelessness and mental health issues. Because of the many days, months and years he has been supported by this caring community, he tries to give back where he can.
In fact, Steve’s been giving back ever since he got out of a 6-month local rehab program. He remembers how it felt to receive compassion, respect, and empathy from program staff, and likes to respond in-kind:
- 9 years of gifting Christmas bags and baking for rehab program participants
- Over 7 years of street outreach volunteerism
- 4 years volunteering with Out of the Cold, where he met the love of his life, Mel
- And more recently…community ambassador work with United Way of Kitchener Waterloo & Area; Peer Health Worker for Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, stationed at House of Friendship; and, Men’s Group Facilitator for House of Friendship’s men’s addiction treatment programs.
In between, Steve does as much public speaking as possible from a ‘lived person’s perspective’, to raise awareness and support for those experiencing addiction, mental health issues, and homelessness.
Steve and Mel currently share their home with 5 people who share some of Steve’s struggles and benefit from his compassion. He is now looking into the possibility of opening another house, particularly micro-housing. He’s also currently in the planning stages of trying to combine two of his passions: starting up a woodworking shop on his property and supporting people who have struggled with some of the same things he has experienced by employing them in the shop.
Fuelled by passion for the people with whom he walks, Steve continues to search out ways to give back with compassion, respect and empathy.