“Anne” is a 50 year-old single mother living in Regent Park. She registered with LabourLink in 2004. Anne was hoping to get off social assistance, having spent a few years struggling with divorce and alcohol. At first Anne took the odd cleaning job, and with the support and encouragement of staff began to take on more responsibility. When recruitment officers from the Regent Park Redevelopment Project requested LabourLink to provide a pool of candidates, Anne was successful. She participated in a 7 week training program with the USWA, joined the union and worked on a variety of building sites. She is now enrolled in the Air Conditioning/Furnace Repair and Maintenance course at George Brown College.
Back in 1995, Bill Cook found himself living in Dixon Hall’s Heyworth House shelter. His personal life had taken a turn for the worst and he needed support from the shelter staff. “After several unsuccessful attempts to find a place on my own, Dixon Hall came to my rescue.” Bill says. “I can’t say enough about Laura, my Housing Worker. She helped me so much!” Today, Bill is completing the Building Maintenance program at Ability Learning Network. He lives at the Dixon Neighbourhood Homes’ 30 St. Lawrence Street housing. “I’m happy here. The waiting list was long, but it was worth it. The place is clean, private and free from the druggies you find in other parts of the city.”
Growing up in Regent Park, O’Neil was exposed to all the dangers of the community, seemingly on a path towards crime and considered a youth at risk. But Dixon Hall was there. O’Neil connected with Kenneth, Dixon Hall’s Youth Worker whose office in Regent Park was a refuge for many youth in the area. O’Neil began dropping in on Kenneth to chat. Their conversations ranged from the mundane to issues of being stuck in a rut of crime and poverty. And so their friendship grew. One day, O’Neil was distraught. A violent incident involving some of his friends caused him to worry about his own future and he could see no way out. But Kenneth helped O’Neil see new possibilities. The two worked together and soon O’Neil was enrolled in the Social Work program at George Brown College. By 2008, O’Neil was working at Covenant House, helping others like him. Dixon Hall’s multi-service support and presence in Regent Park provides youth like O’Neil with the important knowledge that when they are ready to make changes and lift themselves up, we are there to help improve lives in meaningful ways.
That’s the Dixon Hall difference.
“When I was a Home Help Worker at Central Neighborhood House, I was helping a client who lived across the street from Dixon Hall. I asked about the place and found out that it was a good place to meet people and learn things. A while later, I went to Dixon Hall and learned that there was a Sewing and Craft class on Tuesdays with Mary Watterson. Sixteen years ago, before I fully retired, I started taking Tuesdays off to come to the programs. Ever since I moved to Canada and living in Toronto, I have found Dixon Hall has meant a lot to me, I enjoy the fellowship and the staff too. I have learned to make my clothes, learned to knit, enjoy the singing class and I enjoy the day trips.”
Carmen continues to be an active participant in Dixon Hall seniors programs. Recently she was one of several seniors who made a deputation to the Toronto District School Board to advocate for continuing education funding for seniors. She did a fantastic job representing Dixon Hall.