Living with Support is a Recipe for Success

Jun 20, 2013 by

Asked if he would do anything differently, Paul replies “Do differently? Nothing. It has turned out really well staying with Shepherds”.  Born and raised in Bathurst, NB, Paul was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1974.  He remembers the doctor telling him he was going to be “sick for life”.  It started when he was 17 years old and he has been taking medication since he was 18.  “I never imagined getting sick.  I envisioned going to university and getting a regular job”, Paul says. Like his Dad, he signed on to work for CN Rail and held a warehouse job until he couldn’t anymore.  He succumbed to the strong on-set of his illness and needed to find ways of coping.  At age 32, the former Boy Scout and high school graduate who had excelled at basketball, baseball, hockey and other disciplines, suffered a significant traumatic event that led him to move out from his parent’s basement and leave New Brunswick for good.

Prior to that event, in the summer of 1978, Paul took a train trip using a complimentary ticket obtained by his father.  His destination was Ottawa and the purpose of his visit was to attend a concert he ultimately wouldn’t attend because it was sold out. Not wanting to be disappointed with the long journey, Paul rode his bicycle around town and liked what he saw.  Twelve years later, he would move to Ottawa permanently.

His first stay with Shepherds of Good Hope was in Hope Outreach, back then a shelter for homeless people located on St. Patrick Street.  Soon after, Paul moved to a new Shepherds’ Supportive Housing program and has lived in various incarnations of this program ever since.  Presently, Paul resides in Hope Living, located on the 3rd floor of 256 King Edward Ave.  Like he says, throughout his tenancy with Shepherds he has remained “the same Paul, same personality”.

Paul is one of the nicest and polite people I’ve ever met anywhere.  His memory is nearly photographical, his ability to remember details remarkable.  He sighs when talking about the many landmarks around downtown that no longer exist and shares memories of times spent in them.  But the one constant in his life has been Shepherds of Good Hope.  He is appreciative of the services he’s received over the years and the staff who have supported him.  “Good food, caring staff. They understand me very well”.

He might be too modest to admit it, but while Paul continues to be the same person he always was, he has changed and grown in many ways. He has gone from being a very private tenant to one that now participates in community-building activities consistently.  He wouldn’t attend anything at first.  However, slowly but steadily and with encouragement he started to partake and come out more, getting involved in life in the program.  He can also do more things for himself now than what he could when he first arrived.  He’s able to take his medication by himself and travels to and from appointments without the need of an escort or reminders.  His cooking, although limited to a custom menu and complemented by take-out now and again, is much improved.    His unit is in good condition and his budgeting habits are exemplary. It has turned out well, indeed.

Paul is grateful to you and all your support.  Without you, he may not be the success he is today.

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