January 07, 2013

A New Journey for The Ottawa Mission

2013 will be the beginning of a new journey for The Ottawa Mission – and for me.

Last fall, at The Mission’s Annual General meeting, I announced that I would retire early in the new year.  After much thought and discussions with my family, my colleagues and the Mission Board of Directors, I have decided I will step down from my position at The Ottawa Mission this Friday, January 11th.

I want to thank everyone who has given such generous support over the years to The Mission and to the people in our community who are hungry, homeless and hurting.  Your donations, your time and your prayers bring hope to many, many people.  When I think of the conditions at The Ottawa Mission when I arrived here 23 years ago and look at it now, I am amazed and humbled.  All of the positive changes that have taken place could not have happened without your support.

A hospice was just a thought that I had, inspired by a man named Tim who was very sick and wanted to die among friends at The Mission.  It took a community of caring individuals and over 3 years to make the hospice a reality, and now more than 200 people have spent their last days in loving care instead of on the streets.  Thank you for bringing dignity to the dying.

Dental services were brought to The Mission by Dr. Tom Harle and now people do not have to live in embarrassment because of missing or decayed teeth.  Thank you to Dr. Harle and all the volunteer dental professionals who bring dignity to people living in shelters or on the street.

A medical clinic took two years to negotiate in partnership with Inner City Health – now people in need can receive medical services, and their health improves because treatment is close at hand.  Donations pay for a nurse practitioner, medical receptionist/lab technician, a medical supervisor, management oversight and all operational costs.  Thank you for bringing health care to homeless people.

A learning centre was a dream of mine because I taught school for 17 years before I came to The Mission.  It happened because supporters like you believed that education improves one’s self esteem and chances of integration back into the community.   The school is entirely funded by donations. Thank you for believing in education.

On-site training programs for kitchen and custodial staff succeed because we deal with the barriers that prevent people from being.  We look at their literacy level, their emotional readiness and their learning level.  Many students have gone on to full time work.   We have wonderful partnerships to support this effort but donations cover all direct costs.   Thank you for helping to get people back to work.

The LifeHouse 5-month residential addiction treatment program has been operating successfully since 1993. Many people credit LifeHouse with saving their lives.  This program relies solely on donations.  Thank you for helping those who are addicted and want to change their lives.

If you are a volunteer, we value the generous gift of your time.  Thank you for bringing life, love and the acceptance of the outside world into this space.

2013 will be a year of transition for the organization but with very capable and compassionate staff, volunteers and donors working together, I know the life changing programs and services will always be there for people who are homeless.

My time here has been so rewarding, and this special place will always be a part of my life. And you are a very important part of making miracles happen here. I bless and thank each one of you for your notes, your love and your generous spirit.  Please remember the less fortunate in our community, and continue to donate as you can.

May God bless you!

Diane Morrison, Executive Director