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The Ottawa Mission has been a partner in a very special program called Discovery University for several years now. DU allows people who are homeless or living on low incomes the opportunity to participate in non-credit, university-level Humanities and Social Sciences courses at no cost. This program is offered by The Ottawa Mission in partnership with the University of Ottawa, St. Paul University, and First Baptist Church, and is supported by generous donations from the community. The courses are taught on campus by university professors, and all textbooks and course materials are also provided at no cost.

This winter, there are two classes underway. The first one is “Brave New World – Ethical reflections on genetics, biotechnology and medicine in the 21st century”. This course examines the frontiers of medicine through the lens of ethics and each week the class discusses the ethical challenges posed by recent advances in medicine.

The second course is “The Geography of Home” which examines houses and homes from various angles and perspectives all related to social geography including history, economics and politics. Mary Anne is a student in this course. She tells us that Discovery U has made a very positive impact on her life.

“Discovery University has been a source of healing in my life”, says Mary Anne. “It has provided a sense of normalcy, when at the age of 60, I suddenly found myself homeless and penniless. It has rekindled my passion for learning, my love of reading and of taking part in discussion groups. I am so grateful for DU.”

When the two winter courses wrap up in a month, Mary Anne and the other men and women who complete the course will celebrate their love of learning at a special graduation ceremony. If you or someone you know would like more information about future DU courses, please email our DU Coordinator at or call 613-914-4575.

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