Annika Vander Kooy
Addiction Services Worker
The road to recovery for people who are homeless and dealing with addiction often starts at The Ottawa Mission. One of the programs that people can find daily support is The Mission’s Day Program, a drop in group for men and women living in the shelter or in the community who need help and want to learn more about their addiction.
The Day Program is facilitated every weekday by Annika Vander Kooy. Annika has had a passion for social work since being taken to her first anti-poverty rally at the young age of seven and now has a background in fine-arts and trauma work that she utilizes as an MSW.
Clients in the Day Program are unique and diverse, often expressing deeply felt emotions, wisdom and insight. Annika explains, “Everyone has their own story to share, but all the clients are connected by a common thread, which is what makes being in the room so powerful.”
She adds the Day Program helps individuals make connections, start to explore ‘whole person’ healing and gives them hope and belief that recovery is possible. “Part of my job is to create a safe space so that can happen,” says Annika. She believes in bringing passion, creativity and dynamic topics to the group.
“Every day I am grateful to be a witness to the courage and strength of others, to their stories and to their healing,” Annika shares, “and I thrive on the energy the group creates together in the room, it fuels me.”