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At this time of year, staff and volunteers at The Ottawa Mission are busy preparing for Christmas – making sure that hungry, homeless and hurting people in our community will have a way to celebrate the spirit of the Christmas season while staying in our shelter. Although no one would choose to spend Christmas in a shelter, this is a harsh reality for the 235 men who will stay with us every night during the winter. This year, however, Jim will not be among them.

Jim has had a remarkable year at The Mission. Early last year he came to us when he was at his lowest. He was fighting a losing battle with addiction, had lost his job, his family and his home, and was contemplating ending his life. He knew that he had to get help and make a commitment to changing his life before it was too late.

Jim has since completed all phases of our addiction treatment programming, and graduated from our five-month residential program – LifeHouse – in July. When we spoke to Jim this month, he had just achieved a full year of sobriety! As Jim says, “The support at The Mission is amazing. I have been given the care and the tools I needed to get my life back on track and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Jim is also spending time in our Stepping Stones learning centre where he is brushing up on his computer skills. His hope is to find work in the retail/customer service sector and also get back to volunteering in the community, something he has found very meaningful in the past.

Jim has been living in one of The Missions 2nd stage transitional houses for the past five months, but recently received some exciting news from our housing support team that his application to move into his own seniors’ apartment has been approved for December 1st – a very special milestone for Jim just in time for Christmas. Congratulations on a great year Jim, and Merry Christmas!

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