williamWilliam is reaching an important milestone just before Christmas this year. On December 21 he will be 50. While this is special on its own, there is so much more that he will be celebrating this year. Because William’s life has truly been transformed – in more ways than one.

It began on June 16 when William attended the graduation ceremony for The Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program (FSTP) to celebrate a friend who was part of the class. During the ceremony, a former graduate spoke glowingly about the program, but also about the help he received from The Mission with education programs for mature students. For William, learning about the FSTP and all of the other services available at The Mission was a revelation.

William’s life journey to this point had been marked by an unhappy family life, time in foster care, limited access to education, periods of homelessness and, most recently, unemployment. Sitting in the audience that day, all he could see ahead were possibilities – especially since he had always loved cooking. He approached Chef Ric after the ceremony (at this time with long hair and a beard) and asked how he could apply. Chef asked him to drop by the next day, and by then William, now clean shaven, had already begun his transformation (see photo!).
William is now three months into the five month FSTP, is earning top marks in his theory classes, and has employment offers from local caterers and restaurants. On top of that, William has gone back to school! With the help of staff at our Stepping Stones Learning Centre, William is busy accumulating credits that will earn him his high school diploma.

This Christmas season, as William celebrates a special birthday, his heart is filled with gratitude for the way his life has changed in such a short time, and he extends that gratitude to everyone at The Mission and to all those who support our work.