Read more about how The George Hull Centre is impacting the lives of their clients.
“The George Hull Centre Never Gave up on me”
I first became familiar with the services of The George Hull Centre for Children and Families back in grade six when I was going through a tough time. What started out as minor anxiety at soccer games and when I was in large crowds, eventually turned into full blown panic attacks almost daily at school. They were so severe at times and so scary, I could barely make it out the door some days. I cannot tell you how frightening and how debilitating this was for me at age 12. I didn‘t know how to explain what I was going through to anyone –especially because I did not know what I was going through, myself. Trying to explain yourself to someone when you yourself don‘t get it is frustrating.
Thankfully my mother received a referral to The George Hull Centre for Children and Families from our family doctor. From there I received counselling and this evolved over the years as my anxiety changed as my external circumstances changed. There were times when I felt things would never change for the better. There were times when I acted out my frustration. There were times when I felt like giving up. I am grateful that George Hull Centre never gave up on me and that they were with me every step of the way, through this gradual process of recovery. It was not easy but it was comforting to know I had a huge family of support behind me at the Centre.
My family eventually moved and the fear of leaving the support of George Hull Centre was huge. The staff at George Hull were caring and understanding in their transitioning me over to another centre in my new city. I was sent from one set of caring hands to another –thanks to The George Hull Centre for Children and Families and their follow-up on my behalf.
I just graduated with my grade 12 diploma last week. This is a milestone I thought I would never reach. I will always be grateful to the caring and compassionate clinicians at The George Hull Centre for Children and Families. Not only did they provide me with the support and guidance I needed to cope with my life back then, but they helped me prepare for my future –a future that just keeps looking brighter and brighter. I am truly grateful for the difference they have made in my life.
“I Found People Who Listened”
I came to Clear Directions trying to beat my drug and alcohol addiction. I was drinking every day. Sometimes I would go a week or more without sleeping or eating. I was being abused and at one time had been almost beaten to death by my boyfriend. I was being charged and had spent many months in jail. I had been kicked out of my home when I was 14 and was living with friends on the streets. I was sexually molested by my father’s best friend, one week before I was asked to leave my home.
When I came to Clear Directions I was a mess. I had just gotten out of jail two days before I came into the program. Clear Directions placed me in a group home because I had no place to live. I was very unsure as to being in a drug treatment program because I had not been in school for three years, but the staff at the program made me feel welcome and comfortable. They were here to help me with my withdrawal stages and never looked down on me when I did go and drink. They got me back into getting school credits and helped me with my family problems.
When I first came, I had not seen my family in almost three or four years, but now I see them on a regular basis. I have come a long way since then and now as I am leaving the program have nothing but gratitude because if it was not for this program, I could be dead right now. The only advice I can give to those in other programs is never rush a recovery; it takes a lot of time and patience. Never look down on anyone because of their decisions, always let them know that there are other options and people to help. For me, the most important part was to have someone who listened as well as gave me that little push to a new life.
“My Son Now Has A Future”
My son’s criminal precociousness had been emerging since he was 10. He moved with a fast crowd that was several years his senior. He committed crimes with little remorse; he used drugs and became detached from the family emotionally before he became a teenager. It seemed hopeless. He seemed unreachable. At 13, he entered the Boys House, transferring from another treatment program. From the first meeting, it was clear that the staff were skilled, open and committed. Therapy became a central part of my week. Over the course of the next six months, my son became more reflective, less angry. With patience, our sessions gradually became times of listening, healing and acknowledging. When I look back on it, I changed as much as he did.
As the year wound down, my son wanted to come home. Staff advised that it was time for an experiment, a return to family living. I was fearful. The meeting where it was decided still brings tears. My son begging to come home, promising to “behave.” In contrast, a year earlier he wanted to move out and live with his criminal friends. Staff urged me to give it a try – to take a chance. A bed at the house would be held if it did not work out, a safety net.
I valued the honest and heartfelt opinions from the clinicians and the youth workers. He and I had made progress, but perhaps not enough. My son has been living at home for more than 8 months now. He attends school. He is an important member of the household. He is loved. It has not been perfect, but it has been wonderful. I don’t live in fear for what might happen next. We have a very special bond. I see how far he has come. We spend more time laughing than we do being angry. I feel he has a future. We speak a similar language, which we both learned while in the care of the George Hull Centre.”
“We Became a Stronger Family”
I never thought in a million years that I would be faced with the parenting challenges I have been over the last couple of years. At times it has been difficult, discouraging and overwhelming - all while trying to be a single parent to two other children and hold down a demanding job. Through the very generous services provided by The George Hull Centre, my son has been able to receive the support necessary for him to work through his problems. He has been treated with the utmost care and professionalism without his fears and concerns being dismissed or trivialized. His educational needs have also been advocated for due to the line of communication kept open by his clinician with the school.
Through the support of the Centre we have overcome pretty much every obstacle we faced as a family. For me personally, I learned how to become a more understanding parent that every child learns at their own pace and that panic and anxiety disorders are not just for grown-ups. The most important lesson I learned is that things do get better.
The George Hull Centre for Children and Families lives up to its name - it extends its care to families, and we are an example of this. We are a stronger and healthier family as a result of the exceptional support received and the genuine interest expressed in our family’s wellbeing. I cannot emphasize enough my sincere appreciation to our clinician.
“Badges of Courage”
As I piece together the puzzle of my past, I realize the impact of the people in my life. And with that comes an overwhelming thankfulness to the people who helped me get where I am today, which is a beautiful place! Your words encouraged me. You asked me if I thought that one day I could see my scars as battle scars and badges of courage. It was not long after that I bought my first t-shirt. My closet has many of them now and I no longer wear long sleeves out of shame but because I am cold…I am doing amazing now!
“The People at the Centre Feel like Family”
It's been over 10 years since I was first admitted to the George Hull Centre as hopeless and vulnerable teenager. When I was admitted I was violent, I was emotional, and I thought I had no future. Before my stay at GHC everybody had given up on me.
The Centre promised to never give up on me and while I was initially skeptical it has proven true to this day. I have no doubt had my challenges but I have also had my successes. Every single member of the George Hull Centre feels like family to me. My time as a Crown Ward was challenging but it was also traumatic; however my time at GHC offered me some of the most positive experiences ever. There isn't one day that passes by that I don't talk of my positive experiences and I'm always reminded of the relationships I have built and maintained over the years.
“I Truly Felt Heard, Not Just Listened To”
When Sophia, a 15-year-old Libby’s Place resident, came to the program, she was depressed, skipping school and suffering from serious family difficulties.
“I came to the program because me and my mother weren’t getting along. I wasn’t listening to her and this was a place I could come and fix all that. They really try to help you in whatever way is good for you. They see what works for you and they continue with that.
This program has changed my life. I thought I was going to go back home and keep staying out all night doing drugs and bad things. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to go home and be with my family and go to university.”
I love this place because I truly felt heard, not just listened to... I felt a genuine understanding of my situation.