I was homeless at 21, and bought my first house at 25.
That’s how Jason, a former street kid, describes his personal journey. Raised in a middle-class Calgary family, he grew up with a passion for hockey, spending countless hours on the ice and dreaming of a future in the big leagues.
A serious injury put an end to his dreams. Frustrated and depressed, he dropped out of school, left home and turned to drugs. He lived in shelters in Vancouver and Calgary and he began mixing with petty criminals. He knows now that he was on a fast path to self-destruction.
Then Jason heard about The Doorway (formerly The Back Door) an organization that supports young people in their transition from the street to mainstream living. He realized that here were the supports that he needed to turn his life around. “It was time to start putting in the effort,” he says. And he did.
Today, Jason is head chef at a bar and restaurant in Calgary. He has a home, wife and daughter, and has reconciled with his parents. And while many survivors prefer not to talk about their past lives, he is happy to give back in any way he can to the community which has helped him. “To have gone through all those experiences and not be able to use them to help others would be a waste,” he says. And it’s very clear that Jason is not about to waste any more of his life.
*not his real name