Guest and volunteer testimonials
Read some inspiring testimonials from some of our guests, students and volunteers at IFTC:
Sara came to Inn From The Cold in February 2014, having hit rock bottom. She had lost her housing and was unemployed. It was suggested to her that she try the Employment Program and do the catering internship training program. With the assistance of the staff at IFTC, she found housing, and was eventually offered a full-time position in the kitchen as a baker and kitchen assistant. After 7 months with us, Sara moved back to Kitchener but left us with confidence, skill sets and the will to help others in her new career direction. As Sara stated when she left, her life changed for the better through the support she has received.
Adis graduated from the Employment Program in the fall of 2014. During the classroom sessions he learned about business fundamentals, structure and commitment and took the internship woodworking program which lead him to qualify for the Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP), a 24-week program that gives promising young entrepreneurs access to resources and skills, to provide the best chance for the success of their new businesses. He is presently working in construction with the goal to run his own construction business in the future. “I will try and assist in the woodworking shop when I have free time” says Adis.
Tim was a guest at the shelter for 4 months a couple of years ago: “What I learned was structure based on IFTC’s rules.” Tim gives back to IFTC as a volunteer assisting with the vegetable garden annually. In 2015 the employment internship program added gardening, providing another means for graduates to enter into the work force, which Tim now oversees. Tim asks for nothing except to allow him to work at his passion, which is gardening.
“The service that the Inn from the Cold provided me was absolutely wonderful. I'm not sure what I would have done without it. The staff and volunteers were very supportive and helpful, in providing shelter for me in a very trying time. Thanks again!” - Tom H
“The program gave me the skills I never knew I needed to keep a job…before I was setting myself up for failure, but now I have the confidence to move forward in my life.” - Alex Dennis
“I believe that we get opportunities to change how we see and participate in life. I chose to volunteer at the shelter because I valued IFTC’s mission and vision: a team approach with like- minded individuals, all working towards a common goal to create a comfortable, non-judgemental, and respectable environment for their guests. I started volunteering, thinking that I was going to make a difference in someone else’s life. I didn’t realize that it would make a difference in mine. Meeting and spending time with the shelter’s guest opened my eyes; to witness the strength, determination, kindness, and gratitude the guests had for the shelter, the staff, and the volunteers helped me gain an appreciation for what I had in my life. I have met amazing people, guest and staff alike; conversations, observations and even the quiet moments have all contributed to my well-being. Volunteering at IFTC has changed how I participate in life, it has altered for the better how I see the world.” - Heather Odell
“I volunteer because I want to give back to my community and show my family that time can be used for other people. I love volunteering because I get to meet new people and lend an ear when needed. Sometimes people just need to have someone offer them a smile and a hot meal to make their day even a little bit better. Since I began volunteering at Inn From The Cold I have learned that I have skills I didn’t even realize I had. I have learned that homeless people are still people that just want to be treated like everyone else, very different from the stereotype that you hear. I look forward to the start of every new season and miss being at the shelter once the season is over. With my crazy schedule, my family finds it funny that my volunteer work is the one thing that I make sure happens. I love having this opportunity to show them that even when you are busy it is so rewarding to give your time back to your community.” - Nicole Barager
“Growing up in and around Newmarket I was never aware of some of the hardships that members of our community were going through, namely homelessness, addictions and mental health issues. During my post-secondary education I became aware of how addictions and mental health issues can affect not only an individual, but also a community.
When I returned from school I was looking for a way to extend my education and volunteer experience that I had gained during my post-secondary education. When I began looking for a volunteer program to dedicate myself to, I found Inn from the Cold’s Newmarket volunteer program. I was immediately drawn to the program after researching IFTC’s goals, the programs they offer and dedication the volunteers and staff have towards bettering our clients.
After getting to know our clients as well as other volunteers I can honestly say that I have never felt closer to a community than I am now. The opportunity I have had to be a part of the team that ensures that someone who needs help, who needs a place to feel safe and get any support they want or need has been the reason that I return each year and to this exceptional organization.
The reason I volunteer is because I know that the members of our community who need the help the most, are getting the best help possible. The dedication of the staff towards the care for our clients and the passion the volunteers show towards helping those in our community is beyond anything I have witnessed before.
I have discovered in myself my passion for helping my community, through IFTC program. As well as a far greater understanding of people with homelessness, addictions and mental health issues and the struggles that they face, but with IFTC programs and the dedication from our volunteers our clients have a greater chance at success in our community.” - Luke Tomkinson