November 27, 2019 | By: United Way Waterloo Region Communities
Travis’ struggle with addiction started at a young age. But his future looks brighter, thanks to the support he received from United Way-funded programs.
Travis started using drugs when he was hitchhiking across the country after graduating from high school. The pain and anger from what he experienced earlier in his life still hadn’t gone away.
“It started when I was 15,” he says. “I was removed from my family home by the police when things got really bad one day. I ended up doing a lot of couch surfing, but thankfully, I only spent a few nights outside.”
Travis still remembers how it felt to not be seen.
“When I was at my worst, I would walk down the street and people would pretend I wasn’t there.” – Travis
Luckily, Travis was able to access support from a United Way-supported housing program. Travis says, “There were a lot of very strict rules, but I was being held accountable—maybe for the first time ever. I started doing everything I could do to avoid falling back into old habits, like volunteering at a community garden.”
Because of Travis’s own determination and the services made possibly by United Way donors, Travis is now in university and works part-time at a local homeless shelter.
“I remember when I stayed at different shelters, I struggled to connect with the staff,” says Travis. “But getting to work at the shelter gives me the opportunity to be that staff member who people connect with. It’s been a very fulfilling experience—being able to identify with people and actually getting real with them when we talk.”
Travis hopes to pursue graduate school after finishing his degree. And we wants others experiencing challenges to know a better future is possible.
“I want people like me to know it can get better. There are always going to be people there for you – you just have to open up and allow them in.”
For more information about United Way Waterloo Region Communities and how you can support our community, please visit www.uwaywrc.ca, call us at 519-888-6100, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.