Building Hope, Home and Community

for men, women, and families throughout Durham Region

Dan's Story

I was born in Port Aux-Basques, Newfoundland in 1954. I was born right in the middle of 12 siblings. I started working at 16 at CN Marine on the ships sailing all over the East Coast of Canada. I worked for 9 years, and on June 3rd, 1978 my ship sank off the coast of Labrador. I watched the ship sink from the side of an iceberg.

I came to Ontario in 1980 and started working in construction. I worked in construction for 5 years before starting work at a greeting card company where I set up printing presses. I went through a tough divorce and that’s when my life changed. I began to rob banks, jewelry stores, and any place with money. I led a lift of crime for several years, and had a struggle with addictions. I was in and out of prison for a total of 17 years. I came to Cornerstone through the CRF program and began to turn my life around.

I started in the CRF program in the late 90s, but still had struggles with addictions and was sometimes sent back to prison. During my last sentence my health began to deteriorate and I was determined to turn my life around because I didn’t want to die in prison. Cornerstone provided me with an opportunity to get a fresh start, and I was ready. I spent two years in the CRF program before being set up in the community in a room with a landlord that Cornerstone has worked with for a number of years.

I began to work with the Community Support Team on a variety of goals while I lived in the community. This program provided me with an opportunity to start on my own with some help when I needed it. I would keep in touch with Cornerstone through one-on-one support and through social events like workshops, fishing trips, and holiday dinners.

My health became my biggest concern when I was living on my own and I made the decision to apply for ODSP. Cornerstones provided my with the assistance I needed to set-up doctor’s appointments, get paperwork from doctor’s offices and institutions, and helped communicate and understand the process of applying for assistance. I wouldn’t have been able to get on ODSP without the help of Cornerstone. The biggest difference in my life came when I was offered the chance to move from a rooming house to a one bedroom apartment. Cornerstone was able to help me find an apartment in the area I wanted to live and help me be able to afford the rent. This apartment has benefited me more than most people know. It has given me peace and quiet, privacy, room to move around because I was use to small jail cells, confidence, safety, a sense of home, and a new sense of hope.

With all Cornerstone has done for me it has changed my thinking of other people. At one time in my life everything was take, take, take. Now I try to help others. Cornerstone has taught me a lot about myself, and other people. I try to help as many people as I can because of what I have learned through my time working with Cornerstone.

“Our client stories are provided by our clients not to promote Cornerstone or themselves but are intended to be an encouragement and a source of hope to anyone struggling through difficult circumstances.”

Executive Director

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