A Recipe for a New Start

A Recipe for a New Start

When his mom passed away, Rob was struck with the realization that life is too short to waste. Even though he had grown up in foster care after being taken from his parents, Rob kept in touch with his mother. Her death was "turning point" in his life.

"I couldn't even tell you how many homes I've lived in," says the 21-year-old soft-spoken Vancouver native. A year ago, he was trying to live on his own, working at a string of jobs that included washing dishes in restaurants. He struggled to get by after "aging-out" of the B.C. child welfare system at 19. A high school drop-out, Rob says he quit but expected he was going to get thrown out because he often got into fights -- the instability in his life fuelling his anger.

Determined to make a new start, Rob came to Toronto on his own. He got a job and by the summer he had a place to live. Yet, he found it almost impossible to keep his place on the wages he got from his low paying job. Within a few months, he was back on the street again and alone in an unfamiliar city with nowhere to go.

He heard about Covenant House, went there and found shelter. A Catholic Charities member agency, Covenant House sees its mission as one that recognizes God's providence and fidelity to His people and is dedicated to living out His covenant among ourselves and those children and youth that they serve, protecting and safeguarding them.

For Rob, he not only found a safe place to stay with food and clothing, he also became involved in Covenant House's culinary skills training program and soon discovered his talent for cooking. The program where he is excelling has given him direction and a goal.

"I want to become a chef one day," Rob says with confidence. His plan will include working, apprenticing and continuing his studies at a cooking school.

He's also moved to Covenant House's longer-term housing program, Rights of Passage (ROP) where he can live for the next year while he pursues his ambition. "I feel that ROP is a great stepping stone and that I'll have a better chance at success," Rob says. "Now I feel motivated and optimistic. I'm in a lot better place than I was when I arrived here."