The Shelter

Nick Goodwin Transformed His Life With the Help of a Shelter - Photo Courtesy of
Nick Goodwin Transformed His Life With the Help of a Shelter – Photo Courtesy of

By Nick Goodwin

I’ve come a long way from being kicked out of my house. My parents and I have managed to rekindle our relationship and these days we see eye-to-eye better than we ever have.

You could say that my first two years out of high school were my least productive. I was definitely a lost individual. High school wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, or more over, was too much park walking if you catch my drift. There were some rough times and I lost a few people close to me in those days.

It wasn’t long before my condition became too much for my parents and we took matters to the next level.

I moved into a youth shelter on the other side of the city. I spent a few months there. It changed my life dramatically. In this time period I got a lot out of my system. I shared a room with many different strangers sleeping just metres away. The experience was definitely the beginning to my serious wake up call. While staying in the shelter I met a lot of different people that helped me see how blessed I truly am. I was told stories of real struggle and misfortune. I took the time to listen to these people and acknowledge their position. I tried to truly contemplate their experiences.

Listening to another person’s story of struggle is for the most part a surreal experience. Trying to imagine what they are telling you and applying it to actual circumstantial consideration is a huge challenge. To walk in another’s shoes is one of life’s greatest challenges.

I didn’t walk around the shelter interviewing people. I lived there. These people were my family. During the day we roamed the vacant neighbourhood like a lost high school clique. We had the library. I would say that the ambitions a lot of the people I lived with were at a definite low. The only universal plus was an understanding that nobody wanted to be held in this situation for long. Some were used to being thrown from shelter to shelter, taking in the free meals and beds. Spending their $3 a day and selling their bus tickets for cigarettes or a joint. The shelter was a large house. One big kitchen and living room surrounded by six bedrooms. As far as shelters go, I would say that we had it really good.

I would save my $3 a day and use my bus tickets wisely. I did some job hunting and stayed focused on my drawing abilities. I read books and drank tea. I tried to set an example for others to follow. Surprisingly many people respected my ambitions and paid heed to the cause. Everyone had chores and many people helped out without complaint.

I have had some dark moments. Some conducted by the influence of alcohol, other moments merely consequential. What I can say for myself is that I always take consideration for my actions. I am a sincere and genuinely kind person. If I have done wrong there is a great chance that I have reflected heavily upon it.


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