The strength of family
Shari Gibot has many things to celebrate this holiday season: a new job, her studies at George Brown College, and most importantly, regaining custody of her three year old daughter.
“I was an addict since I graduated from residential school. I had no family or friends, no support here that could help me stop. When my daughter was taken from me by social services, I decided to do whatever it took to change my life and get her back.”
After getting help with her addiction, Shari was referred to St. Stephen’s Toronto Community Addiction Team (TCAT). Staff and peers helped Shari stay clean every step of the way.
“They encouraged me and believed in me. They showed me how to believe in myself and gave me the strength I needed to fight for my daughter. I learned how to listen to others, and the value of commitment and responsibility.”
Those newfound values lead Shari to our Corner Drop-in Employment Program. Her counsellor helped her apply for the Pre-Community Services program at George Brown. She volunteers at the Corner Drop-in and Youth Arcade, with the goal of becoming a youth worker. And Shari is proud to be working at TCAT: Proud that she can help her peers stay clear of drugs and alcohol, and proud because she has a permanent job.
“I’m not on social assistance any more. This was the first year I submitted my income tax return. I cried when I sent it.”
With her life under control, Shari worked with staff for the return of her daughter. When that day finally came, the joy she felt was beyond measure, a feeling that has never wavered."When I come home and my daughter smiles and hugs me – it is the most amazing thing in the world. Having her with me makes me stronger. It pushes me to go further and do so much more for our family."
Shari has not touched drugs or alcohol since she first walked through our doors. “My life is so full of new wonderful things, and having my daughter with me…I don’t need drugs anymore. Now I can provide for her and set a good example.”