Lives Changed

Ride for Refuge 2014

Tiffany : September 12, 2014 4:00 pm : Events, Lives Changed, News

Ride for Refuge is a family-friendly cycling fundraiser that partners with various charities to raise needed operating funding for their work with the displaced, vulnerable and exploited. Ride for The Lighthouse by registering a team or registering as an individual rider. Check for a location near you and register today at www.rideforrefuge.org to ride for The Lighthouse!

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Meet Yao Dan!

Tiffany : June 27, 2014 3:49 pm : Lives Changed, News

2014-06-27-15-31-44_photoHi everyone! My name is Yao Dan, and I am one of the summer students here at The Lighthouse this year. In the fall, I will be entering my third year as a Life Science student at U of T studying Neuroscience and Physiology.

My first encounter with The Lighthouse was volunteering at the Vietnamese Christmas Celebration with my church’s youth group in 2013. I learned about wonderful works that God has been doing through The Lighthouse, and since then have always wanted to be involved in this ministry.

Growing up, I’ve always seen the needs, the emptiness, and the struggles of the people around me, but at The Lighthouse, I get to see so many lives being transformed by the works of God. The Lord sees the needs of His people and He provides for them. He works through the hands of the loving staff here, both upfront and behind the scenes through counselling, workshops, the food bank, summer camps, and all the various services provided. It is such a blessing to be granted the opportunity to work with such a welcoming, loving, and diverse community here at The Lighthouse.

I am mainly involved with the Chinese Children’s Summer Camp held at Calvary Logos Baptist Church in Scarborough on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from July 8th to 30th. The theme of this year’s camp is “Treasure God’s Love”, and registration is already full with 66 kids! There will be singspiration and worship every day, Bible stories, arts and crafts, lunch, snacks, indoor and outdoor activities, as well as a field trip to the Ontario Science Centre with families and friends! There is still a lot of finishing-up to do, but we are so excited for camp to start!

I was also asked to lead exercises and teach English to a lovely group of Hispanic Seniors on Friday mornings. It is nerve-wracking as a 20 year old girl who has rusty Spanish and a quiet voice to teach a whole group of people! Even though I knew how friendly and loving they are as they always greet me with hugs and kisses, I was super nervous on the weeks, and especially the HOURS right beforehand. Thankfully, my first day teaching was a lot of fun, and at the end of the day they said “Bye teacher! Thank you!” and gave me more hugs and kisses as they were leaving!

I love everything about The Lighthouse. It’s honestly been such an amazing experience here. Although it’s only been four weeks, I’ve already learned so much, and I truly believe that God is equipping me to serve my own home and community by serving here.

Find out how you can support Yao’s work this summer, contact Rob at rob@lighthousecentre.ca

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The Volunteering Spirit

Tiffany : March 28, 2014 4:00 pm : Lives Changed, News, Vietnamese Program

“On Monday March 10th and Wednesday March 12th, I had the privilege of volunteering for the ‘Healthy Cooking for kids’ program, and it was a great experience. I was able to try new kinds of food, work with kids joyfully, and give back to society. Chef Steve taught me many new tips and tricks about cooking and allowed me to try new things in the kitchen. While working with the children, I connected with many of the kids and they made a big impact on my life. Although at times they could be careless and cause trouble, they were also one of the kindest and most loving groups of kids I have ever met. The Lighthouse is a warm and welcoming place to be, and although I have only volunteered for two days, I would be glad to volunteer again!”

Sandy Leung

Tracy, thank you so much for the cookbook. I will definitely use it in the future. On Sunday I even made the Mac and cheese pasta for my family and they loved it. Give my regards to Steve for teaching us such useful and simple recipes. During my experience with the Lighthouse, I have learned many things about food, patience, and people. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and would definitely want to do this again. The advisor, Tracy and Steve were extremely friendly and kind. They taught us many things involving food and how to have patience with the children. My time volunteering for the Lighthouse has been memorable. I’m sure I’ll remember all the little kids and Tracy and Steve for many years to come.

Eva

I had a lot of fun during the program. The children were very excited and joyful, which made me enjoy my time even more.  Although sometimes they were quite a handful, I found the cooking very fun too! I think that this program was a very good idea and if you decide to do it again, please contact me! Overall, it was very fun and I enjoyed being there with the kids.

Lina Ly

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More than a Community Centre

Tiffany : March 7, 2014 4:00 pm : Lives Changed, News

Cuando vine a Lighthouse, estaba partcipando en el programa del campamento de verano para familias. Este programa me ayudo muchisimo a mi y mis hijos con la terapia de juego. Desde entonces, he estado viniendo todos los años y e participado en diferentes actividades como voluntaria. Algo que e estado agradecida de lighthouse. Es la ayuda que me ofrecio por medio de Samia Saad (que por cierto es un exelente ser humano). Samia me ayudo con mis tramites de emmigracion. Gracias a su empeño y constancia, al final de la carrera pude obtener mi residencia en Canada. Lighthouse para mi a sido mas que un centro comunitario, a sido un lugar donde he conseguido apoyo moral, espirutual y material, en todos los aspectos en mi vida.

Escrita por E.J.

When I came to Lighthouse, I took part in the summer camp program for families. This program helped me and my kids with play therapy games. Since then, I’ve been coming here every year and I have participated in various activities as a volunteer. Something that I’ve been grateful of The Lighthouse is the help that was offered to me by Samia Saad, (she is certainly an excellent human being). Samia helped me with my immigration process. Thanks to her commitment and consistency, at the end of the race I could obtain my residence in Canada. Lighthouse for me has been more than a community centre, it has been a place where I have obtained a moral, spiritual and material support, in all aspects in my life.

Written by E. J.

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Catering Service

Tiffany : February 28, 2014 10:00 am : Lives Changed

With participants from the Vietnamese program, Thuy Tran, the Vietnamese Counsellor and Program Coordinator, began a catering service here at The Lighthouse. Speaking with Thuy, a clear reason for initiating this service stems from her concerns about poverty, particularly for the recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), a specific kind of social welfare for people with disabilities.

Although ODSP provides secure long term financial assistance, for many families on ODSP, poverty is still a prevalent issue. As of the latest social assistance rates, a single parent with two children under the age of 18 can only receive  a maximum $757 for the family’s basic needs. While ODSP provides a maximum of $816 for shelter, many families do not live in subsidized housing. The cost of rent alone can often exceed the maximum $816, thereby forcing families to draw from the basic needs allotment of $757, in order to provide adequate shelter for their families.  And even with the supplementary Ontario Child Benefits, families continue to struggle for financial security. Thuy’s hope for the catering service is for it to develop into a full-fledged program providing an additional source of income for the participants without jeopardizing their social assistance.

Recently, the catering service cooked for the Chatham High School students, creating a wonderful cultural experience for over 30 students and teachers. As well, the catering service provided wonderful lunches for the staff and board both this year and last year’s Visioning Day. Last year, the catering service actually donated their earnings from the Chatham High School visit back to The Lighthouse, in support of the Vietnamese program

Two ladies, Vanessa* and Mindy* sat down with Thuy to talk about their experiences being part of this catering service.

How did you get involved in the catering service?

Mindy: Both Vanessa and I became part of the catering service through our involvement in the women’s support group.

Vanessa: Through this catering service, I learned how to do catering, increased my cooking experience, and my catering experience. I am also able to increase my income in order to buy groceries for my family.

Mindy: I am also able to increase the quality of my family’s meals.

What is your favourite part of being involved in the catering service?

Vanessa: When I am cooking with the catering service, I feel empowered because I am participating in something worthwhile. Since I am generating my own income, it reduces my stress about finances. As well, when I am prepping the food, I am able to be active and move around the kitchen. I also feel happy working with the other women, and when I see customers enjoying our food. As we cook, we are creating new friendships and support networks for one another.

Mindy: I am happy that with my own labour, I am able to generate a little income and contribute financially to my family.

What do you see in the future for the catering service?

Vanessa: I hope that the catering service can expand to have more women involved, so they can also share in our fun and joy, and provide more culturally diverse cuisine for our customers. I also hope that the catering service can be better publicized to the community, so through the program we can teach mothers, younger generations of Vietnamese born women about healthy cooking, and cultural foods. Ultimately, I wish that the catering service can provide consistent service to more customers, and to increase income for the women involved, as well as for The Lighthouse.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the client.

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