RIDE WITH US ON Oct. 3rd, 2020

The Ride for Refuge is a non-competitive bicycling and walking fundraiser with locations across Canada.  We’re joining with hundreds of other charitable partners like us who care for displaced, vulnerable and exploited people. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for our projects that provide housing, employment, and support to children and families in Winnipeg’s Inner city. To accomplish our goal, we are looking for:

  • 4-8 Team Captains (of all shapes, sizes and stages) to recruit 6-8 friends and raise a minimum of $2000 per team
  • Of course, we’re also looking for a whole pile of riders and walkers to join our teams and help us raise this critical $8,000

Will you join us? We need you! What could be better than all of us squeezing into our spandex and sweating together while raising money for Winnipeg Inner City Missions?

If you do not wish to participate, but would still like contribute towards helping us reach our goal you can make a donation to WICM Walkers at rideforrefuge.org.

Your participation in the Ride for Refuge helps to provide vital support to Winnipeg Inner City Missions programs. You help a child see a world beyond a neighborhood where violence, abuse of drugs and alcohol are prevalent. You give an adult a chance to live in a safe home and environment that supports him/her to achieve success in relationships, finances and academics. Your support means that we can operate our buildings, provide care and compassion to those who are feeling vulnerable and who want to and can be successful!

Donate or join a team today

Click Here 


Thank you for riding or walking with us!

A Spiritual Awakening

Norman was born and raised in Winnipeg and is a member of the Brokenhead Ojibwe Nation. His childhood home was chaotic, marred by family violence and excessive alcohol use.  After many beatings, his mom moved out taking Norman and his brother with her. These childhood experiences traumatized him, feeling like the only way he could gain approval from his father was to display aggression, intimidation, and anger. These behaviours negatively impacted his relationships with other children, youth, and adults.  His behaviours contributed to negative school experiences and eventually he left school at grade 8. His behaviours also lead to encounters with the law. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, he used drugs beginning with alcohol that led him to becoming an addict.

He lived on the periphery of gang life and became a drug dealer to support his addictions. Although he used different street drugs, he primarily turned to alcohol to cover the guilt and shame of not having protected his mother from the beatings. 

Life for Norman continued to be unsettled with homelessness and ongoing addictions during his 20’s. Family was not a support option as many of them were living a life of violence, suffering from addictions or in jail. Norman decided to deal with his past and present situation and enrolled in some treatment programs.  In 2017 he experienced a spiritual awakening. This awakening was the beginning of a journey to find himself, to discover his aboriginal roots and to develop a connection to the Creator through birds such as eagles and pelicans. During this time, he became sober.

Norman lived at Morberg House, a transitional residence for men overcoming homelessness, addictions, and mental health challenges. While there, he pursued his high school education.

In late February 2020, Norman discovered Winnipeg Inner City Missions and moved into Place of Hope to become a participant in the 1st Steps to Employment Project. The Covid pandemic rolled in but that did not stop Norman from graduating in the spring, successfully completing grade 12 and receiving his diploma from Urban Circle Adult Education Centre.  He is the first family member that he knows of, to graduate from high school! What an accomplishment and inspiration!

His goals are to continue getting an education, hopefully attain a Social Work degree and some day he wants to work with children and youth, inspiring them to stay clear of gangs, drugs, and alcohol and to choose healthy, productive life journeys.

Norman rides his bike for hours every day, going down to the banks of the Red River in downtown Winnipeg, where he will often spot eagles and pelicans soaring above. Norman is soaring with new hope and into new life!

While he appreciates his home at WICM and the supportive staff, the staff appreciate his positive and forward-thinking outlook on life. 

-documented by Linda Kirton

Donate Your Car!

Donate a Car Canada accepts Vehicle Donations for Winnipeg Inner City Missions.  Free towing is provided in most areas across Canada, or you can drop off your vehicle to maximize your donation. Donate-a-car-logoWhen you donate your car, truck, RV, boat, or motorcycle to Winnipeg Inner City Missions through Donate A Car Canada, it will either be recycled or sold at auction (depending on its condition, age and location). Donate a Car Canada will look after all the details to make it easy for Winnipeg Inner City Missions to benefit. After your vehicle donation is complete, our charity will send you a tax receipt and will put your gift to good use. Please click here to donate a vehicle.

My Marathon of Life: A First Steps to Employment Project Story

My name is Mitchell Neal Richard, and below is a little bit of my story. I’ve been overcome by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

I’m a former alcoholic who struggled with additional issues such as anger and emotional dependency in intimate relationships. All these were among a few of the flaws that were connected to some deep wounds in my life. What those wounds were did not become clear to me, until I faced myself honestly and courageously considering the adverse impact that those wounds had in my life. It took a whole lot of guts to get my recovery right, but thanks be to God, I’ve been blessed with abstinence and growth since my last drink of alcohol over seven years ago.

Back in the days, alcohol was a predominant force of evil in my life, because after every drink, it only dug a deeper and darker pit of suffering and despair. No matter how hard I would try to quit drinking (even after painful and devastating consequences), I would still eventually end up getting wasted again. It became obvious to me, even before turning 18, that alcohol was a big problem for me. It got me in trouble with the law; it caused me to drop out of school; lose a few jobs by either calling in sick too many times; and sadly, showing up at work under the influence of alcohol. It even destroyed some relationships that I had. Alcohol was destroying ME.

As much as I would try to stay sober I would eventually end up drinking again within a couple of months, only this time after screwing up and relapsing, I always had God to go to who would welcome me with open arms, love me unconditionally, and accept me. As a Christian, I was under the impression, that all I had to do to live a happy and successful life was read my Bible daily, pray, attend Church regularly, and share my faith with others. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying any of those practices are wrong. In fact, I would highly encourage every Christian to do so. But here’s the thing, I was not being honest with myself because I was fearful about being transparent to others about the nitty gritty of what was really going on inside me (the pain and wounds I was still carrying from my past), and my lack of honesty and fear about that, was a huge hindrance for me to progress in living a sober, healthy, and successful life. This is what I yearned for so much, I just wanted to be happy, but at a much deeper level, I was not happy with myself.

When I was 16 years old, I dropped out of high school, because I valued alcohol above education. I thought I connected with people better when I was drinking, and alcohol soothed a lot of pain that I was carrying. After some years, I knew education was important, but I failed in obtain my grade 12 numerous times. Alcohol would get in the way of education and growth and other excuses that served nothing more than immediate gratification but didn’t help me in the long run. Some of the challenges I faced to obtain my mature grade 12 were related to being overwhelmed with all the school work, a lack of being organized, not managing my time properly, and being absent from class too many times. And I wasn’t that motivated either. My former addiction to alcohol would not become stabilized until I took my recovery seriously, and that initial event did not happen until the summer of 2011.

You see, what I failed to see before getting clean and sober, is that my addiction to alcohol was not the problem, I was the problem, because the addiction (as well as other unhealthy compulsive behaviours that I exhibited in my life) was symptomatic of deeper problems. By the grace of God, aministry called Finding Freedom has helped me so much to be where I am today, in not only abstaining from drinking alcohol, but in healing from my emotional wounds, providing me with invaluable tools and life skills,hence, the help I really needed to grow as a healthier individual.

Tim Fletcher from Finding Freedom taught a lot of great stuff on recovery, addiction, and so forth, he was also very big on helping people to be grounded in:

  1. healthy relationships,
  2. being grounded in a support network

These are two key ingredients to make it in recovery, because if you have all the head knowledge and education about recovery and addiction, but still lack these two key ingredients, you’ll likely not have a successful recovery.

After attending Finding Freedom on a consistent weekly basis, I learned, healed, and grew so much. I am now able to go about living my life sober, healthy, happy, and accurately. Among a few important things I’ve learned, was how to heal from shame (which was a core belief I had about myself for many years), how to enforce healthy boundaries, how to respond appropriately when life gets overwhelming, the importance of being in community with healthy friendships, and the role that trauma has in an addict/alcoholics life.

I was literally an orphan with no healthy parental figures (I was pretty much on my own at age 14). Because both parents left me at a young age, learning to parent myself in a healthy way was something that I really needed to learn. It was a very challenging task, because I had to unlearn and relearn a lot of stuff, but it was very well worth it.

When I returned to school at Adult Education Center Inc. (AEC) 2 years ago, I decided to take the longer route in working towards graduating, because Math was the subject I struggled with the most, and I wanted to only take Math one semester at a time, until I got it out of way. I was being honest and realistic with myself, and did that pay off? It sure did, because in January 2018, I finally got my Grade 12 Applied Math Credit. I was very proud of myself for this achievement, but it didn’t end there, because after passing the other necessary courses,I got my entire Mature Grade 12 Diploma. The determination, faith, and consistency to get through this milestone paid off. I was so happy.

In March of 2018, I moved into Place of Hope and started with the 1st Steps to Employment Project. This new living environment has helped me tremendously to reach my educational goals. The staff have been very supportive, understanding, and helpful. I am appreciative, thankful, and blessed by the structure, and the clean and sober living environment provided at Place of Hope. I always enjoy the conversations I have with the staff, the laughs, and the company they provide. Crystal, the 1st Steps employment social worker, has been an amazing resource in helping me stay focused, and advance my education. She’s an amazing worker here at Place of Hope (for that matter, all the staff are). They always make sure I’m doing well. God has blessed me with an amazing support network to keep me moving forward.

I’ve achieved one of my educational goals while living here at Place of Hope, however, my future educational goal, is to get my Bachelors of Social Work at the University of Manitoba, and in time, get my Masters in the same faculty. I am currently registered to take Social Work at the University of Manitoba, and I’m sure, by the grace of God, that it will all work out. Back in June of 1995, my mother got her Social Work Diploma from the same University, but unfortunately, she passed on the next month, July 31st, 1995. Because my mom did not get to live out her career, I feel it is nearing my time to take the mantle of what she didn’t get to do, and live out her legacy, but in my own way. My mother was the kind of woman who would always see the good in every person.

Seeing that I am also a full marathon runner, another golden goal of mine, is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This has been a goal of mine since I started running full marathons 4 years ago, and I’m going to keep at it until I achieve this goal. To me, running is a form of self-care, I always feel better after I go for a run, it is a form therapy for me. Through running, I use what I apply in my marathon training (consistency, determination, discipline, etc.), to my daily life in all that I do. In the words of an Olympian track runner, Allyson Felix, “I have learned that track doesn’t define me. My faith defines me. I’m running because I have been blessed with a gift.” I love that quote, and it is the same that goes for me, running does not define me, it is gift that God has blessed me with to glorify Him.

To me, recovery, education, running (exercise), having fun, and Jesus Christ, are all highly valued components in my life. I believe that an essential component to living a healthy lifestyle, is balance. Embracing growth in all areas of our lives,not all at once, but one day at a time, one step at a time, one moment at time. The process of growth is often challenging, painful, and messy, but well worth it.

I always try my best to see the good in all people and in all circumstances, and it is my desire to motivate, inspire, empower, and help other people in whatever way I can, to move forward in life. I always enjoy sharing my story, volunteering, and helping in the Ministry.

From Under the Influence to Well-Being and Employment: Transformation is taking place at Place of Hope

My name is Edwin Romero. I am 39 years old, a current resident at Place of Hope, and part of the 1st Steps to Employment Program. I am in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse and have been sober for over 4 years now.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Place of Hope and the wonderful people who work here. They are helping to make great changes in those who wish to better their lives. Thank you Crystal, Susan, Rev. Margaret and Ida.

I recently graduated from CDI College in the field of Addiction and Community Service Worker, a 16 month full time course.

I have been living at Place of Hope since August 2015 which is when I started at CDI College. I was so happy to be in a safe and sober place through my early recovery years. This environment has been the key to my success in completing my secondary education and also in staying clean and sober. I have no words to express how grateful I feel to be at Place of Hope.

I made a mistake when I left Place of Hope in April 2017. I was not ready to leave. I was accepted back 10 days after I left. I don’t know where I’d be now if Susan had not offered those keys to my suite; if Crystal had not been checking in on me and; if Rev. Margaret had not approved my re-entry. We have a great community here that’s well organized. Their support while I was in school was so helpful. My first language is Spanish, academics were not easy for me and learning English was hard. Sometimes, Susan brought food right to my door. Crystal was there to listen to me and empower me during my times of frustration.

The staff understand that we make terrible mistakes yet help us to turn our lives around. Ten years ago, I got a DUI (driving under influence) following a staff Christmas party and some other police charges that put me in the Criminal Record loop. Finding a job has not been easy because of this. I was addicted to alcohol.

I have since completed the full addictions recovery course and got my driver’s license back. With the support of staff, I am in the process to remove my criminal record. I graduated in June 2017 from a CDI and I have a job at the front desk of a Winnipeg motel. I have been transformed.

We need programs like this in our community! I thank all the donors and people who contribute to  Place of Hope and the 1st Steps to Employment Program. To have a better society, we need the place and time to deal with underlying issues. Thank you for the opportunity to do this in my life!

-Edwin Romero Flores

Donate to Change the Future!

The positive change in behaviour and confidence levels seen in the children and youth in our programs is one of the biggest motivational factors to insure these programs continue to exist. Brad Calder and Cadena Sinclair run our Children’s Program (ages 6-12) and the Summer Day Camp at Flora house. The programs are geared to encourage ongoing personal growth and to help children improve their skills in math, English, science, sports, the arts, nutrition, and computers.

Flora House kidsTogether Brad and Cadena play an important role in providing the neighborhood with a safe place where their children are steered away from crime, drugs and unfortunate situations that occur commonly in this neighborhood.  Brad and Cadena are positive role models and work to ensure a safe and positive environment for the children. Through counseling and teaching, the children learn better nutrition, health and decision making skills to build a successful future.


Flora House MuralWe would love to take these children to more outings so that they can experience a world outside of their own, however a lack of funding has been a large barrier. One of the hopes Brad has for this program is to increase staffing to exceed the capacity of 12 children per program. He hopes that in the future Flora House can acquire funding to create a similar program for 15-17 year old’s, so that the youth in the current program can continue to be guided towards a more fulfilling life at a age where outside influences are at their height.