Karen Utech, an elected elder at Place of Hope PC and stalwart volunteer at the Miracle Store and Flora House food bank, first encountered Winnipeg Inner City Missions through the Learn & Play program led by social worker Susan Currie. First Karen, the Mom/Grandmother, worked on her own healing from a tragic past. Now she is helping her girls stay in school, develop a strong and good character, and discover hope for their own future.
Karen explains she came from a dysfunctional family, but she bonded with Susan and over time came to seek her out for advice on things going on in her life. “Susan said I was a tough nut to crack! She made me laugh; I started feeling really good because I felt I was at home”.
“It’s not a judgmental place. They don’t care about outward appearance. They care about inward healing. All are welcome, all belong”.
CLINTON: A Different World
Clinton, a participant in Winnipeg Inner City Mission’s (WICM) Transitional Housing program, has the gentlest way about him. On first meeting him, one would never believe that he struggled with alcohol for a long time, and is now 8 years sober. That’s a milestone that certainly deserves to be celebrated. And it’s clear he feels he owes much of his current stability to WICM.
An acquaintance at another residential program told him about WICM. He said, ”They work with you.” That, Clinton felt, was different from other programs where they generally “release you into the system.
“This place really helps you through the rough spots. It gives structure. It’s a different world – quiet and peaceful.”
“It gives you time to decide what you want to do in life,” he says. Clinton worked at the mint for 18 years. “Now I like days, 8 – 4.”
He adds: “Everyone here cares. They are on the same page. That gives you stability before you leave here, which is really good. You get some stability and it helps you move on.”
Clinton, who has a 28-year-old son, feels WICM has helped him re-invent myself.